How to Turn Your Business Fully Remote: Lessons From WorldWide Distributed Companies

Friday, July 10, 2020

After the pandemic forced many companies to switch to remote working, the question is if remote work is only temporary, or is it here to stay? Will this be considered as the “normal” way of working?

Article 3 Minutes

According to a study by Gartner, 74% of CFOs expect a considerable part of their employees to work from home after the coronavirus lockdown ends.

"CFOs, already under pressure to tightly manage costs, clearly sense an opportunity to realize the cost benefits of a remote workforce.” - Alexander Bant, practice Vice President of Research for Gartner's finance practice


Due to the corona outbreak, some companies have switched from a more traditional way of working to working from home, and it looks like their perspective is starting to change too. For example, Twitter’s Head of HR, Jennifer Christie, promised to reimburse employees for setting up their home offices:

We’ll never probably be the same. People who were reticent to work remotely will find that they really thrive that way. Managers who didn’t think they could manage teams that were remote will have a different perspective. I do think we won’t go back.”


Remote working is an opportunity for many companies to work sustainably, to reduce costs, focus more on their employees, and perhaps most importantly, provide the possibility to deal with unexpected events in the future.

Perhaps it’s too early to know exactly how people will work after the crisis, but business leaders have already thought about the advantages of a new operational model based on remote work and more flexibility.

Mike McLaughlin, chief information officer and vice president of professional services at Technologent, an Irvine, California-based solution provider said:

“The current situation in a way echoes the move nearly two decades ago by large tech companies like Oracle and Sun Microsystems to move their field-facing resources from traditional cubicles to "hoteling" in which such employees had lockers and used any open desk as a way to cut space requirements from everyone having their own desks. Our traditional customers have a lot of mid-level workers who may be part of a team and occasionally are in the office. This pandemic will be the push to get these people to work from home permanently."


Remote work learnings from worldwide distributed companies

Companies who are already remote or “distributed” can provide valuable lessons and strategies for other organizations looking to start working remotely.

Toptal: writing the playbook on remote work

The world’s largest fully remote company, Toptal, shares insights and best practices for sustaining a remote company in The Suddenly Remote Playbook.

Toptal, a fully distributed workforce for over a decade, tries to help organizations face this new challenging reality. The company’s guide includes several recommendations on creating a values-based culture:

“Values are the foundation for determining your culture. Once your values are determined, getting alignment on them is no different within an in-office environment vs. a remote environment”. -  Taso Du Val, CEO of Toptal.”


The playbook includes several helpful details on onboarding, career development, productivity, support and security, tools, and how to solve common problems when working remotely. 

Automattic: setting the tone with employee values

At Automattic, a distributed company in 75 countries that speaks 93 different languages, remote workers use their own WordPress blogs, called P2, which replace emails. It’s also a way for employees to access every team’s documents and priorities. Automattic has also a creed, which is an embodiment of the most important employee values.

InVision: the culture of remote working

Another global business with employees in more than 20 countries, InVision’s main initiatives include bias training and utilizing a Diversion and Inclusion Committee to build equitability and inclusion for every remote employee.

“Culture is the emotional experience of being part of a company—you can’t force people to treat each other with love and respect. This recognition is all about our incredible people and the culture they create, and I’m humbled every day that I get to work with this team”, Clark Valberg, CEO of InVision.


The company’s ebook Remote Work for Design Teams includes best practices for running a remote design team and for how web designers can collaborate.

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Romy Catauta


Romy Catauta works in the marketing field and is passionate about writing on web design, business, interior design, and psychology.


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