The Remote Show

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Tyler Sellhorn (00:01): 
In 2022, your meeting should be as flexible as your way of working from hybrid to aing clear words all in one meeting. Platform compliments how your team meets, empowering you with automated meeting recordings, transcriptions and highlight summaries that are stored in one searchable and shareable library. It's never been easier to collaborate from anywhere at any time. Go to clear word.com to get started for free today. Hello everyone. My name is Tyler Shehorn, and welcome to another episode of The Remote Show, where we discuss everything to do with remote work with the people who know it best. Thanks so much for listening. The Remote Show is brought to you by WeWork, remotely the largest community of remote workers in the world. With over 220,000 unique users per month, WeWork remotely is the most effective way to hire. Today we are blessed to be learning out loud with Matt Wilson. Matt is co-founder and co CEO at Omnipresent. Matt founded Omnipresent in 2019 and is an experienced entrepreneur and technologist. Prior to founding Omnipresent, Matt founded in, ran an enterprise software business in the pharmaceutical industry, and spent time as a software engineer and product manager. Matt, welcome to the Remote show, and please tell us what problems are you trying to solve at omnipresent. 
Matt Wilson (01:09): 
Thanks, Thailand. Um, yeah, good question. So, at Omnipresent, um, we, we started a couple years ago, and what I think we've seen proven over the last few years is something that seems really obvious in hindsight. If you are building a team, um, and you're working in a knowledge industry, then the best companies are made up of the best people. And it turns out that the best people aren't miraculously all located within an hours drive or train ride of each other. And ambitious companies who need to get the best people who've realized this, have realized they can get huge benefits by hiring the best people from all over the world, not just in their city or even in their country. And that brings better talent, brings more diverse teams, and brings access to bigger markets as well. Um, but they also run into huge challenges. You could find somebody great that's in Laos, in Nigeria, in Singapore, or in Dublin, but most companies have no idea how to handle all of the complexity that that brings. 
So how do you handle all the tax complexity that brings the employment and labor laws are different from country to country, How you manage payroll, the benefits that employees expect in different countries are all very, very different. And the legal infrastructure that's needed to employ people all over the world, um, really restricts company's ability to hire people, hire the best people for their team. And, uh, that is where Omni Present comes in. So Omni present enables ambitious companies. You need to build the best teams in the world to do that, to onboard, manage, and retain the best people. And we do that through handling the legal side, payroll side, and the employee benefit side, and empower the companies we work with to hire the best people in the world through a combination of our technology and the expertise of the people we've got in our team. 
Tyler Sellhorn (03:08): 
Awesome. And one of the ways that you kicked off your, your conversation about omnipresent and what they're doing, you included a moer when you said building a team in a knowledge industry. I'm curious why you qualified that with, with knowledge. I mean, we're, we're here to learn from you. I I'm, I'm curious why that's, that's a, an important distinction for you to make. 
Matt Wilson (03:36): 
Well, I think, uh, I mean, knowledge industry is a pretty broad term. I think, you know what I mean when I say that is work that requires, um, that requires people to be doing something that they can do without being, being, being physically present. So if you are building a house, then clearly you need to be doing that where the house is, where the house is, you're doing physical work on the physical environment instead of knowledge work on in a more kind of ethereal environment. So types of work that I would kind of categorize as knowledge work would be technology. If you're writing code or you are doing product management work, or you're doing design work, then that's being done, um, in a digital way that can be done online. If you are doing, if you're a lawyer, then a lot of that work is gonna be knowledge based if you're an accountant, if you're in professional services or consulting. Whereas if you're a builder or you are, um, uh, where you're doing work that requires an interaction with the physical world, then, um, that obviously isn't something where you'd be able to work, um, on a team that is working together remotely. 
Tyler Sellhorn (04:50): 
Interesting. Okay. So, uh, one of the things that I, I've noticed, and maybe I try this on for size. You, you use the idea of construction as a, a, a non remote, um, kind of, kind of, uh, uh, situation. But one of the things that I, I use as an, uh, analogy for remote working, um, is the idea that naval captains maybe were some of the very first remote leaders and, you know, you know, site supervisors, right? Sure. I I would say kind of have a similar sort of vibe to them, right? Where it's like we have these routines, we have these, these skills that get implemented in these certain ways. And, you know, I I, I think there's something to be learned even from, you know, a, a construction leader on, on a site, right? You know, think of the foreman that is, uh, managing the, the work that is happening in the physical world, But so much of that, that pre prior work that that was done by the architect or by the, you know, you know, the, the people that prepared the site for construction, right there, there's all these different ways that we kind of have, have these, you know, you know, outside influence that we're, you know, communicating asynchronously, having a clear set of scope and scope of work. 
I think it's really interesting to hear us kind of think about, you know, knowledge work and, and, you know, your, your idea of saying, Hey, um, we want to be able to hire from wherever, right? We, you know, and you can use omni the present to do that, right? And that we, we do wanna kind of center the idea that maybe you're someone that works inside of a screen or as you said, digital, uh, spaces. Right. Um, I think that's interesting to kind of hear us expressing those, those different things here, you know, now we're in 2020 twos thinking like, Okay, who is this for? Right? And I think it's interesting to also kind of extend that idea. What do you think of that idea to say that like, you know, uh, uh, a naval captain, right? Who, who's, who's gonna touch the controls on a boat or a, you know, construction leader who is going to be, um, supervising the work of someone, uh, using a nail gun, right? Uh, putting the frame on a house. Yeah. What kinds of things are common to both of those kinds of work, you think? 
Matt Wilson (07:04): 
Yeah. Well, I, I think it's a good point. Um, I think, you know, there's, there's a difference here, right? Between the foreman who's, who's overseeing a project, project, managing it, uh, and, and doing the, um, doing the directing, maybe doing some of the planning. You mentioned the architecture. There's a difference between that and the person holding the nail gun, right? And I think, uh, I think that's the, that's the distinction here, right? If you have to have an interaction with the physical environment, then naturally that's gonna be something where you need to be located on the building site in order to, uh, in order to build the wall. But if you are project managing, then yes, perhaps that then, then that's something that, uh, that you are able to do, um, in a, in a remote way. And I think, um, it's interesting actually, looking across our customer base, we'll have companies that you might think would be entirely, um, able to operate remotely, the software company, for example, but actually perhaps they've got, uh, a data center where they need people to work and, uh, and work in that data center. 
Likewise, we've got manufacturing companies that we work with where you might think, Okay, well, they got, obviously all gonna have to be on the manufacturing site, but actually there's entire departments that don't need to be there. So I think you see lots of different types of company that have different types of work needing done in them, and it's not necessarily, um, obvious from the outside in that there's gonna be a hundred percent of the company that can work together remotely, or a hundred percent of the company that need to be, uh, there in person. So I think it's a good point, Tyler. 
Tyler Sellhorn (08:35): 
Okay. Well, uh, thank you for, uh, you know, extending that idea with me a bit to, to say that if, if your nail gun is a keyboard or a mouse, maybe that's better suited to remote work. Uh, but, um, yeah, I, I think that's interesting to hear you describing, you know, some of your customers and, and, and the, the non obvious, uh, types of companies that are hiring across geographies, um, especially in that knowledge workspace. Um, I think it's interesting to, to hear you mentioning manufacturing, and there's been some comments, uh, from, from certain famous, um, you know, electrical car company leaders, uh, that have mentioned that, that, uh, remote workers should go pretend to work somewhere else. I wonder if you have anything to say as you've been advising or, uh, supporting, uh, companies that do have those in person or, you know, nail gun workers as well as the, uh, keyboard workers. 
Um, I'm, I'm wondering how those comments have, have resonated inside of your business to say, Hey, um, yes, if, if you are a nail gun worker, then you probably do need to actually be, uh, with the wood that needs nailed. But like beyond that, there might be some opportunity to hire someone who is better suited to your jobs that are available, uh, that doesn't live in that, you know, hour, you know, 90, you know, 30 minute radius, a 30 mile radius, or, or, you know, what's the kilometers equivalent, right? Sure. <laugh>, you know, that, that lives near a headquarters of an office. Sure. Um, how have you seen that, uh, growing and, and changing as you're supporting companies now? 
Matt Wilson (10:17): 
Yeah. Well, I think, I mean, it's an interesting, it's an interesting point, right? I think, uh, it's, um, it's important for organizations to feel like one team together. And, um, where there are different types of work that need to be done and different models for that work, then it's important that, um, that there's an effort made by the organizations and the people within them that if you've got some people that are on site or some people that are in an office and some people that are working remotely, that there, that, that there's a mutual respect between those two different groups. And I don't think that has to be done by forcing everybody into the same building, uh, and restricting the types of people that you can hire to be those that are, as you say, within, within a, you know, x kilometer radius of the office. 
And, um, but, but it is important that there isn't a two tier system and a two class system, whether that's the remote workers feeling like, uh, they're on the outside of, uh, the decisions that are getting made in a headquarters, or whether it's people who are at, who are in a warehouse, feeling like the people that are working remotely aren't really working remotely. And I think that's, that's, that's a communication problem, uh, and shouldn't really hold back companies from taking advantage of, uh, of the benefits of being able to hire the best people in the world, um, that the, the working remotely brings. Um, 
Tyler Sellhorn (11:40): 
One thing I heard you saying, um, it made me think of that site supervisor that that used to work probably from a central office, you know, near, um, you know, or even think of those, those like, um, you know, big real estate developers that, that might like, do development, you know, out of state, um, you know, here in the or or, or across borders. Yeah. Uh, in the eu, I, that person does go to the site. Sure. Right? They, they, they, they, they have, they evaluate where are we going to go? They, they send surveyors to, to from where they are to go and look at the, these places and say to themselves, Okay, is this a suitable site for us to build on or to develop a, a, a whole shopping center or, you know, a a an apartment building or, you know, some sort of mixed use building like, this is, we're gonna go here and build this, but we're, we're gonna only show up when there's high leverage moments Yeah. To, to like open the building or to begin construction. Yeah. I think there's something to be learned there in terms of how that gets managed. 
Matt Wilson (12:50): 
Yeah. And I think, uh, I think that's, I think that's right. I think, um, you know, I think about the analogies within our organization. So we work together in a fully remote environment. We've got people in the team from over 50 countries that work together, and we don't have an office. Um, but actually there's some high leverage points where we do like to gather in person and spend time in person. And actually we, so we'll do that as a leadership group, uh, and get together when we've got, we wanna take time out, take a step back and, and do some work, uh, do some strategic planning, for example. And actually just last week, we, we had the entire team together. So we, we gathered together the whole team, but just over 350 people as a few people who couldn't make it. But, uh, but, but about 350 people from across, uh, across more than 50 countries around the world. 
We gathered together in person for a week. And, um, we did that to do some of those things that are much, that are harder to do in a remote environment. We did that to celebrate some of the successes that we've achieved together. It's much nicer, celebrated together in person than it is over a Zoom call. Uh, we did that to build human connections with each other. There is a difference about the connection that you can build with a team member sharing, uh, sharing a dinner with them, having a drink with them, um, then you can over a Zoom call. And we did that to, um, to bring people together and to align the team behind some key messages and to be able to take that time out, use that time together, uh, for those purposes. Um, we really made sure we made the use of the time together well. Um, and then we go back and, and we can continue working together remotely. So I think making sure that, you know, for us, taking what, what works great about remote work, but then mitigating that, uh, while, while mitigating the downsides of that by having that high leverage time together and making sure that you make the, make the most of that. That's definitely been the approach that we've taken. 
Tyler Sellhorn (14:47): 
Well, that's been a common theme that I've been hearing from remote leaders is that making the trade from a two hour daily commute to a two week yearly commute Yeah. Probably makes a lot of sense for knowledge workers, especially when you, you know, described, you know, doing the hiring from Dublin, from Legos, from Singapore Right. And to say, Okay, we're gonna work together asynchronously or, or in our own locations, Right. For most of the time. Yeah. Nearly all right. But there's probably that five to 10% of, of our year that probably makes sense to get together to celebrate success and build connections, right? Yeah. Um, you know, the, the, the really crass way that I've been saying is that like, give, give our, give our monkey brains time to primate, right? Yeah. Is is, is to say that we, we do need to see each other, we need do, need to break bread. Yeah. Right? Those are, those are rituals and, and things that cannot be undone from the ways that our, our minds work already. Right? Yeah. And I think that's so key, so interesting to hear you, uh, the week following your, your in person retreat, just reflecting on that. Yeah. Was there anything else that you wanted to bring up from, from that moment in time? 
Matt Wilson (16:03): 
No, I just, I just think, I think it's so important to be honest, uh, when, um, when working together remotely about the dance science that it does bring, uh, there's huge, huge advantages that it brings to companies and to individuals, and I also think to, to society more broadly. Um, but there, there, there are downsides, as you say. We're not, we, we, we are social animals. And, uh, taking the time to understand that, admit that, and then invest in mitigations for that, invest in that time together. Um, and, you know, I think we've all come back, albeit some of those a little bit jet like this week, um, with just a tremendous energy and sense togetherness and sense of drive, um, that wouldn't have been possible if we'd have taken a few days out and done that. Um, remotely. It's, it really changes the dynamic between people and between teams. 
Tyler Sellhorn (16:55): 
Okay. So you mentioned that that omnipresent is working fully remotely across 50 countries with no offices. That's right. Right. And, and, you know, you're supporting country other companies to do the same. That's right. Right. I'm curious to learn, like, you know, we, we, we've we're talking about mitigations here. Um, I I wonder how you all manage, uh, work that, that needs collaboration between parties that, that are not sharing a similar, you know, working hours. Yeah. Uh, cause I, I, I work in a team that has some team members that are in, um, you know, Pacific time zone, you know, in North America, uh, and then in, in South Asia, in, in India standard time. And that, that is 12 and a half hours time difference. It's almost as hard as it gets. Yeah. Um, and I would, I would imagine that the Dublin to, to Singapore is a similar spread. Sure. So how do you guys manage that? 
Matt Wilson (17:59): 
Yeah, it's a, it's a great question. I think, um, uh, again, I think it's, it's important to appreciate the benefits that come with having a team that covers the globe, the benefits in a talent type of talent that you can attract, the quality of talent, you can attract the diversity in team, that, that brings the ability to be near customers and serve customers all around the clock. But, um, it's not without its downsides too, and you've gotta mitigate against them. So I think, you know, the kind of classic way that, that, that remote companies talk about mitigating against is, is through promoting a synchronous work. So having a culture of documentation, a culture of working together, um, without meetings. Um, and that works for certain types of work, but, uh, in my experience, in our experience, it's, it's not some sort of magic bullet that solves all problems. 
And, um, there is a tremendous benefit in, in my opinion, to synchronous communication and synchronous collaboration. Just the throughput and back and forth that you get, um, allows you to process certain types of complex conversation, um, much faster than you can if you're working together, racing, and you've gotta go, you know, kind of play ping pong backwards and forwards. Um, and, um, so, so, so you've gotta design your organization around that. And, uh, that means, for example, our engineering organization, there's people in the engineering organization on pretty much all time zones around the world, but the sub teams within that, the, the teams that need to work together and collaborate, um, they, um, are arranged so they're know more than a few hours apart. Um, the, uh, and, and that's one way that you can get those teams that do need to sync, do, do need to work in a synchronous manner, and the need to work on those complex issues. You can get them doing that, but you don't have to be restrictive with the talent that you bring in once the team gets passed a certain size. 
Tyler Sellhorn (19:56): 
Okay. I, I, what I'm hearing you say is that it's both and, right? Yeah. We're gonna work both remote and in person. Right. But the balance of that is gonna be different than what it has been in the past. What I'm hearing you say is that we're gonna both work at the same time and not at the same time. Yeah. Right. But that balance is gonna look different than it has in the past. 
Matt Wilson (20:20): 
You've gotta, there's, there's not, there's not one way that's necessarily better than another. And just trying to understand what are the pros of this way of working? What are the cons of this way of working? And when is it appropriate to, to, to work like this? When is it appropriate to work in another way? And, uh, when is it beneficial to work together asynchronously? When can that be tremendously beneficial? When can having good documentation be a good thing, regardless of whether you're working together on different time zones, and when can it be detrimental to the way you're working? To try and do that asynchronously and not be able to have a rapid fire back and forth, and choosing the right tool for the job is, um, is really important. And that's, uh, that's, that's the approach that we take, is try not to be too, uh, dogmatic and say there's one way of working, but pick the right tool for the job. And, and, and, and think about it from a first principal's perspective, 
Tyler Sellhorn (21:11): 
It's so great to hear you rhyming with so many other of the remote leaders that we've had and a chance to talk to. You know, it's this invitation to intentional, Yeah. Considered, uh, documented, uh, uh, ways of working to say, you know, there was, this has been an experience that, you know, working, you know, forced, uh, emergency pandemic, uh, work from home has, has been, uh, a prompting a version of, of working that has made us evaluate how we're working from first principles, which, which first principles really mattered. Yeah. And which ones didn't. Um, I, I guess I'm curious to hear, um, the, the experience of customers that you've supported, how they've embraced that invitation to intention or consideration or new ways of working, Like where has the balance fallen for them? 
Matt Wilson (22:08): 
Yeah. Well, we see a spectrum in terms of the ways of working within our, within our customer base. I think the one thing that's constant across all of them is the need and the desire to attract the best people for their team. And, um, that is really why we set up the company, right? So how do you, um, build the best team on earth? That's what we call it, building the best teams on earth. You do that through hiring the best person for each job, um, and you've got the whole of the world, uh, at your fingertips. And, um, that is, um, such a superpower for companies. All of our customers embrace that superpower. And, um, but it is enormously complex. And, and I think, you know, we've got a, such an important job to do, uh, helping them manage that from a compliance perspective, manage that without adding a huge amount of bureaucracy to their plate. And, uh, that's, that's exactly where we've been able to help across, across that customer base. And I think the other side of that from a compliance perspective is all of our customers really want their employees to be well looked after. And that's just so difficult when you're doing that in a global setting, when the laws are different in each country, when the expectations for a benefits perspective are different in each country. And, uh, it can be really, really complicated to get that ride. So that's, that's really where we specialize as well. 
Tyler Sellhorn (23:39): 
Interesting to hear you say that the, the thing that's common among them is, is attracting the best talent. And obviously that's, that's what, you know, you guys have claimed as a tagline, right? You know, the building the best teams on earth, right? I, I guess maybe I'm curious to, to hear you describe more and more we're having these, uh, recruitments, you know, thinking of, of 2019 and earlier, right? Uh, that WeWork remotely audience was, was were first movers, right? Yeah. They, they, they were, uh, you know, some of those, uh, og uh, uh, promoters, right? Yeah. And, and now that we're in this new moment where people are availing themselves of, of omnipresent and other, um, you know, platforms that, that do similar work of managing that, that compliance and legal risk and, and, uh, you know, tax residency, et cetera, Cetera, cetera, right? Um, how do we differentiate ourselves to attract the best, even when we're competing against other remote companies, What is it that we can say as remote companies to say, Hey, we want, we want to attract the best talent. And like, how do, how do we communicate ourselves in ways that signal to those, uh, you know, remote job seekers? Yes. This is an outstanding, uh, place to work. Yeah. Outstanding place to work remotely. 
Matt Wilson (24:57): 
Yeah. I, I mean, it's, it's, it's a, it is a good question. I think, you know, if you go back a couple of years, um, then, um, if you were a company that was working remotely, that was probably enough from an employer branding perspective because you really stood out. Um, and I do think today, even now, it's still such a huge draw, but it's, it's not enough anymore just to work remotely and to have that be the o the only thing in your employer value proposition, you need to have a well rounded employer value proposition. And that comes in time in, in terms of the type of work that you offer, how you approach compensation, how you think about benefits. That's something that differs so much from country to country. So thinking about that in a localized way, So, and that, that could be really, really difficult, right? 
So, oh, we've, we, we are, we are open to hiring anybody anywhere in the world, okay? But what happens when we get somebody wanna make an offer to that's in the US that wants a, uh, that wants great healthcare package that they can, uh, that's, that's, that's something that's really important to, to people in the US is you'll know Tyler, uh, one, when we get somebody in France who doesn't care about that one, when we get somebody, uh, somebody in Nigerian, we've got no idea what they may or may not want. And, uh, that is so, so important. So being able to localize what you do to support your employees, that's really important because the expectations are different from country to country. Um, and that could be really, really difficult. That's another one of the things that, that, that we support with. But your employer, your employer branding goes, goes much further than any one facet. And I think that's, uh, um, yeah, while there may have been an advantage a few years ago in being a first mover, that I think it's still a big advantage now. It's certainly still not the normal way of working for most foremost companies, and you've still got the whole world to compete for from a talent perspective. Um, there definitely, uh, are things that you can do to, uh, to make sure that you are, um, standing out amongst, uh, definitely a more competitive space as a employer, hiring remotely. 
Tyler Sellhorn (26:56): 
Well, uh, Matthew, just wanna conclude here with a thought. Uh, and, and thank you for the invitation to, you know, you know, there, there's been this movement, right? To, to shop local and think global. Right? Well, now, now you've encouraged us to think about hiring global and supporting local, right? I think that's, that's really interesting to hear you describe that, that kind of like zooming out of knowledge work, right? And then zooming in of the experience of individuals who are doing so, Yeah. Um, just wanted to hold open this moment here for you to, you know, conclude with any thoughts you've got, and then Yeah, I'd love to say goodbye. 
Matt Wilson (27:33): 
I think Tyler, that's a really interesting point to, to conclude on. You know, we, when, when working remotely, you can hire the best people all over the world and you can kind of treat the world as this kind of single place. And you can, it's tempting to think of it as this kind of homogenous place, but it, it is, it's not a homogenous world. Each country and even each state or each sub region can be very, very different from each their culturally, from a legal perspective, from a tax perspective, from an employee experience perspective, from benefits perspective. And it's really important to be able to work globally, but then be able to be compliant locally, be able to manage your tax locally, be able to be the best employer in the US and in France and in Singapore and in Nigeria. And that's exactly, uh, what we set omnipresent up for was to help companies with that, because it is such a superpower being able to hire globally, but can just be so complicated without a strong partner by your side. So yeah, I think that's a, that's a really good point to, uh, to, to finish up on. 
Tyler Sellhorn (28:35): 
Well, Matt, thank you for providing those superpowers and really excited to have learned out loud with you today. Talk to you soon. 
Matt Wilson (28:43): 
Thank you so much, Tyler. 

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