American working culture is no stranger to the debate over the merits of a virtual workforce. Even those who focus on the pitfalls of remote working have to recognize the reality that technology is inevitably advancing—and that its ripple effects on business and commerce strain the existing proximity paradigm for hiring and retaining talent.

Executive Summary

Opinion: Reflecting on the efforts of the small Baltic nation Estonia to become a "digital republic," encouraging remote businesses outside of its borders to put down "virtual roots" to fuel innovation there, Sharon Emek, CEO of WAHVE, the remote staffing firm for insurance and accounting, argues that technological advancement should drive American companies, including U.S. insurers, toward working dynamics that defy proximity, time zones, nationality and background.

As the virtual world proliferates through technological advancement, location-independent working environments are often the deliverance that allows companies of all sizes to stay competitive.

If those realities aren’t convincing enough, maybe the remarkable story of a small Baltic nation, which is recounted in a December 2017 feature in The New Yorker titled “Estonia, the Digital Republic” and on the website, will hold sway. In Estonia, population 1.3 million, the government has completed a digitizing process that it characterizes as both “a cost-saving efficiency and an equalizing force” that “saves the country 2 percent of its GDP a year in salaries and expenses,” The New Yorker article says. This digitizing process makes every facet of Estonian citizens’ civil engagement digital and incredibly efficient—from voting to challenging parking tickets to registering a marriage license, even documenting health records and medical treatment.

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