Interview with Roman Gordy, CEO of Arbonum

The CEO of Arbonum, Roman Gordy, kindly took some time out of his busy schedule to answer a few questions about his company and remote working.

Q: What inspired the creation of Arbonum?

A: My genuine hatred for Excel and paperwork. I feel like I should be creating beautiful things, coming up with new ideas, and sharing something wonderful with people, but I had to spend several hours a day filling out tables, forms, and declarations. I believe paperwork destroys our bodies faster than smoking.

Q: Since 2020 remote working has been the default for many organizations, how do you foresee the next 5 years to be like?

A: I see the period up to 2030 as a sieve through which only those who can adapt, change their behavior patterns, and reinvent themselves as many times as needed will pass. Also, those whose functions are too expensive to automate, like plumbers, auto mechanics, and washing machine installers. Remote positions for creative professionals might disappear. Current specialist recruitment programs aim to select those who can digitize the economies of the inviting countries.

Q: What sets Arbonum apart from similar remote team management and payroll tools?

A: We are 100% bootstrapped. This means we are not obligated to become a unicorn at any cost. We can afford to maintain a very attentive attitude towards our clients, offering a very sensitive service rather than just a conveyor belt of basic services. That’s why companies with interesting tasks, which only we can solve, work with us.

Q: What is in your experience the secret to keeping a thriving company culture and keeping teams motivated when people work in separate locations?

A: Hire only the best and give them the freedom to solve problems. Trusting means valuing a person’s competence and experience. And never try to hire three cheap specialists instead of one expensive one.

Q: Are you planning any additional features for Arbonum?

A: We have many ideas, all of which come from audience and individual client requests, not from the CEO’s head. And, of course, our plans are related to ensuring freelancers are not disadvantaged compared to full-time employees. This is a sort of mission, if you will, but it’s what motivates me every day.

Q: What do you think is the biggest challenge for remote workers and digital nomads when working across different time zones?

A: People adapt to a certain work schedule quite quickly. The only downside is that you can’t trick your body, and melatonin cycles can’t be canceled. However, if the main requirement for a person is to be online, they might need to find a client who values their talent rather than their Slack activity status.

Q: Why did you choose the creative sector as one of the key markets for Arbonum?

A: I am a film director and have worked a lot in the creative industries. I know how tedious bureaucracy and paperwork can be. I understand the high level of anxiety among people who, despite being excellent specialists, cannot be sure they will maintain their income level tomorrow. These are essentially nomads. In past centuries, if you farmed land and someone decided that now you were doing it for a new owner, nothing much changed for you. But if you were forbidden to move in search of game or forage for livestock, you could simply die.

Q: Getting paid on time is a huge challenge for freelancers in general: how do you manage the timely chasing of invoices?

A: Arbonum protects both sides: the freelancer gets paid when the client is satisfied with the result. However, if the client accepts the work, they have a maximum of 60 days to pay the contractor, and they pre-fund the account on the platform for this purpose.

Q: Please talk in more detail about locally compliant contract management: how did you set it up in multiple countries?

A: The relationships between companies and contractors are regulated by very similar rules. Yes, there are different tax systems and activity restrictions, but the service provision rules are similar. As a single point of contact with contractors, Arbonum signs a contract with each contractor, always in one jurisdiction. Thus, the client does not need to think about which country the contractor is in and what the contract requirements are there.

Q: How did you set up dedicated health insurance for digital nomads?

A: We have wonderful partners who are already quite well-known among digital nomads – SafetyWing. We offer the most favorable rates to contractors registered with us.

Q: What would you advise newly recruited remote workers to have a successful career?

A: Work on your reputation. It’s something that will work for you in the second half of your life. And delegate all the boring work to services like ours. This will free up time for what will truly propel you forward.