Maria was at the breakfast table with her children when she had the realization that would give birth to Remotify—the Filipino company that is reshaping the world of remote work and championing Filipino talent.
It was at this table, shortly after the Covid-19 pandemic struck, that she realised how much time she had missed with her family across her 12-year career of office-based work. It was a thought that was shared by millions as we shifted to remote ways of working, but Maria decided to do something about it. And that something was Remotify.
We sat down with Maria and her partner, COO of Remotify, Erwin, to hear more about how this innovative new business came to be, and where it’s headed next.
Tell us more about how Remotify began
Maria: Before founding Remotify, I was the Global Head of Service Experience for a UK-based global telco-tech emerging unicorn, working European hours every week for 12 years. This role enabled me to lead multiple teams from all over the world, but it came with its share of sacrifices. For more than a decade, I was finishing work when my children were already in bed, and trying to squeeze in a week’s worth of family time into the weekends. It wasn’t until we were forced to operate remotely that I realised just how efficiently I could do my job from home—and just how much I’d been missing.
Erwin: I’m originally from the Netherlands and I used to work for the same global company as Maria, managing teams across Europe and the United States. During that time, I was asked to set up an additional team in the Philippines. It was a move that would change my life completely. I met my wife for the first time and, eventually, moved my whole life here to be with her. It felt very freeing, making choices that ultimately revolved around making me happy. This country has been so good to me and Remotify is my way of giving back.
What does the Remotify service include?
Maria: One of the key gaps in the market that we observed was that people who work 100% from home are usually gig workers without employers on record. Typically, this means they’re paid directly by foreign clients, without social contributions and proper taxes filed. The result? Less opportunity to make exciting, life-changing purchases like buying a home or a car—or even getting approved for a loan for their lack of legal financial records. They also tend to work in isolation, without security of tenure, a supportive work culture or proper HR support. They’re stripped of benefits that should be a given.
We want to change that and put dignity and stability to these remote work opportunities. As an employer of record, we take care of everything from HR to payroll to hiring. We afford our clients full control over their teams without having to set up a local business. This means they enjoy all the benefits and security of a normal corporate setup, with the freedom of remote working.
Erwin: Essentially, we simplify the process of scaling your business, which we all know can be extremely complex and costly. And, crucially, we enable you to do this all remotely. Our belief is that happy employees produce better results. My quality of life has certainly improved through the freedom to work anywhere, so we know first-hand that it works.
As a business, you’re very passionate about amplifying Filipino talent. Can you tell us more about this?
Maria: As a Filipino woman, I’ve spent my whole career pushing for representation and equality. It can be frustrating as a minority to know just how much talent and drive you have, without having equal footing as other’s to showcase it. Remotify brings Filipino talent to the doorstep of the rest of the world. It’s leveling the playing field.
The country’s ecosystem is very mature and is built for this global employment market. With the level of English proficiency, lower cost of living, high educational attainment (700,000 university graduates per year), our resilience and culture of care and friendliness, and the highly westernized, 24x7 culture, these make us the best outsourcing destination in the world. The Philippines is home to 45 million talentforce--that is as big as the entire population of Spain. Everyday more and more of these talents are looking to secure meaningful remote work but are afraid to lose the security and social benefits the traditional corporate set up provides.
We like to think of ourselves as a triple threat: we’re good for employees, good for businesses and good for the country.
Erwin: On a personal level, the Philippines has given so much to me. It’s given me a home, a family and a career. I wanted to give something back. By making our talent more accessible to global businesses, we’re helping to boost the economy of the Philippines, opening up the country to more lucrative, exciting opportunities.
Right now, there are over 1.5 million Filipinos on international online platforms for freelancing services. This contributes to billions circulating in our economy, but also millions of workers without proper HR support, tax compliance, benefits processing and billions of undeclared salaries. Solving this issue is a massive win for the Philippines and its talent.
Do you see the Philippines having a completely remote future?
Maria: There will always be a place for face-to-face interaction. Of course there will. But, in the Philippines - the way we are physically made up of 7000+ islands, it makes sense for us to embrace remote work. Before working from home initiatives kicked in in 2020, it was common for Filipinos to have commutes of 4+ hours every day. It’s only now, with the clarity of hindsight, that we can see how ridiculous that is to endure.
Erwin: That time is not replaceable. It’s time you spend missing out on your family's lives, your hobbies and your passions. To us, it makes no sense to throw that time away when you can just as easily live and work from home and get the same great results.
What does “giving back” to the Philippines look like in practice?
Erwin: Aside from the work we’re doing to help individual working Filipinos and the economy, we also wanted to take that deep desire to give back a step further. We want everyone in this country to have a chance at a great life and thriving career, but for that to happen, you need to be helping long before a career is even thought of. That’s why we give a portion of every successful hire we make through our service to SOS Children’s Village.
Maria: SOS Children’s Village supports underprivileged children in the Philippines, not just as a one-off, but throughout their lives—from cradle to career. Like SOS Children’s Village, we’re passionate about breaking the negative cycle children can be born into. It’s an amazing cause, and tackles big issues at the roots.
What does the future hold for Remotify?
Erwin: There’s still a job to be done around the perception of remote work. A lot of businesses want to return to the way things were, but we don’t see the future headed that way. People have experienced a life where they’re not bound to their offices and commutes, where we don’t have to be confined to our borders in the world of work. It’s our mission to make people see that remote work isn’t some lazy alternative to the 9-5, but an efficient, beneficial way to live.
Maria: As long as you have a stable internet connection, skills, and a secure and inclusive remote employment, you can thrive at work, from anywhere you wish to. That’s a pretty compelling narrative if you ask me.
What does the future hold for us? Creating better, more balanced lives for businesses, employees and the Philippines. It’s a big job. But we couldn’t be more up to the task!