Luis Torreiro lived happily teleworking. His companions too. And that happiness showed in the results. Torreiro knows this because he is responsible for quality in a call center . Your job is to make sure that others do their jobs well. “And they do, they did. During these months everything has been great, “he says. It qualifies in the past because for a few months, in your company, they are betting on a hybrid model. They rotate. Torreiro believes that it is the beginning of a total return to face-to-face work. And he’s not so happy anymore. “Today I had to work in the office, and I have spent an hour in a traffic jam, when before it took 40 minutes ”, he regrets. The data give you the reason: private traffic is reaching pre-dwarf levels (it is at 90%) in his city, Madrid. Torreiro is not the only one who has returned to the office.
Pauline Roussel can also spend hours going to her workplace. Sometimes days. You even have to catch an international flight from time to time. This entrepreneur has spent five years traveling the world from coworking to coworking . He has visited more than 400 in every city imaginable. Tokyo, Osaka, Mumbai, Bangalore, Kuala Lumpur, Paris, Madrid, Barcelona, London, Berlin, Copenhagen, New York… Roussel works while traveling. He does not have a fixed schedule, nor a stable place of work.
It is no longer necessary to work from a desk in the office. Most of the companies were focused on this model, but it is not designed for the new generations
Pauline Roussel, entrepreneur
And he believes that his model reflects much better than Torreiro’s what the new generations are looking for in the world of work. “The pandemic has opened the conversation around new ways of working,” he explains from Bulgaria. “It is no longer necessary to do it from a desk in the office. Most companies were focused on this model. It is not designed for the new generations, who are looking for something more in their work, but they kept going almost by inertia ”, he laments. It doesn’t anymore.
Generation Z (those born between the mid-nineties and mid-nineties 2000) shows the least interest in going back to the office, according to the latest wave of the LinkedIn Worker Confidence Index. The desire to resume face-to-face work increases as the age of the respondents increases, until they reach 80% of boomers (born between 1946 and 1964)), who consider the office as a place to socialize that can enhance your career.
It’s not just about how they value their work time. But, especially, how they value their free time. “Younger generations, such as millennials and Generation Z, mainly seek a balance between work and private life,” confirms Carole Viaenne, author of Mi ideal job (and how to find it) and adviser at the ESADE business school. “They do not understand that attitude of dedicating themselves entirely to work, neglecting leisure.”
The new generations have new paradigms. And the presence does not seem to be among them. However, they face a conservative system and bosses who often do not understand them. “It’s hard to change old habits,” explains Vianne, “And there’s also a generational dynamic, the idea that“ these millennials only demand from day one, and I’ve had to working hard for many years to get what they are asking for. ”
Roussel doesn’t think he’s asking for much. Just being able to integrate your work into a nomadic lifestyle. When he started doing it, five years ago, it was a rarity. Today, he assures, it is a trend. The data seems to be right. According to a report by MBO Partners, the number of digital nomads, that is, professionals who have moved three times of their own free will in the last year, skyrocketed by almost one 50% on 2020. About 11 Millions of Americans now identify as digital nomads, and more than half are employed workers who have chosen to do their job from anywhere in the world.
The desire to resume face-to-face work increases with age: generation Z shows the least interest, while the 80% of boomers want to do it
But this phenomenon cannot be reduced to a handful of numbers and statistics. It is interesting not only to see who gets it but who tries it. “This model of jobs has increased its appeal and popularity,” says Vianne. “It makes many of us dream. Or at least, it makes a dream seem real: being free to travel anywhere and having a job that allows you to do it is possible ”. The dream seems very real in the Canary Islands. More than 8. 000 professionals have settled in the archipelago after the call of the autonomous government to liberal professionals. The idea is to increase that number up to 30. 11 in the next decade. To achieve this, the Government of the Canary Islands announced last year a plan equipped with 500 . 000 euros for marketing and training campaigns
Citizens of the world and coworking
Change the briefcase for the bag is the dream of many. And some have made it happen. Most do it on time. That is why there are many companies that are allowing teleworking for a month or a few weeks a year. But other workers have made it a way of life. Roussel confirms that in his adventure through the coworkings of the world he met quite a few. “These spaces have an international atmosphere, there are many people who travel while they work, although the truth is that we did not find anyone who was going around the world like us,” he confesses.
Roussel she did not undertake this adventure alone. He did it with who was then his co-worker, today his life partner, Dimitar Inchev. They both worked in a coworking company in Berlin. They began to visit other similar spaces for work. They ended up doing it out of passion. They left their position and became employment consultants. In entrepreneurs. And in authors. Together they have written the book Around the World in 250 coworking spaces , in which they reveal their experience in rural coworkings in Japan, in retreat spaces, which combine yoga with meetings, or in very modern lofts of New York. Dimitar Inchev explains his fascination with these spaces because of the possibility they offer the remote worker to socialize. “These spaces have become the ideal landing strip for the traveler,” he assures.
His may sound like a utopian adventure, but the couple subtracts romanticism and assures that it is possible. What is recommended. “Working while traveling is not that difficult,” Inchev explains. “I have only been limited to graphic design, something for which you need a large monitor. But over time I have adapted to work faster, using more tools that save time and can be used in the browser ”. Both he and Roussel say that all it takes to combine travel and work is one thing: planning.
The case of Google
Teleworking cannot be apply to all sectors. Among those in which this modality is an option, the technological one is one that can best be adapted. And the presence of large (huge) companies makes their movements be analyzed with a magnifying glass. What they do is a way of intuiting what the rest can do. Twitter has allowed its staff to work remotely forever. Facebook has announced that it will also offer it to those who request it. Apple will allow two weeks per year of telecommuting at 100% and It will bet on a hybrid system for the rest of the year.
The case of Google, which also bets on a middle ground, is interesting to analyze because it is more easily exportable to other sectors. The company is implementing a hybrid model in which there will be three face-to-face days and two telework days. “This model will start from January, and not in all countries or all offices. Only in those in which the situation of the pandemic allows it ”, clarifies Anaïs Pérez Figueras, communication director of Google in Spain and Portugal. “We know that most employees want more flexibility, and that is why the mix of work from home and from the office is ideal,” he adds.
Most employees want more flexibility, and that is why the mix of work from home and from the office is ideal
Anaïs Pérez Figueras, communication director of Google in Spain and Portugal
The company will also give its employees the possibility to carry out their I work from another country. To relocate talent. This means facing new challenges and situations. Google is based in Mountain View, one of the largest cities within Silicon Valley. The cost of living there is disproportionately high, and the salaries match. For this reason, the company decided that those workers who chose to live in another country (or in another state, in the case of the United States) would suffer a salary readjustment taking into account the standard of living of their new work base.
For this they have developed a tool, called Work Location Tool, which adjusts salaries automatically. “The tool offers you an estimate of what your total package would be: salary, along with bonuses, actions that depend on different variables such as cost of living in the place, land that is charged in the country for the same type of position and job. , taxes, etc. ”, Pérez Figueras points out.
Work Location Tool, they explain from the company, is an internal tool. At the moment there are no plans to open it to other companies. But the salary adjustment system does seem to be permeating between different companies. Facebook has announced that it will do the same with its workers and many other companies are following that path. These adjustments may remove incentives for offshoring, but not end it. Many remote workers are not looking for an effective salary increase, but for quality of life.
“Traveling has almost become synonymous with freedom,” says Carol Viaenne. ” The journey means that you are learning something new, that you are moving. You are fleeing from the routine and gaining autonomy ”. The new generations seem to commune with this idea. For two years they have had trips practically banned, but they have gone out to the new normal knowing that they do not have to border, necessarily, to 24 days per year. An oasis of freedom in a routine desert. Travel, in this new reality, can be integrated into work. A possibility that Viaenne sums up with a question. “If your job means being in front of a screen all day, why not do it and n a place where a surf session or a breathtaking hike is five minutes away? ”