Did you know that 27 September is World Tourism Day? Its purpose is to raise awareness in the international community about the social, cultural, political and economic value of tourism.
Which is great, but we’ve just come back from holidays and I don’t know about you, but I’m in office mode. ….
When we think of an office, the image that comes to mind, at least for those of us who are over thirty and all, is of desks or cubicles with people bordering on tedium doing boring or automatic jobs and with a boss who reigns in a central office from which we feel he is staring at the back of our necks.
OK, maybe I’m exaggerating a bit, but going to the office has never been fun for anyone.
The truth is that many companies are forcibly adapting to workers. We used to think of Google, a leading “conciliatory” company, and we were insanely envious and amazed that it was possible to be productive in any way. How can it be possible that there are rest areas with table football, gym, sofas to rest, that certain departments don’t even have tables and are open and communal spaces, that you can go out into the garden to “think”, that there are entire counters with pastries, biscuits, fruit, coffee, tea… well, the truth is that the concept makes the employee more motivated, that they work in an environment that encourages creativity and even that they work longer hours because they feel at ease.
Intensive working hours
We are at the bottom of Europe in terms of intensive working hours. There are studies that show that a person is more productive 3 hours a day, usually in the morning, and yet we are in the office all day, a day that starts with a one-hour lunch break. In Spain we work from 9am to 2pm and from 3pm to 7pm, while in the rest of Europe the intensive 8am to 4pm working day has been the norm for years.
The lowest working hours are found in regulated European countries, where the Netherlands, Denmark and Norway stand out with less than 34 hours per week. On the other hand, the longest working hours are found in countries such as Spain and Belgium. For Scandinavian countries, it is very important to reconcile work and family life.
Work-life balance is a concept that refers to the balance between an employee’s professional and personal life. It is a relatively new concept that seeks the happiness of a company’s employees in order for them to be efficient and productive in their jobs.
4-day work weeks
The 4-day working week is the order of the day. Some companies have already implemented this working model in Spain, and others are seriously considering it. The key to it all is Flexibility. New times mean new ways of working.
In this case, the 40-hour working day is condensed into four days. There is a redistribution in which 10 hours of work would be done each day, which would extend the weekend. In this way, the same amount of time would be worked in exchange for more leisure time. Companies such as Desigual (the office, not the shops), among others, have already adopted this measure.
We have also evolved in the way we dress. In general terms, it is no longer common to go to the office in a suit, unless you work in the banking sector or face the public on formal occasions such as congresses, meetings, presentations, workshops, conventions and trade fairs.
Smart Casual now reigns supreme. This office look is very much appreciated in young companies, with employees under the age of 40 and a dynamic professional approach. The smart casual dress code provides a mix of sporty looks and more elegant elements. Taken together, it’s a professional yet comfortable outfit that allows you to look friendly without losing credibility. Tie-less blazers and shirts, pastel-coloured blouses and palazzo or skinny trousers, knee-length dresses are the basis of this style.
And if your work environment is casual and does not involve direct contact with clients, you can focus on a casual look. Even some companies, with a formal dress code, sometimes set a more comfortable, sporty casual Friday. However, a casual office appearance does not mean negligence. Avoid slinky dresses, Bermuda shorts, shorts and thin strapless blouses – don’t go to the office as if you were going for bread.
Being an entrepreneur and a parent at the same time is no easy task. That’s why there are more and more companies where you can work and have your children close by. A revolutionary idea that allows work to be carried out in the most flexible and conciliatory way possible. As a general rule, these spaces offer the possibility of working in the same premises with separate areas. This way, you can concentrate on your work knowing that your children are cared for by an educator. Sounds great, doesn’t it? In Spain, this service is not very widespread, barely 5% of companies offer this possibility, but we are heading in the right direction at least.
There are also pet-friendly offices. These are known as “dog-friendly” offices. However, other pets such as cats, different breeds of birds, turtles or fish also share their time with their owners at work. Experts believe that having animals in the office (or other workplaces) humanises us, generating well-being and greater work performance.
Dog Friendly offices tend to be more productive, because, contrary to what one might think, owners concentrate more on their work tasks when they have their pet, they de-stress, become more creative and feel happier.
what is this concept? A coworking space offers shared work areas, so it must have specific characteristics. It brings together professionals of all kinds who are not necessarily related to each other. In other words, in addition to sharing an area, they can connect and create new work opportunities.
Each one pays a monthly fee to the company that rents the space, as if it were a gym.
Programmer Brad Neuberg officially launched the first coworking space in San Francisco. The partnership initially offered 5-8 desks two days a week, with wifi and shared meals. A year later, the space closed to make way in 2006 for the well-known Hat Factory, now also closed.
The year 2020 was a year of many changes for many companies, I will not go into the effect it had on the human side; perhaps one of the biggest changes in Spain was homework, a concept that very few of us were used to, once again we are behind in Europe, as there are countries that have been teleworking for years. Even companies where you only go to the office for meetings.
But let’s define the concept a bit: it is a work activity that takes place outside the organisation where all processes are centralised. The use of technologies to facilitate communication between the parties without the need to be in a specific physical location to fulfil their functions, in other words, working from home.
Homework brings advantages to the employee, as well as to the company. It saves time and costs by avoiding commuting between home and work. It reduces traffic congestion and carbon emissions. It reconciles family, social and working life.
It also has its disadvantages: the work environment is eliminated, there is a possible emotional disengagement of the worker with the company, difficulty for teamwork, isolation… even so, the advantage of working in pyjamas predominates and overrides all the negatives.
Let’s make a special mention of meetings during this homeworking times.
According to a study by the National Bureau of Economic Research, since the pandemic, work meetings have increased by 13% and have become shorter and more effective, reducing their duration by 20%.
The effectiveness of meetings is a consequence of the fact that they are held telematically, but this modality has its drawbacks: another study by Microsoft points out that long meetings in front of a screen cause greater stress.
I don’t want to finish without a recommendation for a series now that autumn is here and you feel like a blanket and a sofa: I hope you like it.