Over the past months we have witnessed how many companies have had no other choice but to embrace remote work during the pandemic, a challenge which most of these companies were not ready to face, let alone for such a long time. For instance, if we take a look at Spain, we can see how the percentage of workers teleworking has gone from 4.8% in 2019 all the way up to 34%, according to the nation's statistical agency.
The reasons why this shift had not yet taken place in the country are numerous, although the most remarkable might be an old-fashioned work culture, in which 'presenteeism', i.e. sitting at your desk even if there was no workload at all, was favoured over objective-driven work productivity. Many of these companies, once deemed unprepared to take the plunge, are expected to carry on with this new work model after the pandemic. By giving their employees leeway to organize their schedule and strike a better work-life balance, managers have realized they can in turn perk up the motivation, productivity and commitment of their staff.
On the downside, remote work has companies struggle to instil a team spirit. A striking example is that of Christmas 2020, when many companies came up with the idea of throwing their traditional Christmas dinner parties in an online format. The food would be delivered to each of the attendees' homes, along with some Christmas decorations, or even karaoke or mime game kits.
Such experiences have sparked an interest in this type of initiatives. Seeking to stick their teams together, companies are trying new approaches to team meetings by creating special moments during their daily routine. As Roberto Fernández, CEO of Madrid-based Cerveza Fetén and Groovie Craft Beer, tells us: “… more and more companies are hiring our services to 'spice up' their meetings”, he chuckles. “There are companies that, prior to their Friday 1-to-3pm follow-up meetings, have us deliver an assortment of our beers and snacks to each home. That very same morning, top executives relax after tense meetings with an online tasting of our beers, and some companies go as far as to prepare casual after-work meetups for their staff, where they enjoy our special packs of beers with glasses, openers and other merchandise that we customize for them”.
“They can not afford to let their most talented professionals go, which seems to occur quite often in the most knowledge-based industries. Bringing them together and around an 'online table' full of treats not only helps them combat attrition, but also allows them to show their gratification in spite of the long distance”.