Telework was largely unknown in Spain when the coronavirus pandemic broke out in March 2020. Companies had to make great efforts to adapt to the new situation and digitise their services, both internally and externally. At that time, everyone thought that remote working was here to stay. But what has happened to telework three years later?
Table of Contents
1. The evolution of telework in Spain from 2020 to 2023
COVID-19 changed our lives overnight. At a stroke, we had to reconvert our houses into homes, gyms, leisure centres and workspaces to adapt to the new “normal”.
All those things that seemed like they couldn’t wait, waited. But we needed to keep working. And the solution was, in most cases, teleworking.
In 2020, not many companies in Spain were ready for remote working, as it was just timidly starting to take off. The coronavirus accelerated the process by force, forcing companies to invest heavily in setting up structures, providing equipment for workers, facilitating logistics, ensuring the security of the working environment and developing collaborative environments.
After such high expenditure, the migratory flow of workers to the countryside and the advantages of teleworking, everything seemed to indicate that this working model was here to stay. A telecommuting law was even passed to regulate the situation. But this has not been the case.
1.1. What happened to telework after the coronavirus pandemic?
It is estimated that at the worst of the pandemic, 20% of workers (some 3.56 million people) teleworked in Spain. And we didn’t do too badly.
However, as restrictions were lifted, workers also started to return to the office. In fact, two years after the outbreak of the pandemic, only 13.75% of employees were working remotely. By the end of 2022, the percentage of remote workers had almost halved (9.6%).
1.2. Telework in 2023: fantasy or reality?
To date, teleworking has been reserved for some sectors and companies, and almost always combined with a partial face-to-face regime. Therefore, we can say that telework is not here to stay. At least in Spain, where it is in clear decline.
One does not have to look very far to find the causes. To begin with, the vast majority of companies are resistant to change because of the outdated tradition of being present in the workplace. In other words, they hide behind the security that comes from having the worker under surveillance throughout the working day.
On the other hand, there are also companies that claim insufficient technological resources. Moreover, the teleworking law does not make things exactly easy either. In this sense, the vast majority of companies see remote working as an advantage for their employees and not as a cost saving, so they refuse to pay for it.
And then there are the workers. While most embrace the change, others prefer not to work remotely for a variety of reasons: lack of social contact with colleagues, difficulties adapting their home to the work environment, problems of work disengagement… Also, more than half of organisations believe that if employees are not in the office they will not be able to build the relationships needed to progress in their careers.
2. What are the consequences of not offering remote working?
The sudden return to the office left us no time to develop a business culture that would foster a gradual and progressive change for all stakeholders. But despite the numbers and an uncertain future, remote working is not without its advantages.
According to Poly’s March 2022 Recruit, Retain and Grow study, 56% of companies are aware that they will start to lose staff if they do not start to implement hybrid working arrangements. What’s more, according to a September 2022 Hired salary report, organisations that do not offer the option of working from home are 25% less likely to find more skilled workers. This implies that telecommuting has become a resource for companies to attract and retain talent.
And that is not all. Apart from the environmental and work-life balance benefits, teleworking has proven to be highly efficient in terms of productivity.
According to Poly’s report, 72% of companies reported an average productivity increase of 27%. The Future Forum report produced in collaboration with Pulse in October 2022 raises this figure to 29% and adds that workers with fully flexible working hours have a 53% greater ability to concentrate than others.
In addition, this latest report also concludes that flexible teleworking policies have become one of the main factors that have improved corporate culture over the last two years. And, of course, employees still feel connected to their team members, the only difference being that the communication channel is different.
3. How are companies that continue to offer teleworking still managed?
As mentioned earlier, one of the biggest challenges posed by the sudden move of the office indoors in the pandemic was structural and logistical. And, today, efficient management remains the key to successful remote working.
There are two essential logistical needs that every company must take care of at the administrative level: the purchase of office supplies and software subscriptions. In other words, supplies of consumables and digital tools.
According to article 11 of the telecommuting law, remote workers are entitled to the “provision and adequate maintenance by the company of all means, equipment and tools necessary for the development of the activity”. The needs vary depending on each job, although the most basic tools are the following:
- A laptop computer equipped with a camera for video calls.
- An ergonomic chair.
- Office supplies, such as paper, pens and filing cabinets.
- The necessary software to perform tasks, communicate with the team, protect information and synchronise work.
Purchasing and accounting for office supplies and managing software subscriptions when the team is decentralised can be more complicated. Unless you have a tool that makes it easier and simpler.
Tickelia is a 360º corporate expense management software in the cloud, available in mobile App ( iOS and Android version) and web version that allows companies to manage purchases and subscriptions in a simple and agile way. All from anywhere, whether via mobile phone, tablet or computer.
Thanks to the functions offered by Tickelia, companies can manage purchases, employee requests and payments efficiently, quickly and automatically. In addition, Tickelia incorporates filters to create approval flows prior to the payment of any purchase or subscription, so that both managers and the purchasing department have greater control and traceability of all operations.
Online payments, invoice reports, automatic expense accounting, detailed cost analysis… Managing operational expenses through Tickelia facilitates control and reduces time spent by up to 85%. Ask for your demo today and discover all that Tickelia can do for you!