Currently, 85 percent of employees in Mexico want a hybrid format in which they can work in the office as well as elsewhere, says lvaro Villar, CEO of WeWork Mexico.
However, to some extent only 55 percent of companies already have it.
It speaks of a radical change in the way the pandemic represents work; However, also talk about the delay in catching up with the new labor normality at the country level.
The foregoing is relevant, because to the extent that companies rapidly and thoroughly migrate to a hybrid model, their opportunities to attract and retain talent will increase.
“We are looking at a lot of companies that were traditional and are looking for us today because they don’t know what will happen in six months,” he says. All those conjectures which are not reliable today are in our favour.
Something would know lvaro, who directs Flexible Spaces, the world’s largest platform for work in one of its main markets, WeWork Mexico.
According to the talk, the pandemic represented a watershed for WeWork’s business model.
Born in a Brooklyn loft in 2008, from the brainchild of former Israeli Army officer Adam Neumann and architect Miguel McKelvey, WeWork inaugurated the concept of coworking to the world by subletting flexible workspaces without fixed contracts to the New York entrepreneurial scene.
Backed by Japanese SoftBank from the beginning, by 2014 WeWork had already reached a valuation of $5 billion and was considered one of the most disruptive startups in the world for its explosive expansion and muscle mass along with its proposition of flexible spaces. of real estate market.
Without losing its sense of flexibility, WeWork was moving towards a model that rests mostly on the corporate sector.
Today 65 percent of the companies that use one of its 800 buildings worldwide are large corporations such as IBM, Facebook, Microsoft or UBS.
“We have a very interesting mix between consolidated companies and people who are just starting out in a flexible way in a single space.”
Newman remained at the helm of the company until 2019, the year in which controversy surrounding the stability of the business as well as its financial health surrounded his controversial leadership. He left office at the request of investors and employees to make way for a restructuring.
Since that year, and amid the pandemic, the company has sought to bolster more measured growth, skim failed business lines (such as the schools and homes that were once called WeLearn and WeLive), and reduce costs. , including the closure of some buildings. and downsizing.
Under the control of WeWork Mexico since April 2020 and the company since 2016, lvaro has seen all these changes. That year, the company also reached the country with its first building on Warsaw Street in Zona Rosa, Mexico City. Today there are already 26 locations.
“The pandemic was very difficult in the first phase because it challenged our business model a lot. After spending those first months of great uncertainty, people believed and trusted that the model was going to be resilient in the post-pandemic period, “They say.
According to him, flexibility at work was a value at which the company worked for ten years before the pandemic, so “it was only enhancing what we already had and this was a unique opportunity.”
“We’ve done it before, the world just realized that this is the model they want to operate in, that they don’t want to go completely back to the old format where the CEO decides how many days a week you are office, at what time and the office in which their headquarters is located, is it good or bad for you”.
As they refer to, WeWork has achieved results in Mexico after the pandemic that it had not achieved in its six years of existence.
“We are at 70 percent occupancy, despite the fact that we have not come out of the pandemic. We make an estimate for the next months and very soon we will have practically no space left, we have to think about development again. Will have to talk, says lvaro, who is looking at starting operations in Puebla, Aguascalientes, Queretaro or maybe Mérida. “Those are some of the options we have on the table.”
As he points out, the companies that use their services today are clear about the days they call their employees into the office and for what purpose.
WeWork recently conducted a survey among its members in this area asking what they would like to see around work after the pandemic, as well as how they deal with it, “Reinventing the Work Model in Latin America”. A study called “Defining From”.
WeWork Studio is the product of the consulting work they do, as well as a corporate campaign to shed light on the latest work trends, and those that match the business model based on the flexibility of the space they offer.
Similarly, 42 percent of those surveyed would ideally work remotely for three days a week, followed by 28 percent who prefer to work remotely for two days a week.
For those surveyed, face-to-face work interactions with colleagues, separation of personal life from professional life, as well as a better structure for work.
For remote work, what is most valuable is reduced travel time, reduced operating costs, and greater productivity with better time management.
Among the findings that अलlvaro finds most relevant is that compared to other regions of the world, Mexicans double or triple when they want to return to office.
“It also speaks to our culture. It’s more dependent on the conversation we want to see each other with other partners, in that moment we bounce off some ideas, and have a conversation. It’s of value to us.” generates.”
As lvaro points out, the transition to a hybrid model isn’t easy, or even possible, for all companies.
“In many ways we understand this. There are companies that have been operating for 50, 100, 200 years in a way and it’s not that easy to switch to a hybrid model; it’s not clear how they’re going to measure productivity. Where are their employees, what kind of activities they can do face-to-face and their duration”.
However, he remarked, there must be at least a plan in place to deal with the new demands for talent, as flexibility at work is already considered a part of benefit programs, such as meal allowances or gas vouchers.
This will have important implications for how attractive companies are to talented workers and those who have become accustomed to the foresight and freedom to choose their own hours.
“It’s going to be a transformer in the way we work, because it’s going to attract or retain talent. Any company that forces its employees to come to this central office every day from 9 6 away, it’s going to be complicated. A lot about retaining his talent”
For example, there are corporations of the stature of Google, Spotify or Dropbox that have embraced remote work and labor mobility between countries.
“More and more companies are hiring talent remotely and have employees from supporting organizations in different countries.
He says, “Being able to provide spaces in which you can be productive, hone creativity, and stimulate interaction with other collaborators, is one of the things that is one of the things that companies do with us.” Makes it easier to come by.”
This becomes relevant in the current context of economic slowdown, lack of investment and uncertainty.
For the executive, these conditions make it difficult to make a sound financial plan for the rental of traditional office spaces tied to multi-year contracts.
Similarly, office costs can represent 15 percent of organizations’ total operating costs.
“It is very complicated to predict where I will stand in six months or 12 months. Today there are 100 employees, but tomorrow there may be 50 or 300, and they depend on factors that are very high in the thread.
“You can’t beat all that in the traditional (office) market. You rent a few meters and you don’t have much. In all this uncertainty, both from the pandemic and the economic situation, we value even more because A hybrid format suits you.”
This is why Executive recommends that companies experiment with work forms, face-to-face or not, with hours and days until they find a routine that works for them.
According to the company, remote working should be redefined because, it says, it is not synonymous with the home office, but with a location that is well suited to the needs of each worker and organization.
“There isn’t a single format that applies to all companies. Each company’s specifications, moments, platforms, are very specific.
“We are excited about what is happening, very confident that there is no turning back. We do not want to revert to a traditional work format where people return to the same office every day with fixed hours This transition that we are seeing has benefited from the hybrid and flexible model and will allow us to move forward.”