The COVID-19 crisis has undoubtedly pushed teleworking. Many workers were fired from the office in March and won’t be back for a long time. This has affected the real estate sector economically, but it has also created new employment and residential trends. “In the short term, this confinement situation has led to a change in the mentality of many people regarding housing; Many people are evaluating (those who have the possibility) where they want to live and in what type of housing and population ”, says Xavier Anzano Bergua, collaborating professor of the University Master’s Degree in City and Urban Planning at the UOC. This has meant that many populations have experienced a rebound in the number of inhabitants and registrations, and some homes have gone from second homes to regular homes. “Teleworking can contribute to repopulating some rural areas of our country: for the worker it means achieving a much more sustainable standard of living and boosts much more their response from the psycho-emotional point of view,” says Manel Fernández Jaria, collaborating professor of the Studies of Economics and Business at the UOC and an expert in occupational welfare.
Not only some second homes have become first options. This crisis has also affected the rental price and tourist flats: many have ceased to be so. According to the real estate portal apartments.com, in August the rental price fell significantly compared to the same month last year in cities such as Barcelona, Valencia, Palma and Madrid. In the state capital, for example, it fell 2.67%. Similarly, 20% of the tourist rental offer in Spain has already changed to residential.
Workation, adding work and vacations
Trying to combine teleworking with a healthier lifestyle or a better quality of life has led to what is known as workation. From the sum of work (‘work’) and vacation (‘vacations’), this trend is born that allows remote work to be transferred to more relaxing places than the home itself. From islands to out-of-the-way towns, not only home rental companies, such as Booking, have joined this trend, but some of the world’s largest hotel companies, such as Marriott International, are already offering it. Rooms with facilities and facilities for teleworking, spaces designed to make video calls and a good free Wi-Fi service are some of the changes. Hotels seek to attract employees and senior managers who want to combine telework and pleasure, some also offer home schooling packages to keep children busy while teleworking. “Whenever a problem arises, an opportunity appears: a hotel can offer other alternatives and link work with leisure,” explains Fernández Jaria.
Not only have hotel chains joined, this offer has already been launched by countries such as Barbados and Bermuda, which offer residence visas of up to twelve months to those who want to telecommute from these two Caribbean islands. “It is about reconverting the offer to give way to an increasingly growing demand to be able to work in different spaces with comfort and at the same time close to other people, generating different synergies; This can become an opportunity to see how we can move our business in new directions ”, warns Fernández Jaria.
Teleworking away from home has positive effects
In Spain, for example, the Belvilla firm offers spacious villas in Denia, Jávea or Altea for rent, with an outdoor pool, good views and Wi-Fi. But what is so positive about using second homes as a workspace?
In the first place, it is a way of promoting work tourism. “It consists of using areas that are usually unpopulated and underused, giving them another meaning,” says Fernández Jaria. The second is that the economy is boosted and causes less seasonal work in tourist areas. «And, for the employee, associating work with a pleasant space, linked to quality time or leisure directly influences motivation, the desire to work and the connection with what is being done, and this directly affects productivity ”, explains the expert. In fact, according to a recent Cigna report carried out in different countries including Spain, 79% of workers who telecommute suffer from the always-on syndrome, which coincides with the rise of remote work due to the pandemic. . According to the study, 45% of working Spaniards admit to suffering from work-related stress. “Telecommunications can be a factor of well-being, but it also has edges that can lead to stress and emotional exhaustion as a result of hyperconnection,” says Fernández Jaria, who warns that “learning to work safely, promoting digital disconnection from the company and practicing workation can be a very good strategy to reduce professional and emotional burnout ».
In addition, it can help revitalize emptied Spain. For the expert, “using second homes as a work area may be the first step for these residences to become the first home and thus contribute to a rebalancing of the population in this country.” Currently, 16% of the population lives in rural areas; Between 2000 and 2018, almost 900,000 people left the countryside to move to the cities. “Now we find ourselves in a situation that can cause an important change in the redistribution of the population,” explains Fernández Jaria. “Teleworking can offer us a new model for the redistribution of people, as long as we work to improve connectivity. There is no doubt that working and living in rural areas is much healthier and more sustainable, ”he adds.
“But if the pandemic does not last long, these things will be forgotten and other priorities will come into play, such as transport and connection, because this confinement situation is abnormal,” says Anzano Bergua, an expert on housing.
From Silicon Valley come the coliving
Another of the residential phenomena that are beginning to emerge is coliving, which allows teleworking and sharing that space with other individuals and achieving some leisure and network of contacts. It is a form similar to workation that can be practiced in a hotel but without being alone and where, in addition, professional relationships can be created. In general, a closed rental is offered, a furnished apartment, with flexible dates (allows you to renew the contract month by month) and all expenses and services included (wifi, terrace, swimming pool if you have it), and can be shared from five up to fifty people. In England, Germany or the United States, this model is very established, and it seems to open space in Spain, in Barcelona, Madrid, Játiva, Las Palmas, Fuerteventura, Valencia, Galicia … There are numerous examples of coliving.
This phenomenon emerged in the Silicon Valley area, where many young people came with the intention of starting their technology careers and found it difficult to find affordable housing, so many decided to rent together and became idea laboratories and professional communities.
“It is the effect of a situation of high rent, which causes people to have to emancipate themselves not totally, but with strangers. It is a way of dignifying the situation: the traditional way was done for various affinities, for a trip for work and studies, and now to assume the expenses that one alone cannot assume, especially for the rental park, ”warns Anzano Bergua .
Even so, colivings are described as spaces of community, networking, shared knowledge and professional synergies, something that could be assimilated to collaborative housing (cohousing), although for the expert they are far from each other . “Collaborative housing is another model, it is a cooperative of people and families who live in the same building and have different homes. The property can be in cooperative ownership, assignment or rental, it is clearly social and not speculative. In addition, it is a model of much more stable and permanent stays, in the medium and long term, ”explains Anzano Bergua. Coliving, on the other hand, is practiced for short stays, where a single home that is rented to an owner is shared, with generally younger people (millennials especially) who are digital nomads, with specialized communities and generally in more urban spaces than collaborative homes, which are closer to nature.
Source : portal www. uoc.edu. https://www.uoc.edu/portal/es/news/actualitat/2020/377-workation-coliving-tendencia-laboral-pandemia.html