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Members of the e.near Family were invited to reflect on what the future holds. One thing is clear: many things won’t be like they used to before the pandemic.

The way companies organise their work, events & meeting changed. More than ever before, meetings are online, a bedroom might now be an office & a team might never have been together physically. But will things stay as they are? Or will they go back as they used to? Or, for instance, will the future be different & completely new? 

We talked with Inês Malheiro (CEO), Maria João Barata (HR), Alejandro Quesada (Desktop Publisher) Shafik Mahomad (Sales) and Alexander Neves (Sales) to know how they see the future of business. Let’s discover what they foresee for e.near & other nearshore software development companies, but not only.

The way work is organised will change

Inês Malheiro, e.near’s CEO believes that what we imagine when we think about an office will not be the same. “The whole concept of an office will change”, foresees the CEO. She’s probably right. Probably even most office spaces will be redesigned after this. The way communications happen or how events are organised will change too. Companies like e.near, which don’t need everyone at the office to get the work done, might be on the edge of this shift.

“We were thinking about a 4-day work week right before Covid-19 hit us. It wasn’t something for the short-term, but now the whole concept of the office changed forever. The future will have less physical places, and telework will be kept”, foresees the e.near’s CEO.

Read our blog post about The Challenges of Home Working.

Hybrid options for a more inclusive job market

Woman in a wheelchair working“The pandemic anticipated emerging tendencies” explains Maria João. The future might be hybrid, and therefore, more inclusive. We might have the nearshore concept applied to the labour market worldwide. People working at the offices, others from co-working facilities, and others from their houses. This flexibility will probably improve workers’ quality of life, decrease the amount of time spent in commutes, and reduce pollution.

But best of all, it will most certainly help people with disabilities get jobs they might have to struggle to access. “In a way, it is great. It gives a much needed extra flexibility so that everyone can be included: from people living far from the office, to disabled workers”, explains Maria João, one of our recruiters. Working remotely enhances their accessibility to various companies and positions. And hopefully, the willingness of companies to open doors to their talent will increase too. 

An even bigger need to think outside the box  

“Regarding potential new clients, the whole sales process from scheduling an introduction meeting to finally closing a deal has not changed at all”, reminds Alexander Neves, our Business Manager. That’s because we’ve always worked with International clients that usually couldn’t be met in person on the first few contacts. 

Shafik Mahomad, as part of the sales department, believes online networking will grow a lot after this. He foresees an increase in the number of online and innovative events. For Alejandro Quesada, Desktop Publisher, although he enjoys teleworking, he acknowledges the benefits provided by the conditions available at the office, such as “large tables, large screens, the terrace, the air conditioning, etc.”. So he foresees that “a perfect balance would always be a mixture between both”.

“Changes, effort, resilience” are characteristics that define a whole lot of what Sales are about. We definitely succeeded. I am sure the Sales Department has only good reasons to be stronger in the future.

Alexander Neves

An even bigger need to think outside the box  

IT recruitment was hard before the pandemic. But now it is probably harder than ever. (Read what our HR team said about the subject here) The recruitment process didn’t change. “There’s no difference in the way interviews are conducted. We interviewed candidates using video-call before all this” explains Maria João, one of our IT recruiters. 

The real problem is that the IT recruitment world was facing many challenges even before the pandemic. “Companies will have to innovate, they will have to come up with new recruitment methods.” In fact, that’s one of the things e.near has been putting a lot of efforts into. Reaching the highest talents is essential for us.

Work model staff survey - 50 per cent hybrid, 48 per cent remote and 2 per cent office.

But how was e.near before Covid-19?

As most companies, even having technology and innovation-based business, we were used to office life. Different teams would see each other and people would bond. “Our days used to begin with the ‘Daily Stand-up Meetings’”, Shafik Mahomad, Business Developer, refers. Each team would gather around their project board and every element would talk about their work. “And we always had some joyful moments, someone would tell a joke and so on”, he adds. The whole concept of an office will change. Inês Malheiro CEO e.near

On top of that, events and gatherings were part of our DNA. We used to throw big parties to celebrate events like our anniversary or Christmas. Team building activities where we had fun together and awesome technology events were a reality we had taken for granted.

Not that we weren’t used to remote working – we were. Some of us would have flexible work hours regularly. Others would work from home whenever they needed to. But it was all about being able to adapt to our employees’ needs. We believe everyone loved the office – the spirit and culture we fostered from our time there.

Shafik explains how the open-space architecture of the office and the daily tasks implied movement: “After the Daily Stand-up meeting, people would begin their daily tasks. For me, the routine changed according to each project stage.” But it always meant being with colleagues, interacting with them and moving around different spaces. Now he sits at his desk and that’s it. Home office means less movement and the total loss of office micro-interactions.

In fact, it was not only about e.near’s employees. As part of the Connect Enterprises group, other companies share the same building. Shafik tells us about how everyone from the whole group would meet in some areas. “For instance, by the coffee machine we could always share some thoughts with others”, he tells us. The scullery area is another place where colleagues from the whole Connect Enterprises group would gather up. 

e.near is working as a nearshore services provider for a long time now. Everyone was used to working remotely to some degree. We have teams working for clients in diverse countries. But still, we’ve always seen our office in Lisbon as the happy physical place of this company. We now have a fair number of collaborators who have only been at the office on their first day. Most of them have never met their colleagues face to face. However, the e.near Family is as near as always

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