Work digitally wherever you want – full remote control is becoming increasingly popular

Britt Schimmel (27) immediately admits: she uses many English terms, her favorite being complete remote control, ‘completely at a distance’ – because this is how she will work in the coming years. She enjoyed working at Booking.com for five years as a Learning & Development Project Manager until she decided to resign last May. Reason: she no longer wanted to work in a certain place so she could move to Barcelona.

“At Booking, I have mostly worked at home since the pandemic, and I was allowed to work from abroad for twenty days a year. I have always made full use of that. Last year I was in Italy, this year in Barcelona. But Booking is not a company where you can work fully remotely. If you are employed in Amsterdam, you are expected to work in Amsterdam. And I noticed that I had the ambition to work from abroad and not from my home in Amsterdam.”

Schimmel went looking for companies with a complete distance policy, which gives employees the opportunity to work completely remotely. “I used the Otta job site. There you can simply search for this type of vacancies. At the same time, I followed people on LinkedIn who posted a lot on the subject. So I ended up in a kind of completely distant bubble.”

So I have never met the people I have to work for in person

Application online

Schimmel quickly found what she was looking for. She will soon be working for the Danish company Pleo based in Barcelona. “It’s a medium-sized, fairly young fintech company [digitale financiële dienstverlening]. They are happy that I am in Barcelona. The application also went online. So I’ve never met the people I have to work for in person.”

Schimmel’s Dutch friend lives in Dublin. “Some people ask me: why didn’t you choose Dublin? But I think Barcelona is a nicer city in terms of climate and people. The idea is that in the future he will also work remotely, so that we can sit here together. Or who knows, maybe we’ll go to Lisbon. All this is possible if you work fully remotely.”

Fungi’s mother did not understand much of her decision. “She said, ‘Why are you leaving? You have a good job, stability, a good salary, nice colleagues.’ But I guess it’s really a generational thing. Firmness and stability do not ensure personal growth, in my opinion. I think it’s good to look further: there are so many big companies that are growing. Yes, my parents had to get used to it, but now they fully support me.”

Schimmel is not afraid of missing out on personal contact with colleagues. She plans to have a lot of digital “non-business conversations” with colleagues: chat or video calls and chat about things other than work. In other words: the online equivalent of chatting at the coffee machine. In addition, the Danish company arranges a physical meeting for employees somewhere in Europe every three months. And she gets a four-day introduction at the head office in Copenhagen.

Britt’s home workplace in Barcelona.
Photo Anna Surinyach

coworking with swimming pool

In Barcelona, ​​Schimmel is now looking for one coworkinglocation, an office space that you share with other remote workers and freelancers. “I get a budget for this from my new employer. I like to work from home for a few days. Then you really want to get out the door. It’s nice to go somewhere else and connect with people. I have heard that it is very beautiful there coworking is in Barcelona. There’s even one with a swimming pool.”

Also read: ‘Working from abroad is not a holiday’

Doesn’t it feel a bit strange: As a Dutchman, you work in Barcelona for a Danish company, while your friend lives in Dublin? No, says Schimmel with conviction. “I actually like it. This allows me to do what makes me happy. Finally, I also see my colleagues face-to-face, but not every day. Is not necessary. And how would this negatively affect my work? I do not believe in nine to five working in an office where people sit out their time until they can go home. Usually you are only productive for four hours anyway. If I’ve had a few meetings in the morning, I might prefer to work out. Then I go back to work with fresh energy. That way I am much more productive. And I think a nice, sunny city like Barcelona makes me happier and therefore more productive. For me, it is the new way of working.”

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