We moved Proxyclick's main office from Belgium to Spain for just 3 days... Why? Simply because it's possible! Living and working in the 21st century allows for such flexibility.
So on November 23rd our team of 15 left our office in Brussels to move to Barcelona.
We even took a film crew with us to share our little adventure, you can watch the video here:
Barcelona, here we come!
Digital nomadism becomes the new norm
The world of work is changing. The shackles of a traditional “place to work” have been broken.
Working from anywhere is already a reality for many freelancers. This trend is also increasingly influencing SMEs and business units of larger corporations.
Millennials have entered the workforce and have already made their mark. Among other things they bring a sense of global mobility that was unknown to their parents at that age.
The new world of work coupled with agile movement has brought out new leadership styles and the rise of the sharing economy which cannot be ignored anymore.
And new technology helps make all of this possible.
It's hardly surprising that co-working spaces pop-up like flowers in cities around the world. I even came across a London hub that provides co-living spaces next to co-working for their digital nomads.
Putting the idea to the test
The idea to relocate to Barcelona for three days arose quite spontaneously. Ivan, one of our team members had recently moved there and we all wanted to visit.
The destination was decided.
We set the date and booked the flights, the hotel and a co-working space in the heart of the city.
Most importantly however, was that we could stay well connected with our client-base and prospects while abroad.
To ensure this, we downloaded a VoIP app on our cell phones to transfer all calls before leaving Brussels. In addition, it allowed us to make calls as if we were in the office.
Our packing list was short: smartphones, laptops and an iPad for demos.
Only our Head of Operations, Geoffroy, had slightly more luggage. He brought a badge printer just in case we needed to do some trouble-shooting.
We were ready to go.
Six things we learned
1. Work efficiency challenge
I have to admit that our work efficiency in Barcelona was a bit lower than in Brussels, where we have ideal working conditions.
Working with a view
We were all just so excited living our new adventure and busy exploring our co-working space (Betahaus). It came with a rooftop terrace and a view over the city!
Once the excitement settled and we choose our desks for the day, we got back to our normal pace.
Our phones were already set up to handle support calls.
We used our live chat as usual. If we happened not to be at our laptops, we used our smartphones to chat directly with our leads and customers.
Apart from a good Internet connection, all we really needed to be fully operational was conveniently on the cloud.
Co-working in Barcelona
Not only is our product cloud-based, but so are the various apps and tools we use.
Project management, internal/external communication or simple activities such as uploading a new blog post are done the same way in both Brussels and Barcelona.
The only noticeable difference from our Brussels office was that the daily developer stand-up meeting happened to be outside on the terrace in the warm sun.
2. Sense of freedom
Traveling or relocating, just like any other form of change is exhilarating. We've heard and read a lot about digital nomads in the last few years.
However, to just pack our bags and do it because we can, was empowering.
We felt a sense of adventure and freedom, and we loved it.
3. Soaking in a different culture
Another benefit of our work-from-anywhere experiment in Barcelona was to experience the Spanish way to live and work.
So we started the day a little bit later than usual, which lead to a late lunch and we finished the day later as well.
We also got to meet GetApp, a well-known Barcelona-based business apps directory where Proxyclick is listed. They enjoy a Tapas & Beer get-together every Friday before heading home. Is there anything better than tapas and beers to unite a Spanish and a Belgian startup? :-)
Thank you GetApp for hosting us and giving us a feel of true Barcelonian office culture.
4. New perspective and people
We really enjoyed sharing a co-working space with other co-workers. From digital nomads and local freelancers to young start-ups, it was an inspiring atmosphere.
We had the chance to talk to some of them and it was truly interesting to listen to their stories and ideas. You could feel it in the air; all the good stuff got done there.
5. Contentment through flexibility
Knowing that "working from anywhere" works for our company, it gives us as a team the flexibility to match our work commitments with our current life situation.
We feel it leads to higher employee happiness and productivity.
6. Team building
Last but not least, sharing this unique experience in Barcelona definitely brought our team closer together. We shared lots of laughter, and even more tapas :-)
When we finally left for Brussels we were reminded that, no matter how high we set the bar, our team can achieve anything…as long as we work together.
End result: A successful experiment
Our short-term move to Barcelona has shown us that working from anywhere on Earth does not have to remain an aspiration for the future.
In the 21st century it is a living reality for many companies and their employees. It is not only doable, but it can be easy and fun. This earlier blog post shares 7+1 ways to tell if your company lives in the 21st century.
Back in Brussels, we’ve already started talking about our next possible destination for 2017. A chalet in the Swiss Alps? A remote villa on a Greek island? A beach house in Mexico?...
Welcome to the new (and agile) world of work!