When you think of the rural environment, you may have predefined images, situations or clichés in your mind, such as isolation, lack of services or depopulation. This is something normal that has been culturally constructed this way since many people were forced to move to the cities in search of job opportunities years ago. You can expand on this idea with this article from Europa Press Data: Empty Spain: depopulation in Spain, data and statistics.
If we add the concept of teleworking to the equation, the situation is even more complex. Although there are regulations such as the 'Startup Law' or the 'Digital Nomad Visa', there is still a long way to go.
If we analyse the most recent data, we can see that only (approximately) 10% of the working population in Spain teleworks in 2022 and although it has doubled since 2019, it is still a very small number to suppose a 'migratory revolution' towards rural environments.
In addition to this, there is a generalised unwillingness among many companies in Spain to allow their employees to 'telework one hundred per cent', establishing, in many cases, hybrid formulas that prevent many people from leaving the cities for good.
But where there are challenges, there are opportunities, and perhaps one of the opportunities ahead of us is to help rural environments with those entrepreneurs, or teleworkers, who currently reside in EU countries and want to establish themselves in Spain.
After the exceptional situation experienced as a result of COVID-19, there has been, at least in some parts of Spain, a change in several ways:
- More awareness of people in terms of quality of life, prioritising connection with nature and living in less congested environments.
- Acceptance of increased “isolation” for health benefits or to have a quieter place to live as a family.
- Infrastructure improvements, especially in terms of connectivity and Internet (installation and speed).
- Movements by some towns, provinces or destinations to make an “appeal” to young people to settle in the municipality.
- Private initiatives that are promoting entrepreneurship or teleworking from rural environments.
- Opening of coliving, coworking or hub spaces.
These are some examples of the actions that are favouring mobility to the rural environment and a way to generate a “call effect” towards it.
The experience of Pueblos Remotos
Working at the countryside conscientiously is one of the challenges and missions we have from Pueblos Remotos, and although it is true that our goal is not to fix population in rural areas, we can say that our experiences have served as a 'test' for many of our participants to know how it is to telework from a rural environment.
From Pueblos Remotos we generate experiences for teleworkers in the countryside. Such experiences have a duration of twenty-one days, and we provide them with a differential value, since we unite teleworkers with local actors (businessmen, entrepreneurs, artisans, etc.) of the rural environment.
We work with these local actors in order to co-design all the experiences, so we can provide them a completely different affair.
What we intend is to generate a positive and direct impact that lasts over time and closes a much stronger bond of teleworkers with the environment.
Hasta el momento hemos desarrollado 3 experiencias: Pueblos Remotos Icod, Pueblos Remotos Antigua and Pueblos Remotos Fuencaliente. And right now, we are acting as facilitators of ‘The Break’, a European Union project organized by the Escuela de Organización Industrial and Impact Hub Madrid.
For more information about our activity in the rural environments in which we act and the new projects that we are going to launch, you can consult our website: Pueblos Remotos.
Article written by Carlos Jonay Suárez Co-founder and Head of Digital Strategy of Pueblos Remotos in collaboration with RemotEU.