While not all companies can integrate telecommuting into their organization, some like ISeeU, based in downtown Perpignan, prove that it is viable, but the model has limits.
Created in 2009 and managed by Julien Gauthier, ISeeU is a development studio for mobile applications, websites and back-offices as CRM (customer relationship management) tools.
“While our entire team is based in France, our customers are split between mainland France, Spain, Switzerland, England and Belgium.highlights Julien Gauthier, whose workforce (12 employees in total) is 50% teleworking. Covid has had an impact on business life. Video conferences have developed with our customers, we no longer have to go to Paris every week like our employees do.”
One of my collaborators lives in Ille-sur-Têt. For him, telecommuting is synonymous with time savings and now savings.
However, the young leader had his first teleworking experience with a graphic designer before the health crisis. “Trained in L’Idem in Soler, she first resigned to join her companion in Rennes. Pleased with his abilities, I asked him to reflect and see if together we could find a solution to continue our collaboration. She accepted and comes regularly to Perpignanhe explains. I am fully aware that it is easier for me to establish telework because our jobs are based on intellectual service and creativity..”
ISeeU telecommuters are mainly based in Rennes, Toulouse, but also not far from Perpignan. “One of my collaborators lives in Ille-sur-Têt. For him, telecommuting is synonymous with saving time and now saving money since the high price of gasoline.specifies Julien Gauthier.
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New cost centers that benefit the local economy
The company has has equipped its employees with laptops since its inception. “The idea was to allow them to work from wherever they wanted. The implementation of teleworking led us to create tools: internal video messaging software, a video room that allows us to maintain an almost physical connection. This forces us all to be more rigorous in the exchanges and to develop work in project mode in order to have traceability and guarantee the follow-up, explains the leader. If the implementation of these tools required little investment in the end, the company must assume other cost centers. We bring in the farthest remote workers once a month and take care of the train ticket, hotel and catering. Thus, we participate in the maintenance or even the development of the local economy.
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A competitive advantage to keep
While the territory extols the quality of life, one might ask why employees choose telecommuting after all? “The main obstacle is often the lack of employment for the spouse locallyexplains Julien Gauthier. In addition to the quality of life, the territory has another advantage. Commercial premises rents and salaries are not on par with Paris. This is a competitive advantage for our companies as we are able to charge for services at a lower level. But this has its limits. I’m not sure I can recruit anyone, anywhere, with equal skills, at the risk of having to raise my fees. It wouldn’t affect our new customers, but it would affect the loyalty of our old ones.”
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If for the time being the entrepreneur does not intend to change premises, “they are calibrated to accommodate our current staff. If tomorrow we grow, the question of an office for everyone or teleworking will arise”, he points. The director’s reflection is also at the center of the reflections of commercial real estate agents who are waiting to see how this new organizational trend will evolve, supported by the issue of land sobriety.
“I observe what is being done at the Cité Digitale in Soler. This concept, which offers a true ecosystem dedicated to the digital and creative industry, extends to hosting companies in the sector, offering adequate facilities, completes Julien Gauthier, who is a member of the Pôle Action Média cluster that started Cité Digitale alongside local and state authorities. However, my colleagues and I who work at the company’s headquarters in Perpignan, go on foot, by bicycle or by scooter. Cité Digitale is certainly served by the TER train, but the number of current frequencies does not meet the expectations of companies. We would need rates identical to the RER, which would be more suited to the pace of a company. But maybe that will change with the rising cost of energy. !”.
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