Nomad or Nomad Not: Is Albania Ready to Lead the Remote Work Revolution?

Nomad or Nomad Not: Is Albania Ready to Lead the Remote Work Revolution?

Introduction: The Past Meets the Present

A year ago, as I disembarked in Tirana, Albania, it struck me that I was stepping into a world misunderstood by many. The rhetoric surrounding Albania often conjured images more suitable for a crime thriller than a potential haven for digital nomads. However, the story has taken a radical turn in just a year, and I’ve been fortunate to witness and even partake in this transformation.

My Ringside Seat to Change

In the last 12 months, Albania has gone from being a question mark on the map to a topic of discussion in digital nomad circles. From my various roles—advising on the digital nomad visa, experimenting with a pop-up nomad village in Vlora, and being a part of different entrepreneurial ecosystems—I’ve been able to see the nation not just adapt, but evolve.

The Adaptability Quotient

In a short span, Albania has demonstrated an uncanny ability to respond to the needs of its ever-growing international community. To illustrate this point, let’s talk about coffee—something digital nomads consume in industrial quantities. A year ago, you’d have been hard-pressed to find cafes offering plant-based milk. Today, oat milk lattes are as common as the delicious traditional burek (okay, almost 🙂). It’s a small but telling sign of how quickly the country can adapt.

The New Frontier: Vlora’s Digital Nomad Village

One of the most compelling attributes of Albania for digital nomads is the nation’s tapestry of smaller cities, each imbued with its own unique flavor and opportunities. Coupled with the seasonality of bustling tourist destinations for only a few months a year, Albania poses an intriguing problem and opportunity. Many smaller cities in the country face declining populations, in part due to a significant brain drain, which makes Albania one of the most affected regions in Europe in this regard. Yet, paradoxically, this challenge is what makes Albania particularly alluring for the nomad community.

I had the unique opportunity to be part of establishing the first (pop-up) digital nomad village in Vlora. It was a great learning curve, understanding what it takes and what is still needed to establish a village successfully. I’ll give you a hint it goes way beyond merely installing high-speed Wi-Fi or adapting spaces to cater for co-working.

Now, why is the idea of smaller cities and seasonality so important here? Much like Madeira Island in Portugal, where I’ve spent a considerable amount of time, Albania offers diverse locales that can cater to different “categories” of nomads. Whether you’re a mountain-lover or a beach bum, prefer the hustle and bustle of a city or the serenity of a lakeside retreat, Albania’s geographical diversity accommodates you—all often within a one to two-hour drive from one another.

Moreover, the concept of seasonality can turn into a significant advantage. Take the example of Bansko in Bulgaria—a winter wonderland that transforms into a digital nomad hotspot during off-season months. Similarly, many tourist areas in Albania could follow suit, capitalizing on the six to nine months of the year when the tourists are away to become year-round destinations for digital nomads. Imagine towns bustling in the summer with vacationers, but from autumn to spring, these same places could be teeming with digital nomads, working from cafes or co-working spaces set amid a backdrop of natural beauty.

The Digital Nomad Visa: Not Just Another Policy

When Albania rolled out its digital nomad visa, it wasn’t just a signal to the world; it was a promise to build a sustainable ecosystem for remote work. Having provided input and feedback during the early stages of this visa, it’s heartening to see the government taking tangible steps toward a flexible, yet stable, framework for digital nomadism.

The Community: The Soul of Nomadism

Community is the cornerstone of any thriving digital nomad destination. Sure, nomads are initially attracted by the beautiful beaches and natural landscapes. But what makes them stay? A sense of belonging. To become more than just a pit stop for digital nomad tourists, Albania needs to focus on community-building efforts. These efforts need to be strategic and tailored to the unique characteristics of nomads, who are not mere tourists. And this leads us to a vital question: Is Albania ready for it?

This is about more than just populating co-working spaces or organizing weekly social events. It’s about understanding the unique needs of digital nomads, who are not tourists in the traditional sense. In a rapidly globalizing world, good food, scenic backdrops, and affordable living are not enough to make people stay. There has to be a sense of community, of belonging.

The “Great But” Phenomenon

The overwhelming feedback I’ve gathered resonates with a recurring theme: “It’s great, but…” It seems Albania still has some homework to do, especially when it comes to community building. While the country has made commendable strides in attracting digital nomads, retaining them is the next big challenge.

The Path Forward: Retaining the Nomad

With an influx of countries rolling out digital nomad visas, the competition to attract this mobile workforce is fiercer than ever. And here lies the crux: While we’ve successfully created the frameworks, the next step is to populate these frameworks with lived experiences. The focus should now shift from policies to people. This is not just the government’s task but a collective endeavor for all stakeholders involved, including nomads themselves.

Conclusion: A Journey, Not a Destination

So, where does Albania go from here? The work is far from done, but the course is set. I remain optimistic as part of a collective effort to elevate Albania’s status as a go-to destination for digital nomads. The country has moved past the stage of mere potential—it’s time for actualization.

As someone who has seen the commitment and resources being directed toward making this dream a reality, I’m hopeful for what another year of concerted effort can bring to this beautiful country.

The Evolution of Work-Life Balance: The Emergence of the Minimalist Migrant

The Evolution of Work-Life Balance: The Emergence of the Minimalist Migrant

Over the years, I’ve often explored the concept of the 25-hour workweek. This radical departure from conventional work schedules is not just a distant dream, but a reality for many, largely due to advancements in productivity and digital nomadism. This journey from a grueling 60-hour workweek to a more balanced 25-hour one required specific tools, techniques, and a significant mindset shift. Two vital catalysts for this transition were location independence and minimalism. These principles have transformed my work-life dynamics and also shaped a new class of digital workers – The Minimalist Migrants.

Today, we’ll examine how these principles intersect to form a new paradigm that advocates for work-life harmony. We’ll delve into the burgeoning movement of digital minimalism, illuminating the path to a more balanced and fulfilling life. We will uncover the strategies, insights, and philosophies of the Minimalist Migrant, and explore how this unique approach can also benefit you.

Defining the New Digital Nomad – The Minimalist Migrant

An evolving breed of workers is emerging amid the modern technological revolution – the Minimalist Migrants. These digital nomads adopt minimalism to create a lifestyle that harmoniously blends work, travel, and life. They leverage technology, location independence, and minimalist living to reduce their work hours and enhance the quality of their lives. They’ve transcended the traditional definitions of work-life balance, opting instead for a new work-life harmony.

Why Minimalism?

Minimalism plays an instrumental role in this paradigm shift. In a world obsessed with consumption, minimalism offers a respite. It teaches us to prioritize experiences over material possessions, leading to a significant reduction in financial stress and fostering an inimitable sense of freedom and lightness.

How Does Minimalism Support the 25-Hour Work Week?

By simplifying life and reducing material needs, minimalism enables us to lessen our financial burdens and subsequently work less. When combined with the opportunities digital work and location independence present, the 25-hour workweek becomes an achievable goal rather than an elusive dream.

Adopting minimalism may sound challenging, but here are five practical areas to begin with:

  1. Housing: Do you genuinely need a large house or an apartment in an expensive city? Consider downsizing or moving to a more affordable location.
  2. Transportation: Reevaluate whether owning a car is necessary, especially if you live in a city with good public transportation or frequently change locations.
  3. Clothing: Keep only the clothing items you really need and use. You might be surprised at how few items you regularly wear.
  4. Technology: Streamline your devices. If your phone, tablet, and laptop all serve the same purpose, consider consolidating.
  5. Personal Items: From jewelry to books to knickknacks, discard things that don’t serve a purpose or bring joy. Pare down to the essentials.

Focusing on these areas can help you make significant strides towards adopting a minimalist lifestyle.

The Impact on Mental Health and Productivity

The Minimalist Migrants aren’t solely about reducing work hours or living with less. Their lifestyle has a substantial positive impact on mental health. By working fewer hours, they can maintain a balanced lifestyle, which includes regular exercise, proper rest, and time for hobbies and relationships. This not only enhances their quality of life but also boosts productivity during their work hours.

Survival or Evolved Living?

The advent of COVID-19 led to a reshaping of businesses, business models, client acquisition strategies, and most importantly, a reevaluation of our needs. My discovery that the money I had saved for a few months in Australia could sustain me for years in parts of Europe led me to question how minimalism and location independence intersect.

Minimalist Philosophy Meets Nomadic Life

Minimalism is about living with less and embracing simplicity. It involves reducing possessions, generally to the essentials, thus eliminating distractions and creating more space to focus on experiences without the need for material goods. This realization made me reflect on the true value of things and how our expenses can often trap us in jobs we may not even enjoy.

Location Independence as an Enabler

Location independence and minimalism have emerged as powerful tools that can afford the cushion of time needed to self-reflect and figure out life’s wants. They allow for creating a buffer to invest time in forging your own path instead of being confined by a fixed structure.

Turning Crisis into Opportunity

Let’s consider an example: I coached an individual from Denmark who dreamt of launching his health and wellness consulting business. He realized that his savings could help him establish his business in a country with a lower cost of living, such as Romania. This strategic shift extended his financial runway to 15 months, giving him the confidence and security to build his business without the constant threat of exhausting his funds.

Minimalism – A Tool, Not a Rule

Minimalism doesn’t necessarily mean discarding all possessions and living with the bare minimum. It’s not a prescriptive set of rules; rather, it’s a mindset that encourages conscious consumption. It’s about reassessing what truly matters to you. Now a successful international coach, this individual enjoys a fulfilling and enriched life, traveling with intention and purpose.

In Conclusion

The Minimalist Migrants represent a growing movement of individuals leveraging digital technologies, minimalism, and location independence to redefine work-life balance and embrace work-life harmony. They illustrate how it’s possible to work less, live more, and still be successful and productive in the modern world. Their lifestyle invites us to question traditional norms and explore


Did you enjoy reading the article? If yes, feel free to follow me for more. Most of my content is published on LinkedIn, follow me there for more. My book: The Great Shift, available on all Amazon stores, explores these concepts in more detail. If you have trouble purchasing it, don’t hesitate to reach out.

At the core, I help leaders, founders, and solopreneurs on their path to high performance while achieving work-life harmony. I do so through one-on-one coaching and mentoring, training courses, and speaking engagements.

If you’re interested in learning more, please reach out. I’d love to help.

The Future of Digital Nomadism Unplugged: Charting New Courses Through Uncharted Waters

The Future of Digital Nomadism Unplugged: Charting New Courses Through Uncharted Waters

As the digital nomad wave swells, we find ourselves caught up in a fascinating conundrum. How do we dissect and define the modern digital nomad?

New Kids on the Block – Meet the Digital Nomad Tourist

Now, people toss around the term ‘Digital Nomad’ like confetti at a parade. But here’s the kicker – we’re looking at an immensely diverse tribe. The academic panel at the Nomad Fest in Bansko, got me thinking. Several definitions of the term Digital Nomad were presented and discussed. That offered a striking revelation, while most people would define me as a Digital Nomad, even I was struggling to define me as such depending on the definition offered.

I have noticed that as the movement is growing the differences between the “tribes of nomads” are also becoming bigger.

Here is a new one emerging. Meet the ‘Digital Nomad Tourist,’ the 9-to-5er who doesn’t cut ties with a fixed location but flirts with the nomad lifestyle at festivals and retreats. Are they truly digital nomads? Or just curious cats looking for a taste of adventure?

Bye-Bye Tourist Hubs, Hello Uncharted Territories

COVID-19, the unexpected game-changer, forced digital nomads to adapt to survive. There was a need to stay in places that “felt safer”. A lot of tourist destinations that suffered from the lockdown and travel restrictions, suddenly became an option as they reduced the prices and looked at nomads as a solution to their challenges. These usually crowded places, become viable options to form a home base. A year after, as these restrictions have been sustainably lifted in most geographies and these tourist hubs are going back to their routes, will they turn their back to Nomads? And will Nomads turn their back on them?

Here’s the surprising twist – the movement is going back to their routes. Nomads are back to their routes, hunting for less crowded, lesser-known rural areas, undiscovered places, and new nomadic sanctuaries. And I’m not talking about beach huts and jungle hideouts – think of Morocco, South Italy, South Albania, Bulgaria… In short, areas where tourism is sparse, and the living, is authentic.

Legal Channels & Digital Nomads: A Match Made in Heaven?

Professionalism and legislation are finally finding their place in the digital nomad’s world. Countries are recognizing this nomadic workforce, offering dedicated visas, and greasing the wheels of the bureaucratic machine. As much as nomads love freedom, nobody enjoys wading through a legal quagmire. Contrary to popular beliefs, not many like the grey area. A defined legal framework? Bring it on!

Not only, legal though. We are seeing the movement becoming more professional overall, hence more and more professional service providers are entering the market. What will that mean for the movement? Well, for starters, more solutions and more competition. Not a bad thing per se. As a consequence, however, a lot of early providers will have to step up their game to stay relevant. A clear example is conference and retreat organizers. As there are more and more of them, it’s no longer acceptable to deliver average events… Is our “world” ready for a shake-up?

From Moving Places to Building Spaces

The digital nomad life isn’t just about flitting from place to place anymore. It’s about shifting gears – we’re now moving between communities.

Anyone that has experienced the nomadic lifestyle knows, it can take some time to “adjust and arrive” at a new destination. A couple of years ago I coined the term, “Frequent Living Places”. That’s where the sweet spot is – locations that feel like home, where one doesn’t need time to adjust. We’re slowing down, not because we’re tired, but because we’re smart. We’re choosing to spend more time in fewer places, embedding ourselves in local communities, and living, not just passing through. That means bye-bye to 12 places in a year and welcome to two, or three frequent living places combined with two, or three new places a year.

What are your frequent living places?

Riding Solo? Nah, Let’s Tribe Up!

One of the quotes that my peer Goncalo is best known for is: Nomads travel between communities. Well, Nomads are seeking a sense of belonging, of being part of a tribe. We are seeing the rise of a new era.

Ever experienced loneliness as a nomad? Working alone can be tough. It’s easy to feel isolated, to get lost in loneliness. The answer? Traveling in tribes. From nomad tribes to businesses offering group travel experiences, we’re looking for connections, for shared experiences. Sounds primitive? Maybe. But it’s in our nature and what makes us human.

I am calling it first: Digital Nomad communities will travel between Digital Nomad communities.

Stripping the Glamour: Beyond the Instagram Filters

In a world obsessed with highlight reels, the digital nomad life is often mistaken for a perpetual vacation. Here’s a reality check – it’s far from it. The grind is real, and the hustle is relentless. It’s not just about managing the endless work; it’s also about staying mentally agile and fighting the FOMO. It’s time we bust the biggest myth about digital nomadism. Here’s the unvarnished truth – many of us are on the brink of burnout. Behind the envy-inducing Instagram posts are countless hours of work, sleepless nights, and an unrelenting hustle. Striking the right balance is more crucial than ever – it’s not all rainbows and unicorns, folks.

A new dawn

In short, the future of digital nomadism is as intriguing as it is challenging. As we adapt and evolve, we’re not just changing where we work, but how we live, grow, and connect. Welcome to the brave new world of digital nomadism!


Did you enjoy reading the article? If yes, feel free to follow me for more. Most of my content is published on LinkedIn, follow me there for more. I have also recently published my book: The Great Shift. It’s available on all Amazon stores, as an ebook or paperback copy. If you are still struggling to purchase it, reach out. I’ll be happy to assist.

At a core, I help leaders, founders, and solopreneurs on their path to a high-performance whilst achieving work-life harmony. We do so through one on one coaching and mentoring, training courses, and speaking engagements.

If you wish to learn more about it, feel free to reach out. I’d love to help.

The 25 Hour Workweek

The 25 Hour Workweek

When I tell people I work 25 hours a week, they look at me skeptically: “How can you manage a business working part-time only?” or “I couldn’t do that, I love working too much”.

Funny enough, I love what I do more than ever. 

It so happens I do.

Let me elaborate on this. 

In most countries, the workweek is around 35 to 40 hours a week, so around 8 hours a day, 5 days a week.

Now looking at the 25-hour workweek, that means 10 to 15 hours less per week. That makes it 3 hours less per day, so 5 hours of work per day when working for 5 days a week.

What does this mean in terms of work productivity?

The more working time you have, the more space left for distractions, and the more time you spend on pointless tasks. It becomes easier to get sidetracked and lose focus.

The challenges here are to project manage your own time and use your efforts strategically.

Better manage your to-do list

So why do so many people struggle with managing their week? There are several reasons, the easiest one is that “we have always done it that way”. Another one has to do with the journey of leaders, still today, some leaders adopt a parenting style, rather than a coaching and mentoring one. Putting out fires rather than coming up with long-term solutions.

Here’s a simple exercise to begin with.

Look at your list of tasks for today and predict how much time you need to allocate to each of them. Make a note as you go through your day of the things you have completed, and of any distractions and breaks you took. At the end of the day, reassess that list and note down which tasks you effectively completed and how long it took you to do them. Be honest with yourself.

After that, have a look at the things you do every day, which one of them are things that it makes a difference if you do them? Are these things that you love, you excel at? The mantra for me we should be spending 80% of our time doing things that we excel at. Unfortunately in the past, that wasn’t always the case for me. More than that, when I look around at my peers, I see a lot of them also struggling and sinking into tasks that shouldn’t be on their plate in the first place. 

Here is a couple of questions I ask myself on a frequent basis when evaluating tasks I do. 

Does it add value to the business?

Will it make a difference if it’s done by me? 

Will I be quicker, more efficient? 

Is this the best use of my time? 

Is it a one-off or a repeat task?

Do I like doing it?

Is there potential for growth? 

The tasks that really make a difference, impact the business, and can only be done by you should be at the top of your list. If you focus those 5 hours a day on completing these tasks, at the end of the week your performance will have peaked.

We often prioritize tasks that are the most pleasurable or interesting for us instead of really focusing on those that will bring the best results for the business. It’s only natural that we are this selfish when we have to spend many hours working. Pleasurable and interesting activities, however, keep us engaged and energized. Hence this is questionable but not the worst situation. The opposite, however, is. I am talking about taking up a lot of our time for repetitive tasks, not our strengths.

This, in exchange, makes people want to be as effective as possible with their time, understand the business better, know and use their strengths, hunt for opportunities to be successful, and drive value by submitting high-quality work.

When I did this exercise with a CEO a few months ago and analyzed where his time was spent, we realized that out of his 80+ hour work week in the best scenario, he spent 15 hours doing things that he is good at and passionate about, and that makes a difference if he makes them.

Understandable we won’t always be in the position to remove tasks from our task list immediately, especially if we are working within a corporate setting. But it will give us a a guide, an understanding, even a goal maybe. If you have the possibility to use your entrepreneurial spirit , figure out how to best remove those tasks from your to do list. Is it by the use of technology? Maybe you can outsource it, maybe a colleague is better suited and interested to preforme. It might be their opportunity for growth.

Use technology to your advantage

The current development of time-saving technology allows for people to take over more creative and strategic tasks, rather than manual administration processes that used to consume most of their working time. Think about the tools and technology that can actually help you reduce working hours.

To create this article I’m personally using one time-hacking tool, Otter, a voice transcribing tool. That’s where I record most of my content to create the first draft of my blog posts. It allows me to simply record my thoughts and ideas when I feel the most inspired, sparing me a good half an hour organizing my thoughts into topics and then writing everything down. 

Effectively divide work in your team

Reducing your workweek time also demands something that many leaders and teams don’t often consider: to better distribute work considering the talents and skills of your people. Some of the tasks I did were extremely tiresome and time-consuming for me, as they were not my strengths, nor I enjoyed doing them. Hence, they have now been delegated to better-skilled team members that can more easily and rapidly complete them.

So work productivity does not equal the number of hours you spend in front of a computer. It’s about how much you get done in the shortest amount of time.

And while it sounds quite simple, it does require you to:

– set up the work environment that’s more adjusted to the task at hand (to avoid distractions or to gain inspiration)

– identify which work habits take your focus away (frequent breaks, checking up emails and messages frequently, social media)

– understand which lifestyle habits prevent you from being focused (unhealthy food, lack of exercise and hydration and bad sleep patterns for example)

I believe that every person should treat themselves like a high-performance athlete. You’re in fact a corporate athlete, and with that, comes all the responsibilities and demands.

High productivity requires preparation and time

Now, achieving high productivity requires the right mindset as well as soft and hard skills training. It’s a process, it won’t happen overnight and there’s a learning curve before you feel you have reached cruising speed or stabilized.

I have invested time in developing the necessary skills, and I would say that on an average day today, I’ll get twice as much done compared to what I used to. 

Moreover, my work is much more valuable than it used to be for the business. And the 25-hour work week keeps me sharp and focused on the things that I know make a difference.

Be flexible when meeting the business needs

You are not obligated to do 25 hours every week only and guarantee that you don’t go beyond or beneath it.

Some weeks require more time investment from me than others and that’s absolutely natural. It is always possible to balance it out later. When you set a weekly number of hours, it should act more as a guide, not a rule.

My weekly work nowadays encompasses coaching and spending time with my clients, business strategy and development, some marketing tasks, analyzing business data, and giving peer guidance.

As you can deduce from this list, it’s only natural that in some weeks the workload increases, especially when there is a higher number of speaking engagements, coaching work or when I’m working on new business services.

In those weeks, I adjust my schedule beforehand and follow through with my commitments. It’s as simple as that.

The benefits of working smart

One of the main benefits I’ve noticed after starting the 25h-workweek is an increase in mental clarity throughout the day.

In the past, I used to go on my tangent for 8 or even 12 hours a day, 6 to 7 days a week. That left me both mentally and physically exhausted. I have now stopped having those yo-yo peaks in performance, the ups and the downs with brain fog and tiredness that come from forcing myself to work long hours.

I have been experiencing a high increase in creativity, a positive mental framework, a healthy work-life balance, and even more business awareness with many of those aha moments when I realize something crucial for the business.

Less and less, I spend 2 or 3 hours looking at something without being able to get ahead of it. Or those moments when I was almost breaking after 3 months of working and felt I needed time off.

The challenge is launched 

As a coach and slow digital nomad, I have met many leaders and professionals who seem to be on the edge of burnout and have very little time to handle all the demands of their position.

Most of them seem to live inside a bubble of constant demands and responsibilities: to inspire and motivate their teams, embody the company culture, get and give feedback from employees, inform everyone about business developments, balance the needs of all stakeholders, empower, train, and offer their people opportunities for development, and the list goes on.

At the end of the day, they are left with little or no time to focus on developing themselves as professionals and get stuck in a hamster wheel.

While this may seem counterintuitive, these are the best people to start a 25-hour workweek challenge.

Limiting yourself to working on what are your core strengths, the tasks you excel at and make the business thrive, will allow you to understand where your input and attention are really needed, which tasks can be delegated, and which ones are, in fact, not crucial to the success of your business and organizational culture.

Hard? Very likely to be.

Rewarding? Without a doubt.


Lately, due to my consultancy work and my own leadership experience, I have come to appreciate even more how much of a dealbreaker leadership is. Great leadership is key to keeping the organization’s mission and values alive, driving business results, achieving consistent high performance as well as forging a connection between all stakeholders.

Many leaders draft business strategies but then fail when it comes to their execution. They have ideas aplenty, the workload is heavy, and they are too caught up in their own obligations to truly be able to meet the real needs and demands of all stakeholders.

That’s why I have recently started drafting a program for busy leaders who wish to win back time for their personal lives, while at the same time, achieve successful business outcomes and lead organizations with a high-performance culture.

If you wish to learn more about it, feel free to reach out. I’d love to help.

6 Areas to Consider to Hire Top Talent

6 Areas to Consider to Hire Top Talent

*This article was originally published on

Why Should I Work for You? 6 Areas to Consider to Hire Top Talent

Even in the current crisis, the War for Talent continues.

The workforce is increasingly demanding and not willing to settle in just any organization.

There has been a paradigm shift, so I invite you to answer this question with me: why are many organizations having trouble recruiting?

Whilst in the past, employees were willing to compromise on work-life balance, accepting long commutes, constant relocations, and spending long days at the office overworking, which no longer holds.

Previously known as the malcontent and unstable, the trailblazers of Generation X, the followers of Gen Y, and now the even more innovative Gen Z have increasingly disrupted the way we work.

Our generation of workers is not moved by economic growth, climbing up the career ladder, or even the threat of job loss.

Particularly after the COVID pandemic, people started questioning themselves about the real meaning of work and what truly fulfills them at the workplace. And the answers to these questions are the key to attracting and retaining talented workers in your organization today:

  • Competitive and fair salary
  • Company history and employee engagement
  • Company values
  • Job location
  • Working hours
  • Benefits

So when a potential employee asks you why they should choose your organization, these are some of the aspects that might kindle a spark in their eyes.

Competitive and fair salary

Most employers put great emphasis on this one aspect: pay.

While salaries are still important, they have become just a qualifier.

When you reach your average salary, any dollar above that is less important, and the higher it goes, the less it impacts the talents’ decision. At the end of the day, it’s not about paying top dollars here but about offering a fair salary that complements other company elements and benefits.

And what is a fair salary? It’s a competitive salary for the market.

If you picture a job seeker having to choose between two companies with similar positions in the market, culture, and benefits, this person will choose the higher-paying bid. Or even someone currently employed that receives a better offer to change jobs. The chances of losing talent increase when the pay is not up to market trends.

Now, let’s imagine the higher-paying company has a less attractive company culture and benefits than the company offering a lower pay. If it, for example, offers the job seeker less flexibility, autonomy, and opportunities for growth, the job seeker is much more likely to choose culture over money. Especially in current times where talent is actively job-hunting for human-centric organizations.

When attracting talent, it is also essential to value your existing workforce. It’s an honest practice to ensure that new hires do not outearn existing talent with a similar job type, skill level, and years of experience. This could disrupt the culture and lead to lower motivation and engagement. If the employee’s performance then proves adequate, rises are rightfully justified.

Fair and equal remuneration is a crucial part of company ethics.

Company history and employee engagement

So, what else are people valuing the most these days?

I’d have to include here company history.

Why? It speaks to the job’s stability and the company’s stability, especially in economic crisis circumstances like the one we are now experiencing.

The workforce’s mindset seems to have been changing after the pandemic, with an increasing number of independent and traditional workers stating that independent work is more secure than traditional employment.

This makes it even more relevant to promote and prove to the employees that they will be able to stay in the organization for a long time or as long as they wish. You want to indicate that you’re a stable company, that you’re growing, innovating, and have a competitive market share that guarantees the sustainability of the business. Low employee turnover is something that you’d like to aim for.

And whereas the need and demand for stability vary according to the seniority and the lifestyle of the employee, job security always attracts more committed and engaged employees.

Company values

Culture is becoming more and more important for the workforce. People have become much more selective.

The more recent generation of workers are more attracted to companies that align with their values and are less likely to take a job that doesn’t resonate with their purpose, regardless of the position offered or package. This is effectively a big shift; whilst salary is important, there is a larger portion of the workforce that is no longer ready to compromise on these aspects. 

A one-size-fits-all type of organization has double the trouble in motivating and engaging everyone, and those who are wishy-washy about their mission, vision, and values soon lose the commitment of their people.

And just like when you establish the persona for your product or service, it’s become relevant to establish personas for your organization. What is its character? How are its relationships? How does it respond and contribute to the outside world?

This helps determine the work environment, as well as the type of people you want to work with. The key word here is synchrony, another aspect of a human-centric organization where the whole organizational system and culture resembles that of a community.

From then on, building up the values that influence the work environment and determining how you interact with all stakeholders is an easier task.

Overall, questions about culture have always been asked during the interview processes, but what the workers are craving now is to see how that translates into practice.

As a result, professionals are no longer asking questions like: “What are your Values?”  but rather: “You mentioned Trust is a key value. Can you share with me an example of how that translates into practice?”. Employees are tired of seeing nice company culture brochures and posters on the walls, they are hunting for “the real thing”!

Job location

Whereas in the past major cities were the optimal office location option, nowadays, it varies according to employee lifestyle and preferences.

And this is where you need to know your target market.

If you’re recruiting or retaining people that are in the life stage of having a family, the best job location for them is more likely to be a safe environment with less population density, good access to good education, and all sorts of infrastructures that support the growing family.

If you’re looking at attracting a younger crowd or a more social crowd, the demand here is more likely to be for good access to all sorts of amenities such as workout facilities, sports activities, eateries, nightlife, and adequate housing options.

If you’re trying to attract more impact-oriented people, it’s important to select a place with clean air and plenty of options to engage with nature and make a positive change in the community they are a part of.

Additionally, over the last years, people have been getting more and more used to working from home, and research indicates that 9 out of 10 employees want flexibility in where and when they work and that 54% of employees are likely to quit if they aren’t offered the flexibility they want. This means fully office-based work only gives you access to less than half of the talent pool. A larger number of organizations now offer hybrid work options to allow their employees to have some flexibility and, at the same time, have regular check-ins in the office and with their teams.

The Work From Anywhere (WFA) job policy is also on the rise. People in their early and mid-twenties, career changers, and independent workers are very open to traveling (digital nomadism) and even living in different countries. This means they are looking for flexible work models. The organizations that adopt such policies often organize company retreats and virtual events to create team bonding and collaboration, help build trust and improve communication.

Working hours

Working hours equals more or less flexibility for employees: will they be able to work and structure their days or follow a strict schedule? Do they have to work on weekends and not do activities with their families? Do they have to work long days?

One big trend to be aware of here is that more and more companies are experimenting with shorter work hours: from 40h/week to 35-30/hours a week and even 4-day workweeks. And these are the ones that are still tracking hours. Some organizations are going completely away from the concept of hours overall. Instead, they focus on the output rather than on the number of hours working.

This aspect is particularly important when it comes to work-life integration. The more flexibility you give your people to set their own work schedules, the more attractive the organization becomes. And while this can’t usually be done in every industry and trade, there’s always room for innovation and improvement of your people’s work-life balance.


What are some of the benefits we’re talking about? The more standard and common benefits offered by organizations are health insurance, sick and medical leave, paid time off or holidays, career planning and progression, and educational assistance and training.

But nowadays, with the workforce increasingly valuing work-life balance and integration, progressive and human-centric organizations have started offering a new set of benefits to attract and retain their talent.

The rising trends include:

  • unlimited holidays
  • work-from-home days (hybrid work models)
  • work-from-anywhere days (fully remote or office-based companies that allow for up to three months of traveling and working from abroad)
  • flexible working hours
  • asynchronous work
  • company retreats
  • mental health days and assistance
  • wellness perks
  • volunteer time off
  • no overtime

The more the organization shows that it truly cares about the happiness and well-being of its employees, the more creative and comprehensive the benefits, and the more likely it is to increase its competitive advantage.

No, you don’t have to master all the aspects mentioned in the article to be in the market; there are plenty of average workers looking for jobs every day and considering modest bonuses and perks.

If you’re not able to offer a certain perk like, let’s say, working from home or flexibility then you should be able to compensate your people in another way. Maybe you need to offer a salary structure even higher than the market rate and team retreats and training to compensate for that. And if you don’t have the financial capability to do so, consider other benefits, be inventive, and ask your workforce what they want and, more importantly, what they need – in other words, what motivates them to get up in the morning and work for you.

However, to hold and attract top performers to your company, you should step up. At the end of the day, this is like a point system: organizations that tick off the most items from these lists increase their chances of getting and retaining the best talent out there.

Keeping up to date with current trends means you become less vulnerable and more competitive. HR work here is essential: to track your numbers (such as employee churn and lifetime, number of applications received for a position), assess your employee satisfaction rates, and understand where you can still improve.

As mentioned in the B4P – On People article, the whole employee experience, from recruitment to career progression and exit interviews, should be seamless. And just like in a Tetris game, you need to piece together the employee package in a way that fits both you and the workforce.

The live-for-work mindset is dying, and the work-to-live mentality is on the rise. Work-life balance and integration are a must.

Working for profit-oriented companies does not motivate people. A strong purpose and mission are needed to help engage the workforce. 

Organizations are groups of people that intentionally assemble to serve a purpose that is achieved through a set of planned objectives.

The Rise of the Semi-Retired Life

The Rise of the Semi-Retired Life

Retire in 30 years or semi-retire today?

Retirement – the idea that one should withdraw from work at a specific age – is dead!

It’s an obsolete concept; it is flawed at best.

Retire in 30 years or semi-retire today?

Retirement – the idea that one should withdraw from work at a specific age – is dead!

It’s an obsolete concept; it is flawed at best.

When physical work dominated the labour force, the concept of retirement emerged. Workers were forced to retire when they couldn’t perform the physical work any longer. And although they remained an important part of the community, they were no longer able to work full-time.

As a child, I spent my summers visiting my grandmother. In her younger years, she would still help out in the family, cooking every day and putting her abilities at the service of the community. In some cultures, retirement takes an even more extreme form: the elderly are abandoned for death when they are no longer able to serve their families and become an economic burden.

In today’s world, is retiring well even possible for most of us?

Shouldn’t we all aspire to something else? I have pondered over this and I have come to the conclusion that I don’t want to retire. I enjoy what I do too much to stop doing it!

In fact, here is a question for you: why would you stop doing something you enjoy?

I’ve decided to aim for something different.

Allow me to elaborate:

If retirement is obsolete, why is it still such a popular concept?
Why has no one challenged it over the last few years?
I’ve met a few people that said: “No, I am not ready to retire yet”. I saw a surgeon retire at 95 years of age – this is way past the ‘consensus’ or the ‘acceptable’ retirement age.

I don’t want to retire.

More and more people are working into their 70s and 80s. Some workers do this out of necessity, but others simply enjoy what they do too much to stop.

Yet, retirement is still something that many people aspire for. For many, it is just a target, an ‘end date’ for their misery. It is something that helps to make the unbearable present a little more bearable.

How many people do you know that love what they do? And how many of these people talk about retiring?

What are we doing so wrong in the workplace to make employees say, “You know what, I can’t wait to retire.” In other words: “I need a deadline. I need a deadline for this misery.”

This is an unfortunate reality: in many countries, where the retirement age is on average 67 years, people will spend 35 to 45 years working. If we are spending this much time working, shouldn’t we aspire for work that is fulfilling? Instead of something that we see simply as an obligation.

It should be much more than that. You may notice that when people finally really meet this ‘deadline’, they aren’t always as happy as they thought they would be. Are people more excited about the idea of retiring than they are about their actual retirement?

Is the concept of retirement actually more enjoyable than the reality?

I’ve also realized that I don’t want to work 10, 12, 14 hours every day anymore!

So, I’ve come to the conclusion for myself: I don’t want to retire, I want to semi-retire, possibly this week.

And as I write this, I’m in Spain, traveling and bringing my work with me. I’m now sitting at a restaurant, outside, in one of many plazas in Madrid, taking a long lunch break.

I’ve made the decision to ‘retire’ a bit every day.

I enjoy staying alert, keeping fit and sharp.

Granted there will be 14-hour workdays and that’s just part of the game. There may be some weeks where I have to work 60-80 hours but that’s the exception, not the rule.

Instead, what I aspire for today is to work 4-5 hours a day, every day.

I don’t even mind having to work a few hours on a Saturday or Sunday. In fact, I’m a creative person and it does happen that I get the brightest ideas outside the “usual working time”. And why wouldn’t I jot these ideas down and work on them on a Saturday?

It comes down to working when you feel the most inspired and productive.

I would happily create a video for my clients on a Saturday or Sunday.

Why wouldn’t I take 15 minutes out of my lunch break to do that? And then, why not enjoy the rest of the hour or even Monday afternoon off?

Whilst I am writing this I am picturing some of the great inventors, a great influencer, someone like Leonardo Da Vinci, having an idea and thinking to himself: “Nope, it’s a Sunday, I should not be thinking of work today.” Think about it…

Truth is, life is much more different today than it was 50 years ago. Even five years ago, actually, scrap that, make it two years ago.

Don’t we need to aspire for new models of working?

In reality, I have been aiming to work five hours a day since January. I have had days off and I don’t normally work on Fridays, especially to compensate for some of the crazy early/late hours I do while working remotely with clients on the other end of the globe.

For tomorrow’s (Friday) early retirement dose, I have scheduled doing some physical activity in the morning and then visiting San Sebastian for the first time (which I suspect won’t be the last…).

For me, the new model is working a little bit every day so I don’t feel tired and dying for the weekend.

I have come to realize that I don’t need as many holidays as I used to. I can take them whenever I want and also because I’m structuring my day around my personal, professional and social needs rather than on my work only.

I’m not where I want to be yet, to feel comfortable about taking off four to five days every month. But I am getting there and making more progress than if I was doing the alternative +40-hour workweek.

Working myself to death in my 30s and 40s is no longer an option.

Especially if all that is in lieu of a possible retirement when I reach the age of 60, 70 or even 80.

Looking back over my experience I have noticed that I am much more balanced. I have lost some weight, I eat healthier, overall, I feel less exhausted than I used to. More than that, I have the feeling that my productivity almost doubled. One of the biggest areas I have noticed an increase is in my creativity. I don’t remember the last time I felt as creative as today.

If you are a leader, when you go to work tomorrow, look around, if you are working remotely, look into the cameras:

Are the people genuinely happy to be there or are they just waiting for the ‘deadline’?
Are they counting down the days to retirement?
Shouldn’t we aspire to create better work environments where employees feel fulfilled?
Some more Food for Thought this week.

Would be happy to hear your insights and opinions on this subject.

Back to you soon,

P.S. This post was written a few months ago. While writing this piece, I was sitting at Mica Restobar in Madrid. A beautiful place with great service, incredible food, and super friendly people. Today I am sitting across the ocean on the beautiful Portuguese island of Madeira.