The pilot project also revealed some risks associated with this system, leading to changes being made to the project before it is fully implemented. For example, a 3-day-a-week teleworking schedule was initially included, though this was abandoned when employees reported that they felt too detached from the day-to-day working of the company. To avoid isolation, a weekly limit of 40% of working hours has been established, together with regular follow-up and contact meetings.
According to Jorge Prats, tele-employees must be capable of managing their time: "Misunderstanding the concept of flexibility can result in working more hours than necessary due to bad organisation of your time. To begin with, I had to make an effort to plan what tasks I could do more effectively from here. By here, I mean my home, because I am doing this interview from my home. Now, it's just a matter of course."
Having established these limitations, employees taking part in the project did not agree with a widely accepted premise, namely, that teleworking can be an obstacle to professional advancement. "I have never felt that this could be a handicap", said Begoña Navas. "In fact, I know quite a few people taking part in the project who have been promoted, and even appointed to new jobs which involve team management".
In Repsol, teleworking is understood as a reconciliation measure in the broadest sense of the term, and no employees requesting telework are quizzed about their motives. Six out of every ten participants are teleworkers, and most are between 30 and 49 years old. Cases such as that of Jorge Prats show that this option is not only available for team leaders: "I am familiar with new technologies and I am interested in innovation, and that's why I thought this would be a good opportunity for me. I have always thought it was a good way to balance working and personal life".
"Some think that teleworking is just for organising your schedule better when you have small kids,” he adds. “I think it can be very beneficial in such circumstances, although in a large company like ours there are also other circumstances such as mine, where teleworking can be an ideal solution".