It’s 7:30 am on Saturday and I’m wandering the streets of Lisbon with my 2 year old, searching for an open restaurant to feed him in because we landed at 9pm the night before and there’s no food in the house – tired, groggy and becoming increasingly more frustrated with the lack of open cafes I grumble moodily at my partner that ‘everything in Australia opens at 06:30am, where are all the stores!?’ He chooses to ignore this. We stumble across a woman unloading a van of fresh fruit to a restaurant…which doesn’t open until 9am..
My toddler is becoming difficult, he’s hungry and waiting isn’t a forte of his. We ask the lady if we can buy one banana from her, to keep my kid from devolving into an actual spawn of hell. She stomps off angrily to the back of the van and comes back with an entire bunch of bananas, shoving them into my hands. “Solo uno, solo uno” I say, putting my limited Spanish to use even though we’re in Portugal and, this is true, they speak Portuguese here. She shakes her head and pushes the whole bunch onto me.
She then refuses to take payment, despite my insistence. The bananas were all for us, free of charge because we had a hungry kid and nowhere to go. And that right there is the epitome of who the Portuguese are as people, and why I chose to stay here.
You may well be asking at this point what relevance bananas have to you, or IT or indeed anything; to which the answer is very little. But it’s not about the bananas it’s about what the bananas represent, OK? It’s a metaphor, it’s about what it means to be Portuguese and why I love living here.
A quick google search will easily give you a list of arbitrary reasons about why you should relocate to Portugal; good wine, good food, great weather, awesome beaches – but I had all those in Australia, and there are a dozen other places that could tick the same boxes. It isn’t until you come here that you start to understand the feeling behind the country, the subtle nuance between Portuguese people and their culture compared to other places I’ve lived in the world, it’s not until you’ve spent time living here that you really get the banana story.
Did you know that pregnant, disabled, or elderly people are given priority in queues by law? It’s not just a nicety that you’re expected to do to show you’re not a terrible human, they actually wrote it in there. ‘You, moved aside so the lady growing a tiny human inside her can rest her feet’ (not the literal translation).
There’s also a lot of diversity here, I can travel two hours from my home (If I’m ever allowed out of it again) and feel like I’ve entered an entirely different part of the world (A two hour commute in Sydney and you’ve barely left the city center.) And the beaches are beautiful, which means for most of the year while it’s warm and sunny I actually get a chance to enjoy them without having to worry about potentially being eaten by a shark. Or a crocodile. Or both.
I was born in the U.K originally, so managing the time-zones no longer means waking up at 6am to try and catch Dad last minute before he goes to bed, only to find the clocks went forward and you already missed him(seriously, how do people keep track of that?).
But life-threatening beach swims and complicated zoom-management aside, there’s another reason I love Portugal: My job. I actually asked to work at BOLD (true story). I sent across my CV with a little note saying that while I know I am absolutely unqualified for the job in question, I’d really like to work for the company, so if they had anything relevant for me I’d love to talk. And here I am! Four months later and I’m sure my boss has no regrets.
Which brings me nicely to my next point, or maybe the point, of this article (yes, there was one thank you very much).
Why should you consider Portugal? What benefits could Nearshore some of your services bring to your company?
Look, the reality is whether you think remote work will be the ‘new normal’ or not, the pain-in-the butt we’ve come to call COVID has cemented technology’s role at the heart of transformation. Research suggests that the companies who will thrive are the ones that see this as an opportunity to transform how they do business – so what does transformation look like? Transformation is a blanket term that can mean anything from the total digitization of a company to the installation of GSuite; it’s not a one size fits all option. It can involve, among many other things, potentially looking at Nearshoring with BOLD as the solution to scarce resources, overhead costs and cultural pitfalls.
Nearshoring to Portugal doesn’t involve managing multiple time zones or complicated calendar organizing which means there’s more control over quality, workflow and deadlines. It decreases lag time and allows greater flexibility for the company to fill resource shortages more easily. It can mitigate potential cultural differences, removing communication obstacles or language barriers that can often slow down projects. Engaging with a Nearshore team that possesses cultural similarities, shared language & technical expertise makes it easier to integrate them into your business & assures quality of work.
Finally, one often overlooked benefit of Nearshoring is how easily organising a face-to-face is; shorter flight times make it much more manageable to organise a FIFO if necessary, resulting in less airtime hours lost on commuting and an easier work/life balance.
As the pressure mounts to lower costs, increase revenue and decrease risk, organizations that want to bounce back must be strategic on how best to digitize; and part of that strategy should look at how to keep down fixed costs. The fact that Portugal also happens to be a fantastic place to have a beer and watch the sunset is just an added bonus.