“CREC must not adapt to change: CREC must lead change” – Roman Calavera, CEO of CREC Coworking
The pandemic has shaken us all and it will change us forever. We will surely not be better or worse people, but many of our habits and values will never be the same again. Neither personally nor at work. The world will never return as we knew it … Or, at least, it should be. This approach has a great defender in Roman Calavera, CEO of CREC Coworking Barcelona and Sabadell.
For him, going back is not an option. In fact, it is almost a matter of life and death. And for that, he has all eyes on the future. We have interviewed him to find out how the pandemic is living, how his way of being has changed and what role coworking will have for future generations.
Pictures by Nicola Mesken
How does an entrepreneur like you live the COVID-19 situation?
The situation is extremely complicated. We are living through a pandemic, and we have to manage this reality in a positive spirit. Apart from the problems, I see a great opportunity. An opportunity to change great schemes and values, promote teleworking, change the ways of relating to each other, rethink sustainability… There are many new or existing concepts that have gained prominence. They are here to stay. And now we have to find a way to find much more humane areas.
How do you think the CREC Coworking team has managed it?
I think that we have understood it quite well. It was immediately clear to us that we could not sit and watch the impact. We had to walk while the crisis hit. Thinking about new scenarios, knowing what we want to do again in our spaces and how we want them to be. Right now nobody has any answers for the future. But the good part is that there is no impossible solution. And at CREC we have always had this dynamic in mind.
What is the biggest change you see in CREC Coworking from the month of March until now?
The most obvious are the sanitary measures of the CREC Care protocol. But logically, I see a very big psychological change in coworkers. The lack of being close to your beloved ones, of emotionality, the loss of social meetings… Right now you can’t have it. But we must think about the opportunities to become close and emotional again in a different way.
“CREC Coworking must not adapt to change: CREC Coworking must lead change”
And how do you think that psychological impact will affect the way coworkers and Community Builders work?
I think people know exactly what there is. We have passed the duel phase and now it is the move phase. Companies that have lost business must have it again. The companies that have had it have to see how to channel success. We will see in what situations are the offices that do not provide a human value beyond space and how employers adapt the forms of teleworking of their employees.
I think that the great change in mentality can occur with the 15-minute rule: That each person can build a sustainable and healthy life model in which work, school, leisure, physical activity … about 15 minutes away. Favoring more sustainable journeys on foot, by bicycle … This will mean being greener and, therefore, people will be happier. It is the morality that we must take: Pass this trance to live much better in the immediate future.
Therefore, how do you think CREC Coworking should adapt to this change?
CREC Coworking must not adapt to change: CREC Coworking must lead change. We are not a board rental space. We are a space that invites new ways of dealing with business and people. There are no limits to creativity and innovation. We start from the philosophies of synergies, collaboration, open doors to new projects … And this allows capital leadership at this time.
Could it be that, somehow, CRECWorkers had already anticipated a change in mindset?
I think that CREC was born 7 years ago in this line. We knew that it was a good solution for freelancers and companies to be able to settle in a coworking, a space where projects of all kinds and of all ages coincide and where everyone can organize their way of working. And the foundation of the future is to keep changing the mindset of people who have not yet discovered the potential of coworking.
We want to meet all those workers who may have deviated from their path, and also those young people who have not yet started their path. We must make proposals almost “punks” so that they dare to take a step forward.
“One plus one no longer adds up to two. We don’t add people, but efforts”
And why from the beginning has it been so important to create collaborations?
Because right now, one plus one doesn’t add up to two anymore. We do not add people, but the sum of efforts. We join creativity, drive, motivation towards oneself and towards others … And at CREC Coworking we want to convey this sum of talent.
One of the main post-confinement novelties is CREC Care. What are you waiting for?
It is certainly more than a protocol. It is a philosophy that has come to stay. When the pandemic ends, CREC Care will not cease to exist because they are not just health measures: They are sociological measures. We all want to work in a safe environment, that makes us feel good, and this is not only important from the point of view of protecting ourselves from Covid-19, but also to gain emotional well-being when it is finished.
What other future project do you think is here to stay?
We are working on CREC Cluster, a project that wants to take CREC Connect one step further. We want coworkers not only to contribute to society individually, but to connect with the environment and form a great collective with a lot of added value.
Speaking of future concepts… Why is sustainability and will be a key value?
For two reasons. The first is very simple: because there is no other choice. The world is either sustainable or it will not be. And we all like to belong to this world. And the second is that it will give a much higher quality of life. If the trips are shorter and cleaner, this will imply a very big improvement.
In this, I always think of the economist Jeremy Rifkin and he explains that “the world will be what the masses want“. But he does not refer to a mass as an accumulation of people, but people who do not stop thinking. The sum of many differences, of people who each have a criterion and manage to form only one. And this criterion must be that of globality and, therefore, of sustainability.
“Either we walk, or we die. And in the worst moments is when the best of each should come out”
And what would happen if we go back to the reality before the pandemic?
Well, the big problem is not the pandemic. This is a bump. The problem will be precisely wanting to take the world back as we knew it before. This crisis will be child’s play if, for example, climate change breaks out.
We have all been alert to COVID-19, and it should serve to learn what we do with a world that, as has been shown, was not working properly. What do we do with the sustainability that we mentioned before, with the depletion of resources … These are the great challenges and we cannot look back. Either we walk, or we die. And in the worst moments is when the best of each one should come out.
Coworking was born from the last economic crisis. Do you think that now is also facing a great opportunity?
And so much. The opportunity is magnificent. And it is also so for two reasons: Because people need to feel connected to a collaborative environment and because it is necessary to rethink all business models. You no longer need so many square meters, you no longer have to make a fixed schedule, it is no longer necessary for all the workers to coincide at the same time…
Coworking should be the best option for everyone. And also for a very important sector of the population: Young people and children. They must grow up knowing that the future is no longer something traditional like the one we have lived through until now. The future is to reconcile work and personal life and make ideas grow thanks to meeting other people.
“The world has given us the opportunity, to all, to begin again. And in that we are fortunate”
And to finish: How do you think Roman Calavera has changed with this situation?
I notice that I have changed a lot because I have experienced a very strong emotional impact. I have thought about myself again, I have reviewed my values … And I have gone through different states of mind. First, I had a time of great frustration with society because I did not understand how people continued to have the same behaviour. But now I live it with motivation so that more and more people are changing their minds. More and more people are “being born again”, who has removed their inner self to make way for a new one. Now, we can leave our backpack behind. The world has given us all the opportunity to start over, and we are lucky.