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New working at TUI—work flexibly worldwide

Up to 30 days a year—wherever you like

For TUI the pandemic could be described as a game changer in terms of working philosophy. The internal TUI Workwide Program launched in August 2021: TUI employees can work anywhere they like in the world for up to 30 working days a year. More than 800 TUI employees from over 34 different countries have now been working flexibly worldwide for a total of over 10,000 days. Among them are TUI employees Heiko von der Ohe, Head of Global Commercial Management Flight Only and Dennis Kucharski, HR Systems & People Analytics Consultant. We talked with them about their experiences.

TUI Workwide—can you tell us how your colleagues feel about the program?

“The program is very well received,” says Dennis Kucharski. “I found it surprising that right from the start there were a lot of long-term stays—around 18 days on average. But of course that makes perfect sense: lots of colleagues visited relatives abroad, for example, or wanted to explore a region for a longer period of time. Lots of destinations were included, from Spain, Greece, Morocco, Thailand, and the USA to South Africa and Australia.”

“After just under a year, more than 10,000 days had already been taken—across the company,” adds Heiko von der Ohe. “TUI Workwide is available to all employees worldwide and is also taken up worldwide.”

You’ve both already been traveling. How have you personally used your TUI Workwide?

“Between Easter and Pentecost I really enjoyed it and spent 30 working days in Mallorca. With a family vacation at the start and the finish,” enthuses Heiko von der Ohe.

“I came back from Brazil at the end of October after over a month, almost 22 working days,” reports Dennis Kucharski.

How was that for you? Brazil has a big time difference compared with Germany—did it work out well?

“I had two concerns,” says Dennis Kucharski. “The internet connection, and can I deal with the time difference—I’m not really a morning person and Brazil is 5 hours behind Germany after all. Neither was a problem at all. The broadband connection was stable and getting up early had some major benefits. I did have to discipline myself a bit, but conversely it also meant that if the working day in Germany finished at 6 p.m., in Brazil I was free from noon and could enjoy my time as I wanted.”

And you, Herr von der Ohe, how did you spend your days in Mallorca?

“I rented an apartment for two months, with lots of space, because friends and especially family visited me during that time. And it was well located, I had my bike with me and was able to pursue my hobby. It was a great combination: doing your normal workload and then getting to know the island by bike. I was also concerned about the quality of the internet connection, but everything went smoothly. My second small concern, whether I would be needed back at head office, also didn’t materialize. We could manage everything remotely. I really enjoyed the time, vacationing with the family, time for my hobby, for me, and for the island, visits from friends—it all fitted together wonderfully.”

“The pandemic was the game changer”

Remote working: has it always been part of your world of work or has the pandemic changed things for you?

“We had a serious attendance culture. But with the pandemic, a lot has changed or had to change,” says Dennis Kucharski. “One major advantage was that we had switched to laptops just before the pandemic hit us. And any discussion as to whether it’s possible to work from home or having reservations about that became more or less obsolete due to the ‘home office obligation’. And workation, i.e. TUI Workwide, was the logical further development.”

“The pandemic was the game changer,” adds Heiko von der Ohe. “Without it, it wouldn’t have happened so quickly. But there was also a big issue about digitalization. It was good that we had already created the conditions and had optimized server structures and access for remote working.”

If you look around within the company, has TUI Workwide and remote working changed anything else for you?

“I’m also doing some hiring myself,” says Heiko von der Ohe, “and the topic of HR and recruiting has become particularly exciting. Remote working is a matter of course in many areas. Today we advertise many jobs much more broadly and place of work is no longer as important as it was a few years ago. Recruitment is often no longer related to a location—we cast the net internationally. The only condition is that there must be a TUI organization in the country in order to be able to deal with the contractual aspects.

Speaking of contracts—how is the 30-day rule received internally? And what is your general experience of workation?

“The 30 days are for tax reasons. Of course, one colleague or another would like a bit longer, but that usually fits very well with the time period. Many people extend their vacation and then carry on working while the family is still in holiday mode,” explains Dennis Kucharski. “The 30 days are working days—that’s almost six whole weeks that can be spent away from home. In addition, there’s normal vacation—that worked very well for me and I was able to spend the time between Easter and Pentecost on Mallorca,” says Heiko von der Ohe.

“Finally, I’d say that TUI Workwide is very well received within the company. I haven’t heard any negative comments yet, nor have I noticed any difficulties in my team. This is also shown by the demand and the number of working days that have already been taken as workation.”

“I’d go along with that,” confirms Dennis Kucharski. “A majority of employees can work remotely, and workation etiquette is almost a matter of course for everyone. I haven’t had or noticed any negative experiences in my circle either. It’s simply a great motivation—and if the conditions are right and the right sense of responsibility is there, then I can only recommend it.

The TUI Group is one of the world’s leading tourism groups, comprising a wide portfolio of dynamic operators under the Group’s umbrella. Over 1,600 travel agencies and leading online portals, five airlines, over 400 hotels, 16 cruise ships, and incoming agencies in all major vacation countries around the world are part of the Group. Workation stays can be booked at WORK+VACATION@TUI.

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