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Why Guestcentric & GHOTW embraced Hybrid Working

March 15, 2022 5 min read
Guestcentric HR Team - Left to right, Mara Faustino and Raquel Texeira

Why Guestcentric & GHOTW embraced Hybrid Working

Reading Time: 5 minutes

The unprecedented events of the Covid-19 crisis forced tech businesses worldwide to go fully remote. But even as the world returns to normal in 2022, businesses are rethinking traditional working practices in the long-term, including us here at Guestcentric and Great Hotels of the World (GHOTW).

In response to employee feedback, Guestcentric and GHOTW officially established a comprehensive hybrid working model in September 2021. We sat down with representatives from our HR Team, Raquel Texeira – Lead HR Generalist and Mara Faustino – Senior HR Generalist, to understand why the Hybrid model was implemented and what the journey has been like thus far.

2020 – When the World went into Lockdown

When the world was forced into lockdown in March 2020, tech businesses had no other choice but to go fully remote. During this period, the Guestcentric and GHOTW HR team spared no effort to help staff adapt to their new working environment.

“The pandemic was a huge shock to all of us and we had to adapt quickly. In less than 48 hours we were able to move our operations 100% remote, ensuring our teams had the required equipment to continue working to full capacity. While the distance and remote working was an adjustment for our teams at first, our number one priority was to uphold their wellbeing and thus keep operations running as productively as possible, ” says Raquel Texeira.

Supporting Employees in a Socially-Distanced World

To keep spirits high under challenging circumstances, the Guestcentric and GHOTW HR team put communication and transparency at the forefront to both reassure and inform employees as the situation developed. “Initially, we expected the lockdown to last for a month or so, and I am sure our teams felt the same,” recalls Raquel.

To motivate and engage employees under the challenging circumstances, Guestcentric’s HR team launched an array of internal initiatives:

  • One-on-one coaching sessions
  • HR check-up calls
  • Virtual Coffees and other get-togethers
  • Cross-training sessions

“When we moved to fully remote, our number one priority was to ensure the safety and productivity of our employees. Thus, our Management team also met daily for a quick catch-up to discuss the status of the business and adapt accordingly,” added Mara Faustino.. Guestcentric’s CEO, Pedro Colaco also kept in constant communication with all teams across the business, sending a daily email to update everyone on the situation as it developed.

“It’s also important to note that although reduced commercial activity and income also led to a flood of layoffs across industry tech vendors worldwide, Guestcentric was among the few who fully retained staff during the initial lockdown period and beyond,” adds Mara.

Staying Connected as a Business to Support Hotels and the Local Community

Despite the unexpected move to social distancing and complete remote working, teams across both Guestcentric and GHOTW collaborated efforts to launch an array of powerful initiatives in support of hotels, the healthcare industry, and the local economy.

In just a few weeks into March 2020, both companies launched the Rooms against Covid initiative to support healthcare workers. Shortly thereafter, Guestcentric and GHOTW launched Small Portuguese Hotels, a collection of independent hotels in Portugal pivoted to tap into the domestic tourism market – the only one available to hotels at the time.

“Despite the initial adjustment period, we soon learned that these unprecedented circumstances actually brought our teams closer together in many ways, leveling the playing-field for those team members who were already fully remote prior to the pandemic. Through it all, we remained connected and thus achieved great things as a business,” adds Raquel.

Embracing Hybrid Working to Elevate the Satisfaction of Employees and our Hotel Partners

Prior to the pandemic, Guestcentric and GHOTW historically operated under a partial hybrid model, either with fully remote team members; or by encouraging employees to, upon approval from line management, work at least one day from home per week. Thus, as the pandemic wore on into 2021, both companies began laying the foundations to establish a more extensive hybrid model on a long-term basis.

“To establish a working model that could continue to function under changing restrictions and work in the long-term. we met with each employee and manager to understand what they needed to ensure maximum productivity,” says Mara. “Following leadership and employee feedback, we organized the model by teams, with some going fully remote while others opted to work in the office up to three days per week. We then ensured teams attended the office on a rota-type basis so as not to exceed capacity requirements.”

Guestcentric and GHOTW officially launched the extensive hybrid working model in September 2021. Since then, the hybrid model has positively impacted on employee satisfaction, productivity, communication, and work/life balance.

According to a recent survey of Guestcentric and GHOTW employees, over 91% stated that the hybrid model improved their work/life balance. Over 64% cited ‘greater flexibility’ as a benefit to the working model, while over 62% cited less time spent commuting.

When asked to rank on a scale of 1 to 10 their level of productivity, wellbeing, and communication since Guestcentric and GHOTW adopted the extensive hybrid working model, nearly 40% of employees ranked 10 out of 10, bringing the average score for each area to 8.5, .6, and .7 respectively.

In addition to the benefits on employees, the Guestcentric and GHOTW HR team also noted the environmental impact of hybrid working, and how the reduced cost of the model opened up opportunities for investment in other areas of business and employee development. “Adopting the hybrid model meant that we were able to reduce our office space and invest more in supporting employees in their career development,” Raquel adds.

“We invested in HR tools centered around employee engagement and talent optimization and digitizing more HR processes. This has enabled us to focus on taking care of our people and proactively help them reach their full potential as individuals and professionals,” Raquel continues.

Guestcentric and GHOTW’s HR team regularly gathers employee feedback, analyzing and creating action plans that support career development and engagement. Mara adds, “We do this through surveys and polls, HR clarification sessions, cross-training sessions, improving our internal communications and celebrating our teams.”


Looking ahead, our HR team concludes that the best way to manage this new hybrid working model is to always maintain a balance between business performance and the employees’ wellbeing. “If we inspire and motivate people to be a part of our companies and culture, we will all be working to achieve success. This is still always a work in progress. As an HR team, we are fully committed to collaborating with our leadership team and employees to ensure the hybrid working model continues to be a success” says Raquel.

Mara agrees, concluding, “The hybrid model has undoubtedly had a positive impact on both our employees and our clients. Talent retention and productivity remains high, and this reflects in the service we deliver to our clients. It’s a new world, and we will continue to work collaboratively with our teams to ensure they are motivated to continue servicing our clients to the best of their ability.”


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