Friday, October 2, 2015

The Age of The Telecommuter

Image Source:

Imagine waking up to a horrible storm, several subway lines have been affected. Your job is an hour and a half away, due to service changes getting there could take double that. Lucky for you, you work from home.

Now imagine that you’ve finally booked that much-needed vacation. Seven days of rest and relaxation with family, friends…and your work colleagues who will be joining in via conference calls and e-mails, because unfortunately, you will be working while on vacation.

Those are two very different scenarios, but both quite possible due to expansions of workplace technology that have made it easier than ever to work from remote locations.

As of 2013, there are 3.3 million Americans, not counting those self-employed, working from home. Working from home comes with many perks. Schedule flexibility, fewer interruptions from coworkers, and a lack of commuting that not only saves money on transportation costs but also helps the environment by reducing pollution associated with driving to work daily.

Work from home opportunities can be found in many fields, primarily health care, information technology, education, nonprofit, and sales and marketing. However, if your current job does not offer any telecommuting opportunities, that’s not necessarily a deal breaker.

If telecommuting is something that you are truly interested in, experts suggest you pitch the idea to your boss. Begin by writing a proposal, address the pros and cons and try to come up with solutions for any anticipated challenges. Ask for a trial period, a fixed amount of time in which you could demonstrate the benefits associated with your proposal. Lastly, be prepared to negotiate! Be clear on the details so that both you and your employer get positive results.

If you can work from home, however, then it’s very likely that you can work from vacation as well. Although many of us may cringe at the idea, the reality is that most of us already do it. Working outside the office is not limited to telecommuters, research shows that 60% of all American employees work while on vacation. Although the best option would be to unplug all together, sometimes you may have no choice. So how can you get the work done and still have fun?

The first step is to set aside specific times. Designate a few hours a day (i.e early in the morning or before going to bed) to check work emails and perform pressing work related duties. Make sure you plan your time effectively, so that the things that need to get done, do get done.

Conversely, designate “family/friends” times in which you will not handle any work business at all. Make sure to inform your colleagues of these times beforehand so that they know what to expect. Finally, do not be afraid to delegate less important items to other co-workers. After all, you are on vacation!

Working remotely results in increased productivity and decreased absenteeism, benefiting both employers and employees. The workplace has outgrown the traditional in-office setting, calling employees to work in non-traditional ways, whether that be while sitting in their living rooms in pajamas or lounging on a hammock on the beach in Costa Rica.

Originally published in LatinTrends Magazine, August 2015

Thursday, October 1, 2015

World's Billionaires

They say that while the poor get poorer, the rich get richer. This may very well be the case, as there are now more billionaires than ever before. Every March, Forbes Magazine ranks the richest people on earth, compiling the renowned “The World's Billionaires” list. This year’s list is made up of 1,862 individuals with billion dollar fortunes, a significant increase from the 1,645 reported just last year.

The list is typically compromised of the usual magnates: Global investor, Warren Buffet, the third richest man in the world with a $72.7 billion dollar net worth, industrialist brothers Charles and David Koch valued at $42.9 billion dollars respectively, and of course Microsoft founder, Bill Gates, who with a net worth of $79.2 billion, has held the title of the richest man in the world for sixteen out of the past twenty-one years.

However, there are a few surprises.

Basketball great, Michael Jordan, for example recently joined the billionaires club with a net worth of $1 billion. A few more women have also joined the league. This year there were 197 women billionaires, up from the 172 the year before. Christy Walton, widow of John Walton, son of WalMart founder Sam Walton, is currently the wealthiest woman in the world, with an inherited net worth of $41.7 billion. Liliane Bentacourt, heiress to L’Oreal cosmetics, is the second, her net worth valued at about $40.1 billion.

What’s perhaps most surprising however, is that although many of the world’s billionaires achieved their wealth through inheritance alone, most of them are actually self-made. A notable example is Elizabeth Holmes, whom after dropping out of Stanford at 19 years old, has not only revolutionized health care with her blood testing company, Theranos, but has managed to become the worlds youngest female billionaire in the process. Then there’s Jorge Perez, who immigrated to the US from Argentina to become an urban planner, and is now amassing billions developing luxury condos in Florida.

There are many other Latinos and Hispanics counting their billions all the way to the bank. For example, there’s Jorge Paulo Lemann, the richest man in Brazil, who accumulated his wealth as a beer baron through stakes in the world’s largest brewery and the richest man in Colombia, banker Luis Carlos Sarmiento, who’s investments have earned him a $12.5 Billion net.

At 30 years old, the youngest Latino Billionaire is Julio Mario Santo Domingo, III, a New York City DJ and heir to grandfather Julio Mario Santo Domingo’s Colombian beer company fortune. Other notable Latino billionaires include, Mexican business woman Eva Gonda Rivera, widow of Eugenio Garza Laguera, former chair of Latin America's biggest independent beverage distributor and Peruvian Eduardo Belmont, owner of the cosmetics company Belcorp.

The wealthiest Latina woman in the world is Iris Fontbona. The Chilean businesswoman ranks 82 among the world’s billionaires. After inheriting her late husband Andronico Luksic’s mining business in 2005, her net worth is currently estimated at $13.3 billion.

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. In fact, two of the top five wealthiest billionaires are Latinos. Amancio Ortega, founder of the retail company Zara, ranks as the fourth richest person in the world. The son of a railway worker, Ortega’s first job was in a shirtmaker’s shop. Now, his very own clothing company has accumulated him a worth of $64.5 billion.

Finally, there’s CarlosSlim Helu. With a net worth of $77.1 Billion, the Mexican investor is considered the second richest man in the world. At a point, he even out-earned Bill Gates, and was named the richest man on earth from 2010-2013. Helu’s wide array of business ventures extends across a number of fields, from telecommunications, to retail, to automotive services to energy and construction, to name just a few. With stakes in so many places, Gates better watch out, it looks like Helu is still out for that number one spot.

ally published in LatinTrends Magazine, August 2015