Over the past decades, the contemporary world has been facing a gradual digital transformation, which affects more and more aspects of our lives. The continuous development of technologies revolutionized also the way we perform the everyday work and allowed companies to introduce innovative working methods. One of the modern working forms which makes use of the technologies is the “smart working”. What is smart working and what are the advantages of this method?
Definition of smart working
Smart working is a modern mode of work characterized by a high level of working time and space flexibility, together with the use of technology tools. According to the definition of the Italian Ministry of Labor and Social Policy, smart working is “a mode of execution of the employment relationship established by agreement between the parties, including forms of organization by phases, cycles and objectives and without precise constraints of time or place of work, with the possible use of technological tools for the performance of the work activity”¹. The mode focuses on the results of work, without concentrating on the time dedicated to its performance or the place it is carried out in.
Smart working – characteristics
The flexibility of smart working includes many aspects. The first element is the place of work. Employees do not need to be present in the office, but they can decide where they perform the tasks. Whether it is home, a cafe, a library, modern technology tools allow the worker to connect with the employer or colleagues at any time, to share and deliver quickly the requested results. Another important aspect is the working time. The employee can organize the working day and is not obliged to respect the rigid nine-to-five schedule. Very often the staff is not bounded by any hours limit; what matters is the final result delivered within a deadline.
Advantages of smart working
Smart working system brings many benefits both for companies and employees. First of all, the enterprises can reduce the office space and therefore save the general office maintenance costs. They also have the possibility to increase the number of staff without expanding the physical space of the office. Since smart working influences positively on the employee well-being, enterprises can profit from a higher productivity of the workers and reduction of absenteeism. Moreover, this modern system improves the employability of mothers and caregivers, who thanks to the wide flexibility are able to reconcile better the personal duties with the professional life. Employees, for their parts, maintain a better work-life balance; it has a beneficial impact on their health, motivation and productivity. Reduction of long working hours, elimination of commuting time and costs help to lower stress and save money.
Implementation of an efficient system
In order to implement smoothly an efficient smart working system every company needs to ensure the proper technical equipment and preparation of the employees. Firstly, the employer must supply the workers with the tools, like laptops or mobile phones, which will be used to perform the job. Sometimes the employees can use their own devices, which must be equipped with the right software. The second essential element is the training which will prepare the employees to work in the new system, use digital tools and programmes. It is important to take into consideration the different levels of digital literacy among the employees and therefore different needs they might have while getting ready for smart working.