The Coronavirus has highlighted the potential of smart working for small, medium and large companies.
We never thought we would experience a situation like the current COVID-19 epidemic, a strain of Coronavirus that has no borders and spreads rapidly, producing unease and uncertainty about the present. This disease was considered serious enough to limit our freedoms, forcing us to rethink our social life, reorganize work activities and temporarily change our daily habits. And we would never have imagined that the spread of a virus would have given such a strong acceleration towards the adoption of Smart Working.
Is it therefore a “forced” Smart Working?
We are witnessing a forced transition to this model, or rather to a “remote work” (especially from home) without any preliminary preparation, without a preliminary test or adaptation phase.
Resistance to smart working before the emergency
Many entrepreneurs in past years have shown a lack of interest in this change, both large and small businesses, choosing not to adapt to the changing times.
Today, with the current crisis, the situation has had to change out of necessity, those who previously did not adhere to this model found themselves evaluating it as a concrete possibility of experiencing the current emergency.
This epidemic has not caused much havoc in large companies that have already adopted Smart Working, flexibly organizing their workflow and equipping themselves with the necessary devices to ensure that their employees can work regardless of their position in many cases.
The global economy requires great flexibility in communicating with companies based in distant countries and with different time zones.
Working intelligently beyond the emergency
In recent days we have read many articles on the subject of “forced” smart working such as the one that appeared in Il Sole 24 Ore, on March 2, entitled: “Smart working beyond the emergency: a challenge for SMEs”.
It discusses how Smart Working is not only a proven formula to combat the current COVID-19 emergency but also “a way of pursuing the issue of employment that is increasingly widespread: in Italy, according to the School Observatory of Management of the Politecnico di Milano, in 2019, 570 thousand workers benefited from agile work, with an increase of 20% compared to the previous year “.
Let’s now move on to discuss other data collected by the Smart Working Observatory of the Politecnico di Milano: “The situation is very polarized: there are 58 out of 100 large companies that already apply agile forms of work. 7% are activating informal initiatives and 5% plan to do so within the next 12 months. The picture is reversed and we analyze the data relating to small and medium-sized enterprises: only 12% of them have projects in progress. Finally, more than half of the companies without Smart Working projects declare themselves totally disinterested in the realization of agile work (51%) ”.
However, the widespread adoption of agile jobs involving small businesses and the Public Administration represents a real challenge. “Smart Working projects structured in the PA are in 16% of companies, but the rate of altruistic people is very limited (7%)”.
Technology has become a primary necessity for companies
The problem, however, is centered on technology. Technology is the key that allows employees to work remotely, provides us with the largest collection of information at our fingertips, helps in the development of Smart-Cities and the integration of the Internet into a work environment.
Technology has taken us very far in the current millennium, but we still have a way to progress to achieve a goal of self-autonomy. The gap between those who have access to the Internet and those who do not, shows how crucial it is to have access to such a development tool in our digital society, with socio-economic and cultural damage affecting those who do not have such comforts. during this unique period.
Perhaps, due to this crisis, we have realized that we are not fully prepared and structured in order to use Smart Working correctly, but we understand its usefulness and the infinite possibilities it offers, among all, that of not being excluded and to continue being part of the community.
Smart Working, discipline and decree
Smart working is governed by law 81/2017 which states: ” Agile work (or smart working) is a method of execution of the subordinate employment relationship characterized by the absence of time or space constraints and an organization by phases, cycles and objectives, established by agreement between employee and employer; a method that helps the worker to reconcile the times of life and work and, at the same time, favor the growth of his productivity. “
Its application is linked to the decree that in these days obliges Public Administration employees to work in Smart Working, also encouraging private companies to do so.
But one can ask: how are these activities planned? What equipment do workers have access to; do they have home workstations, desks, ergonomic seats, computer equipment and digital devices available? Do they comply with the rules and regulations on well-being to which small, medium and large companies are constantly subjected within their offices?
At the moment we don’t have the answer to these questions, but we know that in these days we will be writing the guidelines on how to best implement this working method in the next few years, after taking a look at what worked and what did not work, analyzing how to improve.