We have already described the general characteristics of Smart Working in the previous article, giving a detailed analysis of what the legislation says about it [NdR see the previous article].
In this part, we will try to go deeper into the practical implementation of Smart Working and we will do pointing out what are the main difficulties and then describe some Italian or international success case.
6 things to keep in mind when talking about Smart Working
A recent report by the United Nations International Labor Organization revealed that while employees are more productive when they work outside the conventional office, they are also more vulnerable to working longer hours, at a more intense pace of work and, in some cases, to more stress.
Below we analyze a little more in detail the main challenges that the management of remote work brings with it.
1. Working too much
One of the reasons many managers do not approve remote work is their fear employees would not work as before without a physical and personal supervision. But, most of the time, the opposite tends to be the reality: remote workers are more likely to charge work and achieve more results. When personal life and work are both under one roof, it is more difficult to “switch off”.
So the question is, how to avoid overloading?
- We must impose ourselves pauses and set clear start and end times;
- Set up appointments on the calendar at the end of the day to leave the home office;
- Turn off notifications on your phone and computer, so you do not get back to work after a few hours
2. Interruptions: family, pets and/or bell
The good news is that when you work from home, you avoid colleagues who come to your desk and other office breaks (it’s someone’s birthday! We organize a cake in the party room!).
The bad news is that probably other types of interruptions and distractions will need to be addressed, regardless of whether it is the UPS courier that delivers you a package or your in-laws that come without warning.
It is doubly true when the children are involved.
3. Communication problems
Communication is essential for a remote team and keeping it at decent levels is a big challenge.
The problem of communication is certainly more complex if just some members of the teamwork are in the office. You could lose important discussions that took place during breaks and not be involved in some decision.
Unless the company has a strong culture of inclusion even for remote workers, this could be a serious problem.
The only real solution is to communicate as much as possible, clarify everything that could create misunderstandings and be proactive in speaking.
4. Sharing material
For their daily work, employees should be allowed to use any device they wish to access the company’s applications and services securely and remotely.
The law mandatory does not consider the use of technological tools (computer, tablet, etc.) that remotely connect the worker, but indeed, this is and will be the predominant modality.
5. Time zone differences
Related to being or feeling out of the loop, some companies find the differences in time zones a problem to address. If the company is located in distant parts of the world, it could also happen that a part of the team will wake up only when the other party is going to bed. And if, from a production point of view, having the team located in different time zones can be an opportunity to generate a virtuous cycle where work never ceases to be worked but only passes from one colleague to another, this also means that you can not always rely on the fact that a colleague is available to answer an urgent question or resolve any other immediate need.
6. Hiccup Technology
Nothing makes a worker shake in fear as much as a break from the internet. Or, perhaps, when your computer breaks down. On these occasions the responsibility is only on the employee who must find solutions as soon as possible, losing the work balance that he was able to build himself.
Examples of success
High-speed Internet and powerful apps allow anyone with a desk job to work from home. Today most companies insist that employees are commuting, sometimes overwhelming, in an office.
It is clear that the time for comparison is essential: excellent for team building, collaboration and not to get lost in the nuances of communication. However, as some companies already show, there is no need for a physical office to succeed.
In fact, it could be argued that being utterly remote with a 100% team, without any company office, makes the most profitable companies.
Among the examples we found the most interesting we chose:
Their social media management tools are used by over 60,000 paying customers because they make sharing on social networks very simple and fast.
Buffer has a completely distributed team, with over 80 employees working in different countries. It is very interesting the map of the time zones of employees that is made public. In addition to teleworking, employee benefits include unlimited vacations, free books and kindle and annual international retreats (the last one was in Waikiki, Hawaii!).
InVision offers a collaboration platform for designing and prototyping. With InVision, teams can design and test products using an intuitive interface from anywhere, just like the InVision team of over 220 staff members located in 14 different countries.
This is how Avi Posluns, InVision Director of Team Happiness, describes their experience: “Being 100% distributed is intentional. Our CEO Clark Valberg wants his staff to work where he wants, whenever he wants. We put the emphasis on results, not on physical presence.
Being remote also allows us to tap into talents that are not limited by physical position. We can engage team members who are good at what they do regardless of where they are. ” The startup offers a wide range of benefits including personal medical insurance, free gym passes, equipment allowances, conference and travel bags, and even unlimited Starbucks drinks. Weekly check-ins and anonymous surveys help ensure that employees are satisfied and not abandoned to their jobs.
Barilla launched its Smart Working project in 2013 and, by 2020, aims to involve all workers, production lines excluded.
The goal of the project is to give employees the opportunity to work flexibly, anywhere and at any time, thanks to new digital communication tools and new methodologies.
This is why the Emilian company – which employs around 8,000 people worldwide, with a turnover of over 3 billion euros and 29 production sites – has extended its Smart Working project to all its national and international offices. The response of the employees was excellent: about 1,200 employees joined the project started three years ago, which aims to involve all workers, net of production lines. Until now, to appreciate the possibility of working in an agile way, in particular, women between the ages of 30 and 55 and those traveling between home and office over 25 kilometers.
“Smart Working for Barilla means three things” – says Alessandra Stasi, Head of Organization & People Development – “First of all, working anywhere, anytime, and secondly it means using spaces in a different way: we worked a lot in the various offices to reorganize the offices around collaboration, communication, and individual concentration activities, which today can also be done remotely. The third aspect is digital technologies “.
Smart Working is an organizational change. Switch from physical presence in the office to work for goals with an evolution of leadership models.
The perception that the current “working practices” are not flexible enough to get the most out of their staff is increasingly widespread and therefore more, and more companies are organizing to establish this new culture.
But these changes must lead to the definition of a more fluid business structure that can allow you to work remotely by accessing files saved on the company’s local servers, to exchange files between colleagues in a secure way and to automate the processes that require the most time. Less human presence is needed.
To do all this, GreenVulcano has devised an entire suite of software that is changing the working life of many international companies.
With this document, we have tried to give all the information possible to make a decision, but we hope that this reading does not remain just an informative effort but is an incentive to bring a new transformation in companies.
If you are interested in learning more, contact us here:
and together we will look for the best solution to achieve your goals.