OPEN SPACE’s model seems to have failed. The open and shared workspace that appeared to be the answer to the solitary and alienating routine is not effective, and it also has deleterious effects on productivity.
Spread in recent years to improve teamwork and encourage a constant stream of ideas among colleagues, it now seems to give way to new solutions.
The futurologist Nicola Millard, an expert in emerging data, analysis and technologies, has predicted that employees will become “backpackers” that, armed with laptops or tablets, will collaborate in small groups remotely.
At the New Scientist Live in London, she explained her theory: “the open space offices are a model that does not fit anyone, we are interrupted every three minutes, there are too many distractions”.
In the coming years, traditional offices will be a memory, and we will increasingly orient towards more fluid and “smart” solutions.
We can find a clue about this happening in Italy. Only a few days ago, thanks to the experimentation started last July, Osmar’s employees will be able, through individual agreements, to work outside the company’s plant.
Smart Working represents a tremendous cultural change deriving from the mission to reconcile the work-life balance.
“Smart workers” won’t have a time card and are going to enjoy complete autonomy. As for previous “industrial revolution” that will bring many advantages but also important challenges that the company must be prepared to face.
We interviewed various experts and made them some question starting from the recently approved law of Smart Working.
The Smart Working law
With the law “Lavoro agile” (n.81/2017), Smart Working has been institutionalized in Italy, and each employee now has the opportunity to perform subordinate work flexibly, away from the company premises. The law also applies to all public administrations.
This law is aimed at employees or managers and is based on mobile technologies such as tablets and smartphones.
“Agile workers” obtain equal treatment – economic and regulatory – compared to colleagues who perform the service with ordinary methods. Therefore, they have protection in case of accidents and illnesses, according to the methods illustrated by INAIL in the circular n. 48/2017.
In particular, the definition of Smart Working emphasizes the organizational flexibility, the voluntariness of the parties that sign the individual agreement and the use of instruments that allow remote work (such as laptops, tablets and smartphone).
Be careful: agile work is not a new type of work contract, but only a way to execute the subordinate relationship. This will carry out partly within the company premises and partly outside, without a fixed location, within the limits of working hours established by law and collective bargaining.
To start this “smart” working relationship, a written contract is required between the parties: it can be either fixed-term or indefinite, but always with the unilateral possibility of the employee to withdraw.
Agile work from 2013 to 2016 grew by 40% in Italy. According to a research carried out by the Smart Working Observatory of the Politecnico di Milano: the Italian smart workers are now more than 300,000 or about 8% of the total number of employees, managers and executives. Large companies are more interested in agile workers (30% realized ad hoc projects in 2016) than small and medium-sized businesses.
Smart Working is, therefore, a new approach to the way of working and collaborating within a company and involves three necessary steps:
1) review the employment relationship from the number of hours worked to the objectives to be achieved.
2) the relationship between manager and employee must pass from control to trust.
3) review workspaces in a smart key: with cloud technology and portable devices, the desk becomes virtual.
Agile work puts the person at the center of the organization with the aim of making his personal and professional goals converge with those of the company and increase productivity.
Italian companies, large and medium, have welcomed the new law, which has included in a regulatory framework a practice long ago already widespread in many multinationals, and has accelerated its adoption in many others, with an increase of 14% the number of smart workers in Italy, from 240,000 in 2016 to 305,000 in 2017 (source Observatory SmartWorking Politecnico di Milano).
We hope that at the end of this article, you have become familiar with the Smart Working topic and are already thinking about how to start it in your company.
This article is the first of a two-part series. The second will be more specific on the main difficulties of those companies implementing a remote work project, giving examples of successful implementation both internationally and nationally. Besides, if you have any doubt or question, feel free to write us at [email protected]