PANDEMIC AS A DIGITAL ACCELERATOR: THE FUTURE OF WORK
Smart working or home working?
The pandemic has changed the world of work for both young and old generations. For the past months, professionals and managers have been experiencing new ways of doing business. Some consider it appropriate to talk about smart working, while others prefer to talk about "forced" home working.
Smart working and home working are not synonyms, even though they both lead to the same end: relocating the workplace.
The dematerialization of the fixed workplace will be the new era of employment. Smart working and home working are and will be the tools that companies will look for in order to organize their activities and to reduce fixed costs.
In the home working context, the employee performs the work at home, following the office hours with the same responsibilities and the same tasks.
At the work level the company should not feel the absence of the employee, as if he had never been away from the office. While at the technical level the company is required to ascertain the security levels at home and all the needed devices.
Smart working, unlike home working, represents flexible mode of the same employment relationship.
Pros and Cons
Home working offers multiple benefits to both workers and businesses. Employers have seen an increase in employee productivity (as it can be shown by numerous studies), and workers have saved travel time between home and office. A work mode with no hourly constraints and greater ability to manage work-life balance.
Working from home has allowed many companies to hire personnel from all over the world, thus cutting those fixed costs related to rent and energy. Last but not least, tele-working is environmentally friendly thanks to traffic calming and less pollution.
Despite the many positive aspects recognized, working from home can present even some critical aspects. It is necessary to keep the spaces and areas of the day dedicated to work separate from those for the family, and to avoid continuous distractions and interruptions while working. Working from home can create the misconception of being available at all times.
Sometimes it is even possible to feel "cut off" from information and contacts that we would prefer to share with colleagues and superiors, and to miss the exchange of ideas and insights typical of teamwork. In fact, a common sense of isolation from the organization has been perceived by people working from home.
Moreover, from the organizations point of view, the emergency application of Smart Working has led to some critical issues, mainly linked to the lack of technology and digital skills.
However, it is generally agreed that agile working has been a valuable experience that will tend to become a structural phenomenon, and this will necessarily entail a strong change for workers, companies, institutions, and unions.