The coronavirus epidemic we are experiencing has accelerated the process of spreading smart work, now translated as “agile work”, which appeared already in the seventies of the last century in the form of telework. In reality the two concepts are not fully overlapping: smart working takes advantage of the current expansion of internet networks and connection tools, from computers to smartphones, tablets, allowing you to use a free workstation, your own home or an outdoor public or private place, as long as it has a data connection. Law 81/2017 established the regulatory basis for this new way of working, focusing on organizational flexibility and voluntariness of the parties (company and worker). It is also guaranteed to the smart worker equality of treatment compared to those who work with ordinary methods even in cases of accidents and occupational diseases.
The growth of smart working
The Smart Working Observatory of Politecnico di Milano (born in 2012) annually monitors the diffusion in Italy of this new working model. If in 2018 it was estimated that there were about 480,000 smart workers, 2019 saw an increase in the number to 570,000. Large companies have started earlier, but also SMEs and the Public Administration have started to implement in recent years formal (12% of public bodies) or informal smart working projects (18%).
The Covid-19 emergency led to a series of government decrees and regulations (Law Decree no. 18 of March 17, 2020, converted into Law 27/2020, Law Decree 34 of May 19, 2020; Prime Ministerial Decree of April 26, 2020) aimed at simplifying the procedures for the implementation of smart working. As a result, its application has been extended: the Infojobs Smart Working 2020 survey (March 2020, carried out on 189 companies and 1149 candidates) found that 72% of companies had introduced this mode of work, with more than half activating it for the first time. A study by CGIL and Fondazione Di Vittorio estimates that 8 million workers have been employed in this way in recent months. Others lower the estimate to half, but the increase compared to the past is still very high.
And the future? In the banking sector, the smart working model seems to be becoming the norm. In London, asset management company Schroders has decided to activate flexible working all week on a permanent basis. The Lombardy Region has launched a call for tender that allocates €4.5 million in grants for smart working projects. The Minister for Public Administration, F.Dadone, has the objective to maintain 30-40% of the staff in smart working and increase this quota in 2021.
Smart working software and staff management
As a result, companies must equip themselves, and quickly. There is no shortage of synchronous communication tools, document archiving tools, videoconferencing tools, etc. But it is more and more important to have HR platforms that allow time attendance, vacation and leave management, travel and personnel expense reports in the cloud. Even communication between bosses and employees has to find new ways, such as a company chat, since whatsapp or telegram should only be used for the private sphere.
The new challenges concern the remote monitoring of projects, the organizational and operational autonomy that must be acquired by the worker: therefore, planning and project reporting software becomes necessary to maintain visibility on the progress of the work, even remotely.
HR-Assistant offers these tools in an integrated and cloud-based way and therefore allows you to look with cautious optimism at a future full of stimuli but also of unknowns, for which you are never quite prepared.