There are many different methods of Smart-working, characterised by certain fundamental differences. Although the expression ‘smart-working’ is often used as an umbrella term to refer to all working practices carried out away from the workplace, such a definition is far from complete.
Companies must first grasp the difference between smart-working and remote working: two concepts which, despite sharing several aspects and being efficient working methods in terms of results achieved, should be used in the correct contexts.
The difference between smart-working and remote working
Using a PC or laptop to access data and company infrastructure from the comfort of home is one aspect smart- and remote working have in common. However, there is much more to the definition than this.
While both methods use the same instruments, the two approaches are distinguished by the so-called assessment of investment returns. In the case of remote working, people work a certain number of hours, focussing on production continuity, while in smart-working, people work towards specific objectives (ensuring greater efficiency and a higher level of productivity).
Although the differences between the two methods of smart-working mentioned above may seem slight, they have a decisive effect on the final results, depending on the approach the company decides to adopt.
We might conclude then that remote working is an evolution of tele-working, while smart-working signifies a real step towards the digitalisation of companies.
What must companies do in order to introduce efficient smart-working?
Now that we have clarified the definition of smart-working, it is important to look at the key points to bear in mind to organise home working as well as possible and keep production levels high.
The first, and perhaps most important point, is to abandon the idea of the time card. If the company is aiming for efficient performance, employees must not be restricted by rigid working hours. It is better to focus on daily objectives and leave the employee the freedom to organise their work in order to achieve those objectives.
Together with this new approach in results assessment, it is imperative that companies also adjust their internal organisational procedures. In particular, they must aim to develop company processes and control mechanisms which can be adapted to remote working.
Providing employees with reliable instruments and tools is relatively straightforward nowadays, because there is no shortage of technologies designed to facilitate smart-working, such as high performance desktops, high level security criteria and virtualised work stations.
The one thing that has remained behind as regards Italian smart-working, is the mind-set. Unfortunately, not all companies have realised how efficient and profitable this operational approach can be, if well organised and supported. Working towards integrating digital procedures into production processes is therefore crucial.
Why choose remote working
Remote working brings so-called transversal economic benefits. One important example is the savings to be made in terms of energy consumption. With a well organised system, working from home can reduce logistic expenses, including the cost of fuel and electricity to light company buildings.
An intelligent use of time and work flow (bringing positive results in the long term) is the other plus factor of smart-working that should not be underestimated. Employees can organise their day to suit themselves, with a lower level of stress and a consequent increase in productivity.
Translated by Joanne Beckwith