The pandemic has allowed us to evaluate the real possibility of using “remote work”, called Smart Working, Agile Work, Home Working, Telework, Work from Home … depending on the industrial sector or the type of organization. In this regard, we would like to avoid any misunderstanding about the nomenclature used, because we would like to focus on the advantages and disadvantages of “working remotely” – from the point of view of the company, the employee and the environment – regardless of its possible contractual implications.

To do this we used a recent research, conducted by Politecnico di Milano (*), which summarized the following advantages for companies:

  • a general improvement in productivity, which is estimated in the order of 15% (particularly in the case where the organization is ready to work towards objectives and is equipped with useful tools to monitor the quality of the work performed and the achievement of the objectives);
  • a general reduction in absenteeism;
  • a significant reduction in costs associated with physical spaces (e.g. rent, maintenance, security service, energy saving, …) and operating tools, even more so if BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) mode is used, referring to devices and IT connections made available by the worker.

The main advantages for the worker are the following:

  • the reduction of transfer times and costs (not only for the journey from home to work, but also in contact with suppliers and customers);
  • the improvement of the work-life balance (especially if family commitments often intersect with working hours);
  • a general increase in the motivation and satisfaction of the home worker.

The advantages for the environment are the reduction of CO2 emissions (due to less warming and less use of private vehicles), a reduction in traffic and a better use of public transport, all to the advantage of air quality, particularly critical in large metropolitan areas.

But there is also the other side of the coin.

Many companies have highlighted critical issues related to the lack of technology and digital skills. In fact, in these periods, data breaches (access and theft of business and personal data) have increased exponentially, linked to the increase in the perimeter of IT security, whose boundaries often include corporate devices and networks used privately by the worker. Furthermore, many companies that provided services related to the physical offices (eg cleaning, security, catering, maintenance) had to downsize their staff due to the sharp reduction in their business. Another disadvantage is the loss of the direct relationship with employees and colleagues which cannot be replaced by various video calls and video meetings, which we consider only palliative tools. Not to mention the recruitment interviews on which we have already expressed our opinion in a recent blog. In this regard, we like to emphasize that companies are not only made up of individual workers, gathered in an organization chart and subject to the same procedures, but also by people who make their expertise and professionalism available within a common corporate “feeling” .

The employees highlighted a certain difficulty in separating the times and spaces provided for work from those dedicated to private life (we verified the lack of isolated spaces for working and the presence of small and promiscuous rooms, particularly in metropolitan cities). There is a difficulty in balancing work-life (we highlighted how much domestic work still weighs on the shoulders of female employees and how much the care of the children affects the working time of the family). There is a perception of a sense of isolation and abandonment on the part of the company organization, supported by the lack of direct informal relationships with colleagues and superiors (it was missed the “coffee break”, which was intended to strengthen alliances, resolve any minor contrasts and pooling the empirical ways of solving bureaucratic-organizational problems).

Our company ACTION ICT is an IT services company, specialized in the production of technological software, which already boasted a way of working based on projects and objectives; therefore it found itself at an advantage in the use of smart working, both in the period in which it had to apply it in an emergency form to all its staff and later as a useful tool in rethinking its organizational model with goal of facilitating the work-life balance of its employees.

(*) – Politecnico di Milano


ACTION ICT (February 2022)

ACTION ICT is a young, dynamic and innovative IT company. It operates, both nationally and internationally, offering professional skills and design solutions in the ICT field to medium and large businesses. Our highly skilled know-how is housed in three expertise specific departments: ACTION DATA (Big Data Analytics and Artificial Intelligence), ACTION APP (Web & Mobile Application) and ACTION IOT (Internet of Things and Robotics).

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