The Internet has had a massive impact on our lives, our day-to-day life, on our personal relationships and, for many of us, on our job as well; an unthinkable impact only a decade ago.
This is not a consideration dictated by an overconfidence in technology, obvious flaw of this BLOG, but a consequence of a constant action of studying, of gathering relevant evidence, numerical and social, often way to high our expectations.
The “smart working” clearly represents another, evident, example of the change caused by the network, an example to tell.
I would like to avoid any possible misunderstanding: “smart working” is not the literary translation from English of the term “teleworking”. If we want to quickly translate this term, word-for-word, probably the most appropriate definition is “dynamic working” or even better “efficient working“.
This is not just about relocating the working activity, working at home; this is about modifying it by introducing new dynamic elements such as the possibility of using videoconference tools or sharing documents and multimedia material through the cloud. We consider reasonable enough, even if superficial, the comparison between teleworking and smart working and, equally, the “ordinary” cell phone and smartphone. In both cases the “smart tools” represent a new generation versus the old one, a new ubiquitous way, interactive and social.
To tell you the truth we are not particularly opting for the term “smart”, used way too much in the recent past, but we totally agree with the “smart” devices, state-of-the-art phones, tablets, e-readers and personal computers. They are the reference “tools” not only for communicating and relating in our personal life but, more and more often, indispensable tools in our everyday working environment.
The “smart devices” can be used in a restaurant, in the waiting room of a station or of an airport, in a library, on a subway or a train. They may also establish new connections between people as well as new working situations.
The efficient working or smart working does not produce benefits only to those living dynamic working situations, itinerant, “of manager” so to speak, in most cases also helps to reach a diametrically opposed purpose by reducing the traveling and simplifying this way our own lifestyle: less traveling, less polluting, working better.
In the previous article we had highlighted one of the reasons why the social networks are successful, and that is because the urban model is unable to guarantee easy and safe travels. So to avoid traffic jams as well as thousand insecurities, one prefers to socialize from home through a video screen.
The same (we assume positive) dynamics is spreading in the world of work; we can work in team, share activities, post, tweet, communicate and think “in team”, while being in pajamas at the kitchen table; a small revolution, at least until now.
The internet user, the one we often call cybernaut, has learned during these years to comment online and to communicate through social tools. This “smart” user, manages his work communications via email; he produces and reads digital documentation that, more and more often, places and shares online through the cloud; he searches via search engines or wiki, forums or specialised websites useful information regarding his own job, examples and comments; he dynamically joins groups of people sharing the same hashtags.
It is not surprising the fact that, in 2014, in the Italian Chamber has been presented a transversal proposal, signed by Irene Tinagli (Scelta Civica), Alessia Mosca (Pd) and Barbara Saltamartini (Ncd), aimed precisely at sustaining and standardising the smart working from the legislative point of view.
The new technologies implemented at work, represent indeed a great opportunity allowing the persons to live their own spaces and, at the same time, a coherent and dignified working reality. Equally, a society that limits travelling to what is strictly necessary and provides tools which promote a fast sharing of contents is facilitated in terms of innovation, thought, production and so on…
It is obvious that, with the smart working is not to be reset the component “Vis-à-vis “, which remains central, predominant. However, technology can, in some cases, provide new working alternatives, new relational crosses.
Nor should we be surprised that from 2014, with repetition in March 2015, the Municipality of Milan has launched “The Efficient working Day” (“Giornata del lavoro agile“) precisely in order to share solutions and experiences.
To be honest, it is not surprising neither the fact that the bipartisan proposal described earlier has ever been acted upon. It seems that a further proposal by Maurizio del Conte, lecturer of Labour Law, with the support of the Prime Minister Matteo Renzi is under development.
The “smart working” will inevitably follow a path full of obstacles. This is just the beginning, standardising “impalpable” smart working situations is anything but an easy operation. It is necessary to define politics of specific policy and in line both with the demands of the employer and the fast technological changes introduced by web and inside the devices as well as with the working requirements of the employees “otherwise located“. We wonder, for example, of whom is the propriety of a document placed on the cloud? What rights has the company that provides the computers (servers) where the material is placed, if these rights are lost after a certain period of time, if the company that manages the cloud or the network connection can analyse the working documentation statistically for trade purposes and if it can provide these processed contents to third party? We also wonder how it would be possible, in a relationship for objectives, to protect the employee, to build appropriate organizational and administrative infrastructures and to check the achievement of the objectives. Of equal importance is to guarantee the employee the proper breaks, a healthy and opportune alternation between virtual working spaces and daily life, the real one. The risk of being “always connected” and therefore always available and always operational is tangible.
Smart working does not mean working non-stop.
Despite these perplexities and the absence of a legislation platform (in Italy), the smart working is rising sharply, as already shown in other articles devoted to changes produced by network. The internet is acting as injector providing tools as well as a transnational push, especially in cases where the “real world” appears to be deeply unsatisfactory (and this is certainly one of those cases). If the novelty is positively welcomed by network, the real world can only take note of the change.
To be frank, statistics in hand, the Italian management, public and privatised, including political class, except for some valuable exceptions, has not yet understood the potentialities involved in this “small revolution”. It is not yet ready to appraise its own resources for objective; it is not used to motivate its own resources, especially those of long-distance; it often follows a conservative approach distrusting the technologies which uses only by proxy; it is more careful of monitoring the physical presence, rather than encouraging innovation and career development.
An efficient way of working can improve the quality of life and consequently have an impact on productivity, motivation, earning power, learning and renovating of the individual.
We are just at the beginning of a new long process that mankind must follow. We are still confused regarding the possible perspectives, but we have already understood that it is necessary, maybe urgent, to reconsider the working models fully in line with the opportunities provided by the network and with the demands coming from the labor market.
We conclude by underlining, in a restrict world of work and in a serious crisis, some of the most important prospects given by the “smart working”: the opportunity to recruit people located elsewhere, the opportunity to hire competent people who don’t have the possibility to travel long distances every day , the opportunity to spend their time and energies on working and not on traffic, the opportunity to instantly share the material produced, the opportunity to attribute to a common factor one’s own ideas “in real time”, the opportunity to create dynamic and transnational working groups in line with the goal to be achieved.
We are sure that many of us will live, in the next ten years, these new working opportunities; they will do it in “our” World 2.0.