Smart working: advantages and opportunities

The forced isolation in the North of Italy caused by the Coronavirus emergency led many companies to reconsider their idea of work and open up to the possibility of smart working (or agile working): in this article we will try to clarify how it works and list the main advantages for organisations and workers. 



Smart working can be defined as one kind of employment relationship settled by agreement between the parties, organised through phases, cycles and goals and without any schedule or place constraints, with the possibility of using technological tools to work. 

In short, it means letting workers carry out their tasks out of company headquarters (e.g. at home or in temporary work spaces) and be able to manage time more freely. This is where smart working is different from home working or telecommuting, which means moving the workplace still keeping significant limitations in terms of space and schedule: agile working is based on achieving goals and results in a much more flexible way. 

Nevertheless it is clear that, even with many customization options, the working day needs to be organized in order to respect contingencies related to clients or project team members: flexibility can be constrained when people’s work depends on each other, to ensure that everyone reach their goals and respect deadlines.



In Italy, to use this way of working a company needs to sign individual agreements for each employee involved, according to Law No. 81/2017 and Circular No. 48/2017 by INAIL (National Institute for Insurance against Accidents at Work). It provides for the same economic and regulatory treatment as traditional ways of work. 

With the escalation of the Coronavirus emergency, the Italian Ministry of Labour and Social Policies has taken measures to ease the spread of smart working, in order to guarantee business continuity. The Prime Ministerial Decree (DPCM) of 23 February 2020 gives any company within the areas at risk the chance to introduce smart working even without an individual agreements, only requiring a self-declaration



After having understood what smart working is and how it works, we can think about all the advantages it may bring to workers, companies and environment. 


The first and biggest advantage comes from working by objectives: acting with a defined goal, the worker is often more motivated and engaged. Free from the stress caused by travelling to the office – transportation, meeting schedules, the office environment itself – employees can manage their time autonomously, working when it’s truly necessary to reach the goal, and not just to “fill” the standard eighth hour shift. Moreover, thanks to smart working it is possible to organise the working day according to one’s needs, setting when to start, finish or take a break in order to have time to oneself: exercising, sharing a meal with the family, bringing kids to school or running errands become possible without taking time from work, but simply reorganising it


Talking about companies, smart working requires more accountability for all employees, and at the same time frees higher hierarchy levels from the need of continuous control over others’ work: meetings becomes shorter and more focused and there are less unnecessary breaks

Thinking by objectives moves the focus from work itself to achieving the objective: there is no more control over what employees do hour by hour or day by day, the important thing is that they reach the goal by the set deadlines. This implies for sure to pay more attention to medium to long-term results and requires strong project management skills, both at the company and at the worker level.


Talking in general, smart working has an impact on the environment: less transfers mean less traffic and therefore less pollution

Trying to learn from the Coronavirus emergency, smart working also seems a great solution to prevent the spreading of diseases: not only epidemies, but also a much more common flu could be less contagious if employees had the possibility to work from elsewhere when the first symptoms arise, even without stopping to work. 

Last but not least, a company prepared for smart working is more resistant to external factor: being able to work everywhere and whenever you want guarantees business continuity, therefore limits possible crisis caused by forced interruptions. 


It’s true that smart working is not a suitable solution for everyone, but it is also true that many companies let fear of losing control over employees stop them. Luckily or not, we can’t stop the evolution towards new models: it becomes fundamental not to be unprepared


Do you want to know how to introduce smart working in your company? Contact us at and we will design a tailored solution



Law 22 May 2017, No. 81
INAIL Circular No. 48/2017
DPCM 23 February 2020, No. 6



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