Smart Working is no longer an unknown expression. It is generally used to define an innovative management approach in human resources, which is based on raising performance and productivity by the help of an agile work model. This model is perceived as a win-win opportunity for both, employers and employees, if its pros are valued in management, and its cons can be dealt with.
How It Works
Closely related to telework, smart working is rather the evolution of it and it aims to be a more profitable way of working. Not only does it mean to work from home, but basically in any place of the world (e.g. in parks, coffee shops, airports, etc.). Smart working also means having a flexible work schedule, like coming and going when it suits, when energy cycles are at their top or simply compressing working hours to balance personal and working life. The only essential component is the use of technology to carry it out. Nowadays there are several solutions that can be implemented, ranging from the well-known Cloud to mobile devices and social business platforms. To make it short, smart working is just “anywhere, anytime, on your own device”.
Pros and Cons
There are many reasons to change from classic office work to smart work – just because the productivity of employees is not proportional to the size and number of offices! There are advantages for employers as well as for employees. While the worker benefits of more freedom and autonomy, a greater capacity to organize time (and no commuting time) as well as an improving reconciliation of work and personal life, the employer can first and foremost save money. By rationalizing and optimizing office property, the company can additionally save supplies like electricity and heating. Since the perception of the employees is of a higher quality of life, more motivation and the company being family-friendly, the employer automatically benefits of a better positioning of his employer brand. Another positive result is a reduced turnover of valuated staff as well as higher productivity, given that the work is well structured and based on clear objectives, clear strategies and clear deadlines.
In some cultures, control over quantity and quality of work is rated as very important. However, a management based on outcome and on mutual trust is in fact more effective and doubtlessly more productive. Thus, the loss of work control is a disadvantage just to some extent. It mainly requires a re-thinking of a company’s basic values and culture. Concerning the employees, there are also some disadvantages about smart working. Some staff members could feel unfairly treated, if only certain employees can work remotely. Other concerned employees might feel that work life invades their private space. Or, they might feel kind of isolated, by not having that much interaction with colleagues. In alternative, they could easily distract at home. On the other hand, smart working is not only about working from home. A co-working space could solve most of these problems and it is up on one’s own decision on where to relocate his working space. All in all, these few inconveniences compared to the benefits that smart work means, are probably worth facing.
Important Requirements for Smart Working
To make smart working function, there are only few, but important requirements. As previously mentioned, the management must give a clear frame for it: clear objectives, a clear strategy and clear deadlines. The remote-working employees must apply and respect them. On a working method basis, the essentials are mainly coordination and teamwork, good and precise communication, trust and honesty among co-workers and continuous training. The meetings need to be effective, otherwise the time agility gets lost again. Needless to say, updated technologies and functioning devices are further absolute musts for offering smart working.
All in all, there is not much needed to implement smart working. The most important is the approach behind, that, if thoroughly thought through, it turns out to be a real success for having happy employees and a positive, or even higher, performance.