In Italy, smart work has officially entered into a direct negotiation between the worker and the company, thus stabilizing a practice that experienced an explosion during the pandemic. Here are the steps to follow to find out how to ask for smart work during their employment relationship,

Smart working 2024: figures and regulations

With the regulatory update of April 1, which recalls Law no. 81/2017, Italy is moving from an emergency vision to a permanent smart working strategy. This change requires new agreements between employers and workers. Before the pandemic, smart working affected 570,000 people, while the lockdown saw a peak of 6.5 million people using this form of work. Today, the figures vary: around 2 million in the private sector, with a predominance in large companies and growth also in SMEs and public administration.

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Profitable remote work models

Large companies in our country, such as Intesa Sanpaolo and Lavazza, are adopting flexible work models, demonstrating a growing interest in solutions that promote balance and productivity.

A distinctive example is SACE’s “Flex4Future” model, which offers flexible hours and structured smart working. Employees can freely choose a day off during the week, maintaining a constant time commitment. They can also choose when to stay and work from home or when to do it in the company on an unlimited basis. This system not only increases worker autonomy, but also improves time management and production efficiency.

How to negotiate this opportunity

For Italian workers, negotiating smart working requires a proactive approach. Here's how to ask your employer for smart working:

  • Evaluate your needs: Identify aspects of flexible working that are important, such as remote working hours or days.
  • Prepare a detailed proposal: you have to think with the benefits to the business in mind, such as increased productivity and reduced costs.
  • Contact your direct superior or personnel manager: outline the smart work request in a formal meeting, focusing attention on the benefits of the request and also sending written communication.
  • Think about personal motivations: calculate the cost of living in the desired location and the costs for the business.
  • Show flexibility: find a compromise that satisfies both parties, demonstrating an understanding of the needs of the business.

Law no. 81/2017 (published here in the Official Journal) highlights all these steps and emphasizes how the written form of the request is necessary for the administrative regularity of the requested change of employment.

Advantages and limitations of smart working

Businesses can benefit from implementing flexible work policies that take into account the needs of employees. The consequences are highlighted in this Good news article: Increased satisfaction and productivity. Technology facilitates remote communication and collaboration, making remote work more efficient.

Smart working and social isolation

However, smart working also has limitations to consider. One of the main ones is social isolation, which can occur due to reduced daily interactions between colleagues. Another problem is the difficulty of separating work from private life, as the lack of clear boundaries can lead to excessive workload. Finally, cybersecurity presents a challenge because protecting company data becomes more complex when working remotely.

In Italy, the future of smart work depends on the capacity to adapt and innovate. With careful planning and supportive legislation, smart working can become a norm, contributing to an optimal work-life balance and a more flexible working environment, oriented towards team results rather than quantity hours worked in the company.

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