16 March 2024

Smart working and corporate welfare: a new "agile" way of working

After the advent of the Covid-19 pandemicin 2019-2020, the term "smart working" became part of our daily dictionary, but in reality smart working was already born in the 1970s and was implemented in Italy with the entry into force of Law no. 81/2017.

Although everyone knows this English term by now, what exactly are we talking about? Let's take stock of what is meant by "agile working", how it is regulated, how it works and what its advantages are.

What is meant by “smart working” or “agile working”?

Agile working, also called with the pseudo-Anglicism of smart working , is a form of teleworking, which Italian law defines as:

«a method of carrying out the employment relationship established by agreement between the parties, also with forms of organization by phases, cycles and objectives and without precise constraints on time or place of work, with the possible use of technological tools for carrying out of the work activity."

Smart working is therefore a way of working that allows employees to carry out their tasks from places outside the traditional office, often using technology to communicate with colleagues and manage work activities.

This modality can therefore also include the possibility of working from home, from remote locations or in coworking spaces.

The main features of smart working include:

● flexibility of working hours,

● the possibility of organizing work independently,

● the use of digital tools, to communicate and collaborate with the team.

This approach can lead to greater reconciliation between professional and personal life (work life balance), as well as a potential reduction in travel and costs associated with the traditional office.

Smart working has become particularly relevant with the advent of digital technologies, capable of allowing remote communication and collaborative work, and has gained further interest - as we were saying - during the COVID-19 pandemic, when many organizations have adopted this mode, to allow employees to continue working safely from home.

When is smart working a right? Smart working and fragile workers

In the current context, smart working is mistakenly considered a privilege, but this is not the case!

When the type of work allows it, the possibility of working remotely is considered a right in certain cases, such as for those who:

have dependent children under 14 years of age;

have disabled children;

they are considered "fragile workers"*.

*The concept of "fragile workers" refers to people who are in particularly vulnerable working situations or who may be more susceptible to risks and difficulties in the workplace.

This category can include different types of workers, including:

● workers with disabilities;

● older workers;

● migrant or foreign workers;

● workers with mental health problems;

● workers with precarious contracts.

In general, fragile workers are those who may need particular attention and support from employers and institutions, to guarantee them a safe, fair and inclusive working environment.

How many days of smart working can you do?

There is no precise rule on the amount of minimum days of smart working. Smart working can be applied fully to work activities or be considered a partial or occasional coverage tool.

The days of the week during which you can work in smart working are in fact the result of the agreement between employee and employer and remote working can be applied for a single day or the entire working week, for example. There are no restrictions or specific indications in this regard.

Hybrid or total Smart Working?

The choice between hybrid or total smart working therefore depends on the specific needs of the company, the type of activities carried out and the preferences of the employees.

Let's see the characteristics of both.

Hybrid smart working

This approach combines remote working with being in the office. Employees work from home a certain number of days a week and spend the rest of the time in the office. This model can be advantageous for companies that wish to maintain a certain physical presence in the office, to encourage collaboration, the exchange of ideas and corporate culture, but at the same time want to offer flexibility to employees, to reduce travel and improve productivity. balancing work and personal life, but also as a sustainable choice.

Total smart working

In this case, employees work exclusively remotely and do not need to go to the office. This model can be adopted by companies that wish to maintain this way of working in the long term, to also reduce office and transport costs, improve employee satisfaction and attract talent even from different regions or states, expanding the possibilities for growth .

Both models have advantages and disadvantages and the choice obviously depends on the needs and specific priorities of the company.

Some companies may also opt for a combination of the two approaches, allowing employees to work remotely most of the time, but requiring them to be in the office for important meetings or occasional specific tasks.

Smart working and corporate welfare

Always within the limits of feasibility, smart working is also considered a form of corporate welfare, as offering the possibility of working in a more " flexible " way, albeit respecting the set hours, can positively improve the worker's well-being.

Smart working is therefore among the corporate welfare benefits , which include:

flexibility and well-being of employees

Smart working offers employees the flexibility to manage their time and work space more autonomously. This flexibility can contribute to the well-being of employees, allowing them to better balance work with family and personal commitments. Corporate welfare, on the other hand, is concerned with promoting the overall well-being of employees through a variety of initiatives and benefits, such as healthcare programs, mental health support, work-life balance policies, and other forms supporting.

Welfare initiatives for remote workers

Companies can integrate specific welfare programs for smart working workers. These programs may include access to telehealth services, home office furnishing subsidies, support for managing stress and work-life balance, as well as access to online training and professional development courses.

Promotion of engagement and productivity

Investing in corporate welfare, including initiatives aimed at smart working workers, can help increase employee engagement and satisfaction, reducing cases of disaffection at work. Happy and satisfied employees tend to be - as we know - also much more productive and engaged in their work.

Attractiveness as an employer

Companies that offer well-structured smart working programs and a wide range of welfare initiatives may be perceived as more attractive employers. This can help improve company reputation and attract and retain high-quality talent.

Green company

Finally, smart working is also a concrete way to reduce polluting emissions from means of transport and promote a healthier and more sustainable lifestyle.

In summary, corporate welfare, by supporting employees who work in smart working mode, can promote their well-being and productivity and contribute to creating a positive and sustainable working environment.

Pros and cons of smart working

Smart working therefore offers a series of advantages and disadvantages, both for employees and companies.

Here are some pros and cons of working remotely.

The advantages of smart working


Employees can manage their time more flexibly, adapting their working hours to personal and family needs.

Better balance between work and personal life

Smart working allows employees to avoid commuting and spend more time with family or dedicate themselves to personal activities.

Increased productivity

Much research indicates that smart working employees can be more productive , thanks to the absence of distractions typical of the office environment and the possibility of working in a more comfortable environment.


Daily travel to the workplace entails costs for employees in terms of transport and meals outside the home. Smart working can reduce these costs, but also the employer's expenses for office management.

The disadvantages of smart working

Social isolation

Working remotely can lead to a greater sense of isolation, as employees don't physically interact with colleagues and managers.

Communication and collaborative difficulties

Communication and collaboration can be more complex when employees work remotely, especially for tasks that require close real-time interaction and brainstorming .

Lack of boundaries between work and personal life

Without physical separation between the office and home, some employees may struggle to completely switch off from work, leading to excessive stress and decreased mental well-being.

Difficulty in supervision

Some managers may struggle to monitor the activities of smart working employees, leading to concerns about productivity and task completion.

In summary, smart working can have many pros, but also some cons, but the reality of the facts is that:

not everyone is suitable for smart working

In fact, not all employees - based on their personal nature - are able to maintain the right level of concentration, regardless of the workplace, and to separate their private and working lives, even when working from home. Furthermore, experience is also fundamental; a Junior figure is obviously less suitable for remote work.

Not all jobs allow you to work remotely and in some cases it can be more complex than in others.

● Trust is key!

In summary, smart working offers a series of advantages related to flexibility and productivity, but also presents challenges related to communication, collaboration and maintaining employee well-being.

Its effectiveness depends on adequate risk management and the creation of a corporate culture that promotes work-life balance.

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