Smart working, also known as agile working, has entered into the lives of millions of people with arrogance as the emergency solution that replaced office working during the quarantine period. Since the implementation of covid measures in the workplace, the (inevitable) interest for this new way of working has increased exponentially and it has led both employers and employees, to reconsider their choices.
Apparently, working from home brings with it a number of positive consequences from which everyone can benefit, absolutely everyone, environment included. According to a study entitled “Added Value of Flexible Working” carried out by Development Economics, a company dealing with market research, and commissioned by the supplier of workspaces Regus, smart working would reduce CO2 levels by about 214 million tons per year, the equivalent amount of carbon dioxide removed from the atmosphere by 5.5 billion trees.
If you only think that a person generally spend between 1 hour and 1 hour and a half every day in the commute to and from work, and that at least half of them travel by car; calculating an average of 20 km per day for five working days a week, it would be more or less 400 km in a month, about 5200 km per year, that each person would save in terms of fuel purchases and CO2 emissions.
Fewer cars on the road would also mean less traffic and consequently less noise pollution, as well as much less stress. Furthermore, by staying at home, workers would be prone to using less plastic as they would have the opportunity to use their own disheware.
Working from home would also result in significant cost savings for both employees and employers. If an employee, by avoiding to travel 5200 km a year in a hatchback, would save around 1800 euros in fuel saving in addition to the reduction of expenses related to the deterioration of the car that will obviously have a lower impact, companies will be able to boast an up to 10 thousand euros saving for each employee. How? First of all by economising on office maintenance related expenses: from rent to property taxes, from heating / air conditioning to electricity and cleaning of the workplace. In other words, the employers’ management costs would diminish dramatically, having a positive impact on profits as well.
Benefits are not yet finished. Remote working, thanks to the elimination of the commute from and to work and to a greater flexibility, would have positive effects on work-life balance, giving workers some precious time to spend with their families or to dedicate to hobbies. And as several studies show, a happy employee is a more productive employee. This is what workers themselves think. According to a survey led by a Milan based service company called The Innovation Group, 6 out of 10 employees were happy with the working-from-home experience and would like to keep doing it in the future.
Although smart working has actually been a thing for a while and although are several people have been using it for quite a while now, until recently companies were reluctant to adopt this new working method mainly due to the impossibility of controlling the actual working hours of employees. Currently, the percentage of “smart workers” is still quite low compared to the potential number of people who could move their office home.
In the meantime, a smart working bonus has been established in the Netherlands, which would increase employees’ salaries by approximately 363 euros, thought to cover the costs that employees, by working from home, have to bear at their own expense, such as internet connection, electricity and heating, but also the consumption of tea, coffee and toilet paper. Computers and telephones are excluded from the calculation, as they are already considered to be takenh over by the employers.