Venicecom’s Aluisio: “These days it is widely used by large companies. A cultural leap is needed for SMEs.”
The Coronavirus CRISIS now represents on the one hand a DANGER (not only from a health point of view, but also in relation to theeconomic slowdown and the consequent loss of jobs), but on the other hand a great OPPORTUNITY to use smart working more as an enabling methodology for the evolution of work culture and organization by objectives, from a green perspective.
But on one condition: companies need to be able to set precise goals for remote work, measuring their staff only on quantitative results achieved and not on effort or physical presence at work.
“Today we talk about smart working as an opportunity to cope with an exceptional situation, but this can be an opportunity to reflect and introduce innovative forms of work organization.” Pierluigi Aluisio, head of Venicecom, a company founded in 1997 and headquartered on Via della Pila in Porto Marghera, is convinced of this, a company that could be called a pocket-sized multinational, dealing, among other things, with platforms and software for personnel management, with clients such as Generali, Eni or, to stay in the city, Actv. In recent days, a decree of the Prime Minister introduced the possibility of activating the “agile” working mode even in the absence of an individual agreement, in private companies and also in public administrations. “Like all crises,” Aluisio argues, “this one can be turned into an opportunity.”
Aluisio, moving from office work to smart working overnight. But how is it done?
“In large companies, those that have platforms and software in place to ensure their employees can work quietly from home, or anywhere else, smart working has increased these days. We see it, to take one example, in the assistance we provide. Phone calls no longer come to us from the office location, but from employees’ cell phones. They can work from home as if they were in the office.” A reflection valid only for certain categories of workers. “Sure: If you have to drive a bus to work on a lathe, you have to go to the company. But there are many more workers than you think who can take advantage of smart working. I think of public administration: there are programs that allow you to follow tenders from home. Electronic signatures and digital certificates can be done anywhere.”
Which roles are most suitable?
“Managerial roles, which are often the first to ask for this opportunity, and operational figures who deal with, for example, customer service or code writing, whose goals are always measurable. As for intermediate figures, it is much more complicated, depending on the need for coordination within ‘a staff, the need to work as a team. In any case, it is always better to alternate smart working days and days in the office, to avoid fraying relationships, maintain the relationship between company and employee.”
How many of your employees take advantage of smart working?
“Since the coronavirus outbreak we are down to two-thirds of managers and one-third of operational staff.”
Large companies are equipped. But what about the SMEs that make up the fabric of Veneto?
“In small and medium-sized companies, there are two obstacles: the first is the poor digitization of many businesses. The second has to do with the culture of entrepreneurs, in some cases el paròn who needs to see everyone at work in the office. More modern managers bring more innovative leadership, in which the concept of worker empowerment replaces that of control. Workers’ performance should be measured by the goals they achieve, not by the hours they sit in the office. But the capacity of companies must also be in the ability to provide clear and precise goals. This often does not happen.”
Is there also an infrastructure network problem?
“No, as far as Veneto is concerned this problem is not there.”
In your experience what is the reaction of workers to this type of labor relationship?
“In most cases positive. Getting to work, especially in big cities, costs money and time. And in many cases there is eating out. However, there are also cases of failure because in working from home, employees have to be able to organize themselves; it is an opportunity that you have to be able to manage.”
Should you decide, does smart working benefit companies or employees more?
“I don’t want to pit them against each other. Smart working allows companies to change their mindset by setting goals that they must be able to measure. But it also allows them, trivially, to save on the cost of work locations. Workers have the ability to manage their work hours better, but they have more responsibility in organizing their day.”