During the Covid-19 emergency, millions of workers worked remotely, preserving health, ensuring business continuity and highlighting the importance of digital.
The data presented by the Observatory on Smart Working of the Politecnico di Milano speak for themselves: there were about 570 thousand Italian smart workers in 2019. They then jumped to more than six and a half million during the first lockdown, stabilizing at 5.35 million remote workers.
If suddenly, in the space of a few days, hundreds of companies have been forced to implement remote working, it means they were already able to do so, and now it's a matter of reflecting on the significance of this change, which doesn't involve the individual company or worker but the entire community. In fact, cities are going to have to be rethought because a reduction in people leads to a reduction in revenue for all those activities that work in contact with office workers. Think of bars, restaurants, cleaning services, but also of all those activities that used to serve as an outlet during the lunch break or immediately after work (gyms, swimming pools).
As a result, space needs to be rethought: the office as we have known it will change considerably.
Already with the end of the lockdown and the beginning of Phase 2 of emergency management, private companies and PAs have gradually begun to reopen offices, readjusting schedules and spaces to ensure spacing and maintaining integration between the office and remote work. Now, the trend among businesses is to take action on physical spaces by differentiating, expanding or reducing them.
According to predictions, there will be a 50 percent fixed quota of smart working workers in companies, a reorganization of space, fewer desks and more common rooms. In the most futuristic hypotheses, in the future, spaces will be open 7 days a week, even at night, to ensure complete flexibility, while respecting health and lifestyle choices.
So work will be a hybrid, with some at home and some in the office, which will increasingly become a place of corporate identity, creativity and brainstorming. The office will not disappear, on the contrary, it will become an attractive place to exchange and "steal" ideas, to share, to train. People will go to the office because in addition to work they will find something more: training courses, not only related to work but also to psycho-physical well-being.
It is clear that this is a profound transformation of work, both on a cultural and methodological level. Organizations will need to leverage enabling technology solutions to simplify and agile all activities and shorten the distance not only between their employees but also with partners, customers and suppliers.
They will need to be able to do this in a way that makes them more efficient, more efficient and more effective.
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