Remote work has revolutionised the way we work. Discover in this guide all the innovations and the 6 rules to make it work. Hybrid remote work or other forms of it are increasingly widespread as a work arrangement in both large and small companies. But what does remote work mean?
It refers to a way of performing work remotely, enjoying particular flexibility and autonomy. It began to spread, following the pandemic, when a large portion of businesses activated smart working systems. This was done to meet the new needs arising from travel and interpersonal contact limitations.
Consequently, the number of agile workers in our country has grown exponentially in recent years, involving both private companies and public administration. Therefore, it is essential to understand how to implement smart working in the private sector and in public administration.
According to research, during the most acute period of the health emergency, 97% of large companies and 58% of small and medium-sized enterprises resorted to smart work. Once that phase was over, however, the percentage of “agile” companies remained fairly high, at over 80%.
One thing is certain: the world of work has changed and having digital skills is no longer an option. Thanks to the Digital Marketing Certification, you will finally be ready to face an ever-changing working world. An increasingly competitive reality, in which you need new skills and abilities to be a protagonist of the digital revolution.
In the article, I will explain:
- What is meant by remote work
- What the pillars of smart working are and its benefits
- The relationship between digital skills and agile work
Furthermore, I will provide you with some guidelines on how to do remote work successfully:
- Implementing a result-based approach to work.
- Keeping personal and professional life separate.
- Encouraging interactions and teamwork.
What does Remote Work mean?
The definition of remote work, according to the Ministry of Labour and Social Policies “is a mode of execution of the subordinate employment relationship, characterized by the absence of time or space constraints and an organization by phases, cycles, and objectives, established by agreement between employee and employer”.
On the other hand, we speak of simplified smart working when, in order to facilitate its implementation, an agreement between the parties is not mandatory.
What does smart working mean in practice? The concept of remote work implies the possibility of working flexibly and autonomously to achieve agreed professional goals. As there is no rigidity of place and time, the result is a better work-life balance, which also has a positive effect on the productivity of the smart worker.
The ability to manage workloads independently shifts the focus of activities more to quality than to the quantity of time spent working. This does not mean that there is a lack of regulation of activities. In fact, the company and worker agree on availability, activities, breaks, tools, and remuneration.
Nowadays, however, the English expression “remote work” is often used to refer to agile work or telecommuting. But it’s not quite the same: there are differences, and it’s important not to confuse them.
Remote work and agile working
What is the difference between remote work and agile working? The two terms have so many aspects in common that they seem to correspond. In reality, there is a substantial difference which concerns, in the case of agile working, the absence of a hierarchy of roles.
In the latter case, in fact, there is a differentiation of skills but there is no hierarchical relationship: everyone is at the same level.
In this article, following the trend of common language, I will use the terms remote work and agile working equivalently, referring to the many common aspects and glossing over the differentiating element.
Difference between remote work and teleworking
People often talk about teleworking and remote work as if they were the same thing.
In reality, both are models of organization in remote working, made possible by the development of information and communication technologies, but they are not the same thing.
Indeed, remote work:
- it is a type of work activity that was created offline and therefore to be done physically inside an office, in the company, but which is then partially or totally brought online.
- it envisages extensive autonomy on the part of the worker, who manages the time and space of his or her own activity and is regulated by an agreement between the employee and the company.
All this implies a profound rethinking of the relationship between the company and workers with benefits for all parties involved and for society in general.
On the other hand, teleworking refers to digitally native activities that are designed to offer products and services that can be digitized and delivered online. Therefore, they are entirely carried out via the web, either from home or at the office. In teleworking, the employee occupies a fixed workstation and follows the regular working hours, remaining tied to temporal, spatial, and instrumental constraints.
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Remote Work and changes in the world of work
How has remote work revolutionized the world of work? Remote working has brought irreversible changes to traditional work methods.
In this article, 6 changes resulting from the state of emergency are shown, and they will influence the way we work for at least two decades. These changes include:
- Focus on results. In remote work, the time spent working is no longer the main focus; rather, the emphasis is on the results achieved. The focus shifts to objectives and, therefore, the effectiveness of tasks rather than the quantity of time spent.
- Rise in competitiveness. With the removal of spatial and temporal limitations for work, the number of potential candidates for a job position increases. This generates greater competition and a rise in competitiveness.
- Demand for enhanced skills. The increased competition requires individuals to attain a high level of skills to become and, more importantly, to remain professionally appealing over time.
- Boost in productivity. The flexibility and greater autonomy in managing tasks allow for a better work-life balance. As a result, productivity increases, personal well-being, and motivation improve, reducing the risk of burnout.
- More facts, fewer relationships. In remote work, where results matter most, facts gain greater value, but at the same time, opportunities for relationships diminish.
- Revitalization of small centers. Considering the opportunities of smart working, its adoption is becoming increasingly widespread. As a result, to work for a large company or simply to secure better job opportunities, there will no longer be a need to leave small centers. On the contrary, some individuals may even consider relocating from big cities to smaller centers, where the cost of living is much lower.
Remote Work: 6 rules to make it work
The experience of smart working has been an opportunity for many companies, both public and private, to experiment with a new approach that represents a breakthrough from the traditional model. An evolution towards more innovative methods.
After the health emergency, most companies have embraced remote work, making it ordinary rather than extraordinary. They have understood its benefits and identified opportunities for growth and improvement. The goal for many remains to make the most of what is now considered a valuable resource.
However, there are also some negative aspects for workers. What are the most common risks for those who work from home or remotely? Managing and separating work life from personal life is essential to avoid burnout and physical and mental exhaustion that, in severe cases, can lead to depression.
Here are 6 fundamental rules to follow to understand how to make smart working effective:
1. Define working hours
Establishing a starting and ending time for work will help you organize your daily commitments and manage your workload effectively. It will also be useful to keep the smart working dimension separate from personal life and maintain the right balance between the two. As an entrepreneur or manager, you will have a precise reference point for organizing meetings, and appointments, and efficiently managing resources in smart working.
2. Work based on objectives
The result-based approach to work is even more critical in agile working. Unlike the traditional approach based on physical presence, the focus is on achieving results rather than the time spent on each task. Set short, medium, and long-term goals to monitor the progress of activities through specific KPIs (key performance indicators) and address any issues in a timely manner.
3. Stay active
Physical exercise directly impacts personal well-being. The risk of working from home regularly is limiting physical activity. Lack of movement affects your psychophysical balance, increases stress, and hinders productivity. Try to limit sedentary behavior by taking dynamic breaks to clear your mind and recharge yourself healthily.
4. Dress the part
Even when working from home, make it a habit to dress as if you were going to the office. Wearing appropriate professional attire helps you adopt a consistent attitude, fully assume your role, and detach from the private dimension. This way, you’ll see an increase in motivation and productivity, leading to better results and personal satisfaction.
5. Delegate family commitments
To ensure that remote work functions effectively, keep your professional and personal life well-separated. When working from home, delegate the management of children and pets to others to avoid interference with your work and maintain focus.
6. Motivate the team
In remote work, non-verbal aspects of communication, such as posture, smiles, and facial expressions, are lost. These factors support communication in face-to-face interactions, facilitate relationships, and have motivational value. So how do you motivate teams in smart working? Simply increase opportunities for interaction to maintain a strong sense of belonging to the group and participation in the company’s mission. Plan more meetings: shorter but more effective. Arrange differentiated meetings: one-on-one with direct collaborators, team meetings, and at least once a year, meetings with the entire staff.
The benefits of Remote Work
The adoption of smart working has been instrumental in managing a moment of crisis and profound change, not only in the working world but in the overall lifestyle.
In recent years, resorting to agile work has provided an opportunity for many businesses to continue their operations despite the general lockdown caused by the health emergency.
Often, people associate agile work with the state of emergency that affected the entire world. However, as mentioned earlier, this way of managing the timing and spaces of work activities existed before this period.
As a result, the past years have witnessed a surge in digital transformation, a process of profound change with numerous advantages for both workers and companies.
The main benefits of agile work for workers are undoubted:
- Flexibility in working hours,
- Increased autonomy in managing tasks,
- Time and cost savings associated with commuting to the office or workplace.
The result of all these positive aspects is the opportunity to improve work-life balance, the balance between personal and professional life. In fact, especially for those with family, children, or other relatives to take care of, greater autonomy represents a clear advantage.
Being able to work remotely is also a particularly important opportunity for those who do not live in major urban centers where most large companies are concentrated.
For these individuals, until recently, the ambition of working for a major company meant the burden of relocating, distancing themselves from loved ones and places of origin, and sometimes even making significant financial sacrifices.
In extreme cases, where relocation was not possible, they were forced to give up, leaving their ambitions unfulfilled. Today, thanks to agile work, this sacrifice is no longer necessary, and you have the possibility to work wherever and whenever you want.
Implementing remote work systems has been a significant challenge for companies, as they had to adapt quickly to the new needs arising from the emergency situation.
The main benefit for companies has undoubtedly been increased productivity. The opportunity for agile workers to manage tasks in more suitable times and spaces tailored to each individual’s needs enhances engagement and motivation.
Flexibility and autonomy have also provided an opportunity for greater individual accountability in the workplace, which implies increased trust from the employer.
The new approach has shifted the focus of corporate management to results, favoring greater activity effectiveness, i.e., the ability to achieve desired objectives. Additionally, it has promoted increased efficiency, meaning the ratio of achieved results to resources employed.
However, to maintain these positive effects of agile work, it is essential to provide remote work coaching, offering concrete support to interested workers to:
- organize dedicated times and spaces for work
- define and monitor objectives
- preserve team spirit
- maintain focus on tasks
- train and develop new skills
- manage stress and sustain motivation
All these factors are receiving significant momentum from innovative startups, which play a fundamental role in the development and dissemination of agile work.
Their support encompasses both the new organizational model of companies and the tools, management methods, and new resources that characterize the increasingly widespread process of business innovation.
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Which jobs can be done in Remote Work?
For obvious reasons, digital professions are the most common in smart working arrangements since they naturally take place mainly online. Among these are various roles in digital marketing, such as:
- Digital Marketing Specialist
- Web Marketing Manager
- E-commerce Specialist
- Web Content Editor
- SEO Specialist
- Social Media Manager
- Web Analytics Specialist
Among the most widespread smart working jobs, we find those in the IT sector, which are perfectly compatible with remote work. Similarly, activities related to consulting in general, e-commerce, and customer service are well-suited for remote arrangements. In all cases, the essential element is the use of technology, both in terms of tools and processes.
Here, technological innovation plays a fundamental role, driving the digital transformation that shapes the future of both public and private companies more than ever before.
Regardless of the industry, digital skills are crucial and apply to all remote work activities. Keep in mind that the strong development of smart working in recent times has made the job market more competitive.
Employment opportunities have taken on a global dimension, transcending local boundaries. Consequently, this leads to increased competition, necessitating a rise in competitiveness. This is precisely the essence of smart working in the digital era.
New digital technologies enable and facilitate remote work, making it increasingly important to develop digital skills. They have become a necessary requirement for a wide range of activities, not just in digital professions.
All of these professions, in addition to working remotely, can also be done by those who have decided to pursue the life of the digital nomad, that is, living and working on the move.
Digital skills have become crucial for many professions, regardless of the specific business area. Their significance is such that their development is now an essential prerequisite to ensure long-term employability.
Who is entitled to Remote Work?
Who can apply for remote work? As this is a modality that applies to the subordinate relationship, the employee may submit a request to the employer, who is not obliged to grant it. On the contrary, the company can impose this working modality on the employee.
What can one do in smart working? It is certainly possible to work in another location than the ordinary one, e.g. from home, without the constraint of standard working hours as long as this is agreed with the company. Activities can be carried out partially or completely online, part-time smart working and full smart working respectively.
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Conclusions and free coaching
The direction, therefore, seems clear. Once the experimentation period has passed and the benefits of remote work have been tested, many companies are moving towards a gradual internal reorganization in order to welcome smart working as a stable working mode.
In some cases, in a full version, and in others in a hybrid mode. Here, Digital Transformation plays a fundamental role. In fact, the new cultural and organizational approach in favor of smarter working implies the integration within organizations of digital technologies capable of fostering this new way of working.
Digital tools and platforms help to connect staff, ensure smooth information flows, keep the focus on objectives, and even guarantee better productivity. On the workers’ side, the challenge is equally important.
It is a matter of developing the digital skills required by remote work, integrating them with those specific to their profession, in a process of growth and continuous training.
In an increasingly competitive environment, in which most companies are going through a process of digital transformation, it is essential to acquire skills adapted to the new demands of the labor market. A free consultation can help you understand your strengths and the skills you can develop to successfully embark on your career path.
Reap the benefits of remote work and open up to digital innovation. To do this successfully, rely on the free support of an expert!
I direct Digital Coach®, the professional training school, leader in training all professionals who work in the Digital Marketing & Sales field.
As a trainer, I have trained over 35,000 business professionals from over 300 large multinational companies and over 5,000 Italian SMEs.
I devised the “Digital Strategy Framework®” method, thanks to which since 2014 I have been helping companies to define and improve over time a digital strategy that maximizes the generation of turnover and online sales.