The end of the “smart” work
To create the new document regulating remote work, we reflected on the fundamental principles that lead our organization. They did not fail to guide us, even in this case.
We were just thinking that the crux of it — how our approach to work is changing — isn’t really about the location, be it the office, home, or somewhere in between.
The core of our relationship has always been the trust between people working together, even when the pandemic was upending all our habits. An idea that branches out into two things: one’s responsibility to contribute to the company’s wellbeing, without it being demanded, and one’s freedom to choose and shape their path. If these are the boundaries your company lives in, then everything else follows.
Our organization works because we are genuinely close to one another, even when we do not share desks or even the same building. We feel close because our thoughts and actions converge toward common goals and answers.
We kept working the way we were before the pandemic, but never wrote down the process. Now the law is asking for precisely that, so we drafted our “smart working rulebook” containing the ideas and principles underpinning our way of working.
We are a hybrid organization where people always come first and the guidebooks follow. There are some defined boundaries, sure, but they are loose enough to allow everyone to work freely and independently, in the best way that suits them.
There must be a reason why we stick together
There is value, undoubtedly, in sharing the same physical space. We oppose the idea of entirely dematerializing meetings, shared moments at the coffee machine, hugs, lunches, and so on. But we find it better to be able to work from anywhere, knowing that being together and spending time with colleagues is an added value for all.
“I live about a half-hour away from the office, but ever since it became possible for me to work from home, my quality of life has improved in many small but meaningful ways: I don’t work less, but I do live better; I have more time, and it’s easier for me to organize my day. I just try to keep things in balance and go to the office every few days — especially when I know I will see my colleagues. Seeing each other makes ideas spark, discussions possible, and it allows us to keep our relationships human.”
‘I want to work abroad for a while.’ Sure, let’s talk about it!
We like people who want to spend some time elsewhere: these can be tremendously enriching experiences, help couples stick together, allow other passions to flourish, and many other things. We can choose to spend some time abroad, so long as the rest of the team can keep things going smoothly. When the team calls, it’s time to get back!
“My job allows me to work independently most of the time, and after the pandemic it has become increasingly common to spend huge portions of the day on video calls. So I try to keep myself organized and always be at the Milan office when a client or the video team need me. But I also spend time in Barcelona, to keep other relationships afloat. And, well, living two minutes away from the sea and not Milan’s bypass has its benefits!”
Life doesn’t have fixed hours
One’s job is generally a very important part of their life, but it is not the only thing making up the day. We work at a sustained pace and spend many hours on our projects, but no one says they should always be between 9 AM and 6.30 PM. We thus work flexibly; again, so long as our hours work for our colleagues too.
“After the first lockdowns I decided to live between Venice and the countryside, where my family and I manage an agritourism business. Our smart, hybrid way of work has allowed me to drive the car less and take the train more. And, during breaks, I can now speak to our guests and make sure our fig jam doesn’t burn! Be the meetings in Milan, Turin, or Treviso, I can always be there from Venice (where the world all comes and goes).”
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