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Smart working – necessity or opportunity?

A thesis discussed at the University of Padua skilfully outlines a complex and constantly evolving topic

“Remote” working, smart working, working “from home” – different names aside, the change brought on by the spread of COVID-19 and that has been affecting work organisation in offices and, above all, in companies, is increasingly becoming a driver for transformation, as well as a simple solution to overcome adverse conditions. This is the dual nature of smart working, which is precisely what Speranta Bocan discusses and encapsulates in her research work entitled Smart working al tempo del Covid-19: opportunità o necessità? (Smart working in the times of COVID-19: opportunity or necessity?), a thesis discussed at the University of Padua, M. Fanno Department of Economics and Business Studies, Degree in Economics.

The research begins by situating current occurrences within the wider history of the industrial revolution. As we read in the introduction, the “fourth industrial revolution is affecting the most advanced societies and has radically changed our way of living, and especially our way of working. Its impact on the latter is even more disruptive than on the former, due to at least two reasons: the pervasiveness of internet connectivity in the life of people and organisations, which, as a consequence, incessantly extends into our individual and collective space and time, and the unprecedented speed with which this revolution is unfolding.” All this, according to Speranta Bocan, is intensified “by the development of the so-called ‘platform economy’, which has arisen to facilitate contact, exchange and collaboration between people through practices and models based on digital technologies and which, as such, is increasingly transforming the way in which we organise work, with intangible entities – platforms – gradually replacing traditional corporate organisations as job providers.” This is the technical background and cultural baggage informing the way in which the industrial world has tackled, in most cases, the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Once clarified the concept of flexible work, both pre- and post-pandemic, the research goes on to examine the different possible organisational strategies implemented by companies in order to pinpoint the potential of production organisations, also taking risks and advantages into consideration. Thus, Bocan attempts to determine whether smart working should be understood more as an opportunity or a necessity within the framework of overall change affecting production culture itself.

The research concludes that, “Although evidence on what may happen in the future is still scarce, it nonetheless seems to suggest that more flexible working modes are associated with greater labour input, higher productivity and increased employee well-being” and, further, “Once countered the risks concerning work-life balance, isolation and the weakening of relationships, as well as other previously mentioned hazards, flexible working could come to represent a positive evolution within the work sphere.”

Speranta Bocan’s thesis unquestionably succeeds in providing an accurate description of the aspects inherent in a complex and constantly evolving issue that is transforming corporate culture.

Smart working al tempo del Covid-19: opportunità o necessità? (Smart working in the times of COVID-19: opportunity or necessity?)

Speranta Bocan

Thesis, University of Padua, M. Fanno Department of Economics and Business Studies Degree in Economics, 2021-2022

A thesis discussed at the University of Padua skilfully outlines a complex and constantly evolving topic

“Remote” working, smart working, working “from home” – different names aside, the change brought on by the spread of COVID-19 and that has been affecting work organisation in offices and, above all, in companies, is increasingly becoming a driver for transformation, as well as a simple solution to overcome adverse conditions. This is the dual nature of smart working, which is precisely what Speranta Bocan discusses and encapsulates in her research work entitled Smart working al tempo del Covid-19: opportunità o necessità? (Smart working in the times of COVID-19: opportunity or necessity?), a thesis discussed at the University of Padua, M. Fanno Department of Economics and Business Studies, Degree in Economics.

The research begins by situating current occurrences within the wider history of the industrial revolution. As we read in the introduction, the “fourth industrial revolution is affecting the most advanced societies and has radically changed our way of living, and especially our way of working. Its impact on the latter is even more disruptive than on the former, due to at least two reasons: the pervasiveness of internet connectivity in the life of people and organisations, which, as a consequence, incessantly extends into our individual and collective space and time, and the unprecedented speed with which this revolution is unfolding.” All this, according to Speranta Bocan, is intensified “by the development of the so-called ‘platform economy’, which has arisen to facilitate contact, exchange and collaboration between people through practices and models based on digital technologies and which, as such, is increasingly transforming the way in which we organise work, with intangible entities – platforms – gradually replacing traditional corporate organisations as job providers.” This is the technical background and cultural baggage informing the way in which the industrial world has tackled, in most cases, the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Once clarified the concept of flexible work, both pre- and post-pandemic, the research goes on to examine the different possible organisational strategies implemented by companies in order to pinpoint the potential of production organisations, also taking risks and advantages into consideration. Thus, Bocan attempts to determine whether smart working should be understood more as an opportunity or a necessity within the framework of overall change affecting production culture itself.

The research concludes that, “Although evidence on what may happen in the future is still scarce, it nonetheless seems to suggest that more flexible working modes are associated with greater labour input, higher productivity and increased employee well-being” and, further, “Once countered the risks concerning work-life balance, isolation and the weakening of relationships, as well as other previously mentioned hazards, flexible working could come to represent a positive evolution within the work sphere.”

Speranta Bocan’s thesis unquestionably succeeds in providing an accurate description of the aspects inherent in a complex and constantly evolving issue that is transforming corporate culture.

Smart working al tempo del Covid-19: opportunità o necessità? (Smart working in the times of COVID-19: opportunity or necessity?)

Speranta Bocan

Thesis, University of Padua, M. Fanno Department of Economics and Business Studies Degree in Economics, 2021-2022