A newly-published study which begins to discuss the advantages and challenges of working from home within a particular field
Working from home. Or as it is sometimes described, smart working. A practice that was once uncommon, but which today – suddenly and abruptly – has become an obligation for many, and a question mark for many others. The events of recent months with Covid-19 have called into question certain working practices and standards that once seemed set in stone. So, while the factories (necessarily) stopped producing, offices (in many cases) were faced with a different fate.
The issue of smart working also extends to the public administration, and Giovanna Filosa (a technologist working for INAPP, the National Institute for Public Policy Analysis, formerly known ISFOL) has focused her attention on this particular issue. With “Il cambiamento come opportunità: la formazione ai tempi del Coronavirus”, (Change as opportunity: training in the time of Coronavirus), Filosa to examine what home-working used to mean for the public administration. It is a common opinion – the researcher writes – that the COVID-19 emergency has placed our manufacturing structures (which were traditionally organised around a rigid separation between work and home life, both in terms of time and location) in crisis. All this has taken place against the backdrop of a global emergency, and as such, changes have often been implemented without adequate trial periods and/or training that would have enabled workers to adapt in a less traumatic way to the new organisational model that is based on working from home.
This is the starting point for Filosa’s research: to try to understand what exactly has happened, in terms of the emergency, training and the radical and rapid changes to established habits. She uses the public administration as a case study.
As such, this is presented as “a unique working context (…), which over the course of just a few days was subject to a real Copernican revolution: from obligatory and hyper-controlled ”, to smart working as a favoured and indeed strongly recommended form of organisational set-up.” Filosa has observed a series of training processes – above all those delivered via computers (e-learning) which can be used remotely, in a more or less interactive manner, as well as in asynchronous mode (webinars), or as self-learning – seeking to understand the challenges faced by workers, the solutions adopted and the results in terms of production.
The author, therefore, ponders whether we can draw positive and lasting lessons from everything that has happened, and is happening now. As such, Filosa writes: “There is no going back: the advantages of smart working, both for the individual and the community as a whole, are now well known to all, as is the obsolescence of organisational models that take a task and control-based approach, instead of one which focuses on the verification of results and the achievement of agreed and shared production objectives. The Covid-19 crisis has forced an abrupt acceleration of processes that can no longer be deferred: it now seems clear that innovation within the public administration will not be achieved through the biometric detection of staff attendance, but rather through moving beyond a time card-based approach to work.”
Il cambiamento come opportunità: la formazione ai tempi del Coronavirus(Change as opportunity: training in the time of Coronavirus)
Rivista trimestrale di Scienza dell’amministrazione. Studi di teoria e ricerca sociale, 2/2020