Technological progress which in recent years has experienced unprecedented exponential growth, has forced us as a society to make a profound digital transformation. A change that we need to embrace if we wish to move forward. Renew or die. At every level. But there is no doubt that one of the sectors most affected by this revolution is the business sector.
A large number of companies are already adapting to these major changes by designing new strategies and adopting measures in accordance with current times, where the accent is on innovation and sustainability. Measures that in many cases involve taking one hundred and eighty degree turns in the structure of the business itself. To achieve this, installations and management systems are being modernised by taking advantage of the emergence of new and disruptive technologies like smart data, Blockchain and the Internet of Things. As a result of this, different ways of doing business are being created, including the collaborative economy and innovative workspaces are being designed, such as our Open Power Space.
But it does not only involve material aspects or the concept: One of the key factors in this revolution is the workers. Many previously sacred aspects of work with regard to company employees are being reassessed so as to find a new way of working that is more consistent with digital transformation. There is a more intelligent way to undertake our daily functions and it has been called smart working.
What is smart working?
Although smart working is often associated with remote working, in other words, the possibility of working remotely from home, this term goes much further than that. Smart working is a new way of working that takes advantage of the rise of ICT (Information and Communication Technologies). It enables a company's employees to work anywhere, with absolute autonomy and very flexibly, as well as achieving a balance between their professional and personal life. And obviously with sustainability always in mind: The energy savings from smart working are very high.
There is no doubt that if we had to associate smart working with one single word, this would be "efficiency." Because this is the main aim of this new labour model: For workers to undertake their usual functions as efficiently as possible. And this only requires four elements: A precise, extensive knowledge of the objectives to be reached, the effective organisation of time, a device to use for work (a laptop, a tablet or even a smartphone) and a good Internet connection so as to always be communicated. The location is the least of the considerations.
Although this may sounds paradoxical, the place is most important. As we said before, smart working does not necessarily mean working remotely or at home. It can also be put into practice in the usual workspace. This involves taking new, much smarter measures with regard to both work procedures and the management of the installations where employees undertake their daily work.
Smart work environments are those that, once they have been digitalised and automated with the latest technologies, are turned into a comfortable, pleasant work environment, and encourage a new way of working based on innovation, sharing ideas and creating synergies. Smart work processes focus primarily on the creation of project-based teams.
There are already a number of companies that are taking this type of measures and the benefits can clearly be seen. For example, Microsoft's offices in Madrid are a clear example of smart working: None of the employees, including managers, has a permanent job, and what has been sought is the creation of open spaces, to encourage teamwork, as well as green and rest areas. There is also a clear commitment to sustainability, as can be seen with the LED lighting system, motion sensors and "paperless office" policy (which we also practice in our Open Power Space). Another good example of smart working, although for other reasons, is Zappos, an American online shoe sales company, founded in 1999, whose motto is "happy employees give better customer service." Some of the values that are encouraged there are a sense of humour, creativity and humility. And two years ago, the CEO, Tony Hsieh, further revolutionised the company by abolishing hierarchies. There you have it. In Zappos there are no bosses.
Advantages of smart working
There are many advantages to smart working, as we are beginning to find out. For example, if you were to ask who Richard Branson is, he is the founder of the famous Virgin group, and you should also know that he implemented smart working in his businesses. So far he has reached some very positive conclusions: