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Remote work: our working lives now and in the near future

Working away from the office. Breaking the routine has raised so many questions and thoughts about the future, because it's had an effect on so many areas.

06/10/2020 - 02:45 PM

The medical emergency has really sped up the march of digital in our country.

Think of online services, e-commerce, digital education and above all the revolution in remote work

The change Italy has experienced in the last two months – faster than in other European countries because of Italy's lower digital usage – demands lasting responses, so that what we do to get through the emergency leaves its mark. And that raises a lot of questions.

 

Remote work: what do we need?

Digitalised or remote work relies first and foremost on a fast, widespread, stable internet connection, and the availability of safe, effective devices and services.

That's why we strive ever day to provide fast, reliable ultrabroadband to every family and company in Italy. Our efforts have brought high-speed connections to over 1.2 million new families, and we're not stopping there, either.

Alongside other companies, we're innovating the way we work and produce, and not just for the duration of the emergency. And that's translating into new services and business models. That's how our partnership with Google began, to start a project for cloud services and edge computing. There's also G Suite TIM Edition, the fruit of our work with Google Cloud and Intesa Sanpaolo, which offers professional connectivity, applications for productivity and collaboration, and a computer hire service.  

But what is remote working? 

The spread of digital skills  is a prerequisite for making the most of digital, and that begins with the new form work is taking: working from home.

Part of our contribution is Operazione Risorgimento Digitale, a range of initiatives that due to Covid-19 took the form of an online school, for everyone in Italy, be they teachers, entrepreneurs, children or anyone else.

At TIM, where we've already used it for some time, remote working on such a wide scale and at such a higher pitch during this emergency (we currently have 36,000 remote workers) has forced a cultural change upon us. So, we've come up with practical advice for working long-distance, guides for technical problems and online training courses. Here's our new handbook.

A new kind of office life?

Whether it's for processing and sharing documents, having meetings or training, you don't need to be at the office, so why go in? Smart buildings answer this question. It's the office of the future, with spaces for colleagues to talk, have a coffee, share ideas and build those relationships that unwittingly stimulate our creativity and our ability to think and produce.

This is the model that will guide us in the coming months, including when we restructure some of our TIM offices. Personal desks will be replaced with "desk sharing", remote control systems will ensure excellent energy efficiency and material will be environmentally sustainable. 

Could remote working make our cities more sustainable?

The recent pictures of empty cities, free of cars and smog, speak for themselves.

What we see is not just the decrease in the use of cars and buses but also the increase in the use of two-wheel vehicles such as bicycles and electric scooters or bikes. Currently buying these alternative forms of transport is being stimulated by state incentives.

In TIM, to favor this sustainable mobility and with a specific attention to relaunching the national economy, we have stipulated two agreements with innovative Italian companies: Askoli for electric scooters and Ekletta for electric bicycles.

Lower emissions are not the only happy outcome of this way of working for the environment and resources. For example there's the energy saved by using new workplaces and other aspects of remote working.

Keen use of collaborative platforms also helps companies become more green.  Shared editing of documents, for instance, rather than creating new ones and sharing them by e-mail as usual, could mean fewer big attachments are in circulation in the long term, leaving less of an impact on filing systems and using less energy.

Working away from the office

Breaking the routine has raised so many questions and thoughts about the future, because it's had an effect on so many areas. We will need to rethink the structure of work, its rules, physical spaces and intangible aspects, like the delicate balance between work and family life, and the perception of time as the clear boundary between work and private life melts away. A great debate has begun.

When remote working during the emergency is replaced by remote working in normal conditions, in accordance with each company's wishes, there will still be much to do. But it will be an integral part of our new working culture from now on.