These days there is a lot of talk about smart working, digital marketing and, now, also about digital export management. Is this the future that awaits us? Or – as often happens – is it just a passing fad, used by some to sell us (myself included) some type of software or seminar? Certainly, the distancing from our offices as well as the change in our commercial habits have taught us new ways of working. Now, however, smart working is starting to weigh on us and we continuously ask ourselves how long it will last.

It must be said that even before the Coronavirus outbreak we were already discussing the offices of the future. Some companies – especially large ones – were experimenting with new types of office work so as to meet their employees’ needs: coworking, sharing desks, company kindergartens for children, etc. Today a new need has been added that must be fulfilled: health and welfare.

I believe that there is no single solution that is valid for all the possible situations that can arise. Just think about the different needs between large and small companies. It will be necessary to let things settle once the emergency is over and then each company will find its own balance over time. But there are still many who say that work cannot only be done remotely once the need to protect health has been covered. There are times in which social interactions are indispensable. A new employee who must get to know his colleagues as well as learn the company’s method of working, a new client we must train on a machine, or an R&D team who must develop a new product. It should also be added that offices are usually places tailored more to the needs of men than of women and on this front, too, we must reflect and find better balances. Low birthrates also have their causes here (in addition to the selfishness of the men and women of these times).

It must be said, though, that leaving home delineates the dividing line between our work-life balance of which we feel a deep need. Therefore, a working week divided between a few days in the office and the others in smart working is considered – ultimately with benefits for traffic and pollution, too.

If you want to further explore these issues then I would suggest reading “Is it the end of the office?” in issue N°. 1365 of Internazionale.