From Flexible to Smart Working

There is a wide range of possibilities when it comes to flexible working, from promoting a policy of working from home to encourage a better life balance, to setting up diversified and flexible workspaces according to the tasks to be accomplished. More and more frequently, these isolated initiatives are leading to a global rethinking of working methods in companies, thus shaking up established habits and concepts.

What are the means to implement these new working methods? Is there a typical model that can be used in any company? What steps should accompany this transition in order to agree on an approach that is in line with the needs of employees and today’s societal challenges? Here are some ideas.

What is Smart Working?

It is about bringing together the key aspects of the work environment, such as physical space, technology and corporate culture, to make it a strategic tool and a lever of performance and attractiveness for the company. The workspace must above all be a place that generates interaction and promotes creativity and innovation. To achieve this, multi-functional layouts are implemented that invite a mix of uses in a nomadic, connected and flexible environment that offers the possibility of working at the most convenient time of day and in the most appropriate place. In this context, hierarchical relationships are changing; the sociological and psychological dimensions must be taken into account and supported in order to cultivate the autonomy and responsibility offered to employees.

A multidisciplinary project

A Smart Working project is a real company project with multiple facets. The organisation of the space must be perfectly adapted to the needs of the employees in order to fully support their activities. Meeting places must be provided for formal and informal exchanges and for the convergence of flows that would otherwise not mix. A robust digitalization plan will increase collaboration and optimize work time management. The physical environment then regains importance as it becomes the place of reconnection needed to create a sense of community.

All these aspects are interdependent and none should be minimized for the success of such a project. The implementation of the concept must be seen in a context of continuous evolution and adaptation. The challenge is to continually challenge beliefs and the need to work “the way we have always done it”.

This will include:

  • Carry out an in-depth analysis of needs and operations, a technical feasibility study and a furniture and technology inventory of the company
  • Conducting pilot projects in a limited environment and with specifically selected teams, but over a period of time that will allow sufficient measurement of the feasibility of the overall project and its opportunities
  • Establish and document clear processes on how these new ways of working will be applied within the company
  • Visit and share the experiences of other companies that have gone through a similar transformation
  • Define the roles and responsibilities assigned to each employee, manager and department involved (HR, IT, etc.) to make the project a success
  • Establish a communication plan to create a favorable climate, as well as a support plan that will enable everyone to become aware of the project’s stakes and to become familiar with the new working methods
  • Put in place tools to measure productivity, performance and savings

Smart Working Cycle

Once the concept has been launched, it must be sustained by considering this transformation not as a single project, but as a process that must adapt and develop continuously. The objectives and needs should be constantly reassessed in order to respond favourably to the changes the company is facing. The requirements and expectations then become the inspiration for creating environments that offer the best working experience.

Smart Working is a profound transformation that involves putting people at the center of concerns, striving to align the technological, cultural and strategic dimensions of the company.