Smartworking: benefits and risks

smartworking- 226Lab creative agency

During the past pandemic period, we experienced a new form of work, the famous smartworking, also known as agile working. 

But what exactly is smartworking, and what are its benefits and risks


In common usage, smartworking refers to working from home, but in reality, the term originated to indicate a type of work that allows you to choose when and where to work.  

With smartworking, companies aim to create a work environment for their employees that grants greater autonomy and flexibility

Today, the term refers not only to a type of flexible online work but also to working from home. From now on, we’ll use it to encompass both meanings.  

Italian Scenario

In Italy, smartworking experienced significant growth in 2019 and 2020, with millions of workers having to adapt to remote work due to the pandemic. In 2019, according to Ipsoa, those working in smartworking were 570 million, and by 2021, this number had increased to 7.2 million

However, with the decline in infections and the possibility of physically returning to workplaces, remote workers decreased to 4.07 million by September 2021.

The exponential increase in smartworking has evidently been influenced by the pandemic, but the trend seems irreversible. Smartworking represents a significant element of the future world of work. 


The benefits of remote work are numerous. Let’s analyze them point by point: 

  • Flexibility: the ability to work from home allows greater freedom in organizing work. Increased freedom and responsibility lead to greater satisfaction in accomplishing tasks; 
  • Reduced expenses: working from home allows savings on transportation costs; 
  • More personal time: the time spent commuting to and from work, perhaps risking being stuck in traffic for hours, can be used for activities dedicated to oneself, increasing and improving mental and physical well-being. Additionally, for workers who live farther from their workplace, there is no need to wake up at dawn to avoid being late to the office, allowing more sleep and increasing productivity;
  • Environmental benefits: by avoiding commutes, CO2 emissions are minimized. It has been calculated that 300 employees from 11 companies avoided travel for over 700,000 km thanks to smartworking, not producing a significant amount of CO2, equivalent to what a 32-hectare forest can absorb in a year. Furthermore, the study Added Value of Flexible Working has analyzed that the widespread adoption of smartworking could reduce CO2 emissions by 214 million tons by 2030. 


Despite the numerous advantages, there are also risks associated with smartworking that must be acknowledged to prevent creating an unhealthy work environment and compromising the well-being and productivity of employees: 

  • Increased time dedicated to work: if leaving the workplace means concluding the workday, with smartworking, there might be a risk of working excessively, having to respond to nighttime emails or contacts during non-working hours;
  • Reduced human contact: working from home means not having direct physical contact with colleagues, a significant disadvantage for many workers; 
  • Increased stress: reduced human contact and the lack of defined working hours can lead to more stress in workers’ lives. 


Thus, smartworking seems to represent the future of the world of work but it is still necessary to work extensively on its management and regulation. The well-being of employees must be a fundamental goal for every company that wants to succeed. Smartworking can be a very useful tool in this regard as it allows more time for one’s personal life and for focusing on one’s well-being; provided that precise working hours are defined to avoid unpleasant situations like the indefinite extension of working hours and that companies focus on building a collaborative and common online work environment, compensating for the lack of physical contact.