The undesirable effects of Smart Working

The Covid-19 pandemic led the Italian government to issue regulations to promote and spread "agile work", introduced into our legal system with Law No. 81 of 2017. This type of contract, commonly referred to as smart working, is characterized by a particular 'mode of performance' of the subordinate work service, agreed between employer and employee, which offers the employee to perform part of the work activity in places other than the company and within certain time slots. The agility that characterizes this form of work is not a simple evolution of telework. Smart working, in fact, changes the relationship between employers and employees, modifies family relations and overturns the traditional social constructs of space, time and place.
The percentage of Italians working in smart work during the pandemic emergency is 9%, but 56% of Italians would be willing to build that experience after the emergency is over, even for just one day a week. But like all phenomena that bring about social, economic and cultural changes, agile work also takes on ambiguous and paradoxical characteristics. It can improve the quality of life or increase the workload and anxiety; resolve or exacerbate family conflicts; affect, positively or negatively, productivity.

In this line of frontier research, thanks to the contribution of other researchers, I have examined the ambiguities of the current Italian norm as well as the advantages, disadvantages, undesirable and perverse effects of smart working, pointing out that every solution designed to solve certain problems, creates other predictable or unexpected ones. The analysis of the norm allows us to evaluate possible areas of legislative intervention and the role that collective autonomy can take on in order to promote a balance between the needs of employers and employees; the analysis of the undesirable effects raises, instead, the question of the changed relationships of trust with respect to the new working practices.