On 7 and 8 November, the conference on “The impact of digitalisation on 21st century families” took place in Berlin, and was organized by COFACE – Families Europe (Confederation of Family Organisation in the European Union). It was an important opportunity for dialogue and exchange on the work-life balance topic and on the role the European Union plays, especially with regards to legislative initiatives and the promotion of these in all its member states.
In the two-day conference, several in-depth workshops on work-life balance were developed. Variazioni Ltd and Smart Companies, with Arianna Visentini and Leonardo Orlando (Head of Development and Compensation of UBI Bank), brought their own particular contribution to the subject of Smart Working in Workshop 1: “Smart Working: can digitalisation help reconcile work and family life?”
In the workshop, participants contemplated on the role that smart working entails, and its probable involvement today in the labour market: transitioning from the labour paradigm for work schedules to working for objectives; the positive impact on work-life balance of employees; potential decrease in female unemployment; and an increase in potential productivity.
In his speech, Leonardo Orlando presented the experience of Smart Companies, and demonstrated the results achieved after six months of experimentation and the benefits that have been brought about for companies, employees and the environment.
A factor that surely must be noted is that together with Leonardo Orlando, Jana Maláčová (Labour Minister and Social Affairs of the Republic of Czechoslovakia) and Jukka Ahtela (Director of the Ministry of Labour of Finland) also participated in this conference. The Czech Republic and Finland are the two nations that are about to enact legislative measures to make Smart Working part of their respective countries’ labour laws.
Further evidence of its effectiveness is the fact that interest in the subject matter is as timely as ever, together with the resolution of 13 September of the European Parliament, which states that Smart Working is an important means of achieving a better balance between work and private life.
From a regulatory point of view, Italy is now in its final stages of completing a clear and usable text for Smart Working: a few days ago, the Labour Bill Agile received clearance from the Senate and is now awaiting final approval from the House of Representatives in order to become a law.
There are many positive results from this transalpine experience for both Variazioni Ltd and Smart Companies. The most important is probably being accredited and recognized at the European level, as a first-rate exponent on the issue of work-life balance and in a particular way, on the subject matter of Smart Working.
Leonardo Orlando said: "The conference was an excellent opportunity to present the Smart Companies experience of some of Bergamo’s companies, which was highly appreciated by the representatives of the other countries involved. We explained how Smart Working has proven to be an effective way of not only improving the quality of life of our employees but also improving business performance. We also confirmed our willingness to dialogue with other European companies and networks, to give them a more in-depth explanation of the great job we are doing within a sizable network and sharing".
Arianna Visentini commented: "It is always good for us to confront international situations and discover that the experiences we recount are appreciated. ‘The impact of digitalisation on 21st century families’ conference, organized by the COFACE – Families Europe with whom Variazioni Ltd has collaborated for many years, has become a good opportunity to reflect on how to build an alliance between families and companies that can benefit both. Without a doubt Smart Working, especially if implemented in the public and private sectors, is a win-win solution that should be given incentives and stimulated by public/government policies and, therefore, must be kept in the minds of European and national decision makers”.
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