smart working
Tips / Best Practices

The 6 biggest challenges of the HR function in 2019 (3/6) – “Smart working”, the importance of working conditions

“Smart working”, also called “New Ways of Working” (NWoW) is the new concept that aims to make the company more attractive and the working conditions more flexible to develop the commitment and the employee involvement in the company life: developing the emergence of new ways of working, ensuring a pleasant and well-being work environment for the benefit of employees as well as the company.


Modern working conditions and a flexible company image


Workspaces designed for the comfort of employees


First, the conditions in which employees work and evolve tend to be a priority for more and more HRDs. This can be the general atmosphere, the workspaces organization or internal events. You must be able to offer an experience and a pleasant and motivating work environment.


There is no need to create “Google like” offices with games and / or slides in every room! However, setting up a break room to stop working for a few minutes is an initiative much appreciated by employees. You can offer your employees to relax around a foosball, video game or simply relax in comfortable sofas.


You can also offer different work spaces according to the needs of your employees (coworking room, open-space, meeting room, individual rooms …) allowing them to work in the environment they prefer. The current trend is “desk sharing” which promotes the non-attribution of offices to a person, with the aim of offering more flexibility and agility within teams.



Flexibility at the heart of “smart working” policies


The worklife balance is another important criteria for employees. Working conditions and schedules tend to be more and more flexible. Employers have understood the importance of a job well done, without giving importance to when and where it is done. By leaving your employees free to organize their schedule, you help them to manage the constraints of everyday life (transport, child to drop at school, urgent appointment, …) you will improve their job satisfaction.


The ultimate proof of flexibility that you can offer your employees is the Home Office.


According to a study made in 2017, for 92% of respondents, telework contributes to a better quality of personal and family life. It is also a mark of confidence which comes to develop the engagement of the employees.


In addition to the involvement of employees, smart working allows you to benefit from an agile and modern corporate image, whether with your employees, candidates or even your customers.


A precise and transparent definition of your company’s DNA seems to be an important step to spread an image consistent with the company’s positioning. By communicating openly about values, corporate culture and activities, companies allow candidates to identify with them and develop an interest in joining them. Your employer brand will be reinforced by the positive opinions of your employees on online platforms or via their personal network.



Work flexibility, a win-win strategy


What are the advantages of offering more flexible working conditions to its employees?


Providing favorable working conditions for the personal and professional development of your employees increases their performance and productivity. Still according to the previous study, telework reduces traffic stress and fatigue (87%) but also increases concentration and productivity for 84% of respondents. When you are less tired and less stressed, you are much more focused on the tasks you do and therefore more productive.


Avoiding transport can allow employees to free up time for extra-professional activities: practicing a sport or music, going out … All these activities contribute to the well-being, personal growth and balance of the employees.


Despite the mistrust of many companies to offer teleworking to their employees, the first feedback from companies is more than positive. This system can only work on the confidence of managers towards their team as well as a good organization, autonomy and a certain rigor at work of teleworkers.


The Direction Générale des Entreprises in France (Ministry of Economy and Finance) has published a study saying that teleworking increases productivity by 5 to 30%!


If the benefits of teleworking are numerous for the employee, they are significant for the company as well:


  • Greater productivity, involvement and commitment of employees.
  • Reduction of sick leave and absenteeism: according to a study by the CGET, teleworking can reduce employee absenteeism by 20%.
  • A better perceived image of the inside (employees, managers) as well as from the outside (customers, candidates).
  • Reduced real estate costs: more employees working from home means smaller offices. According to Greenworking, the savings on office rents can reach 30%!


Smart working has many benefits to consider satisfying current employees, but above all to satisfy new joiners to the job market: the Millenials!



Millenials 1st Criteria


Smart working, work flexibility, professional well-being are all elements that the Millenials, these young active people entering the job market, are looking for. This category of workers aged 18 to 30 sees their arrival in the world of work from a different eye from the previous generation.


How to make several generations live and work together in the same company? How to attract and to satisfy Millenials? What organization changes to retain this generation? … A real challenge for companies!


Here is a summary of what they are looking for:


  • Sense of belonging to the company: Millenials want to be more than just employees of a company. They want to be part of a group, an adventure and feel pride in what they do.
  • Recognition of the work provided and performance: They want to know that the work they provide is useful to the company and that their tasks bring added value. For them, their manager must show his satisfaction on their performance and productivity.
  • In relation to the culture, values and activity of the company: This generation is looking for meaning at work, they want to work for a cause they particularly like. They prefer a company and missions with a purpose that goes beyond the business aspect. If they can link work, values and pleasure, they will do it without hesitation.
  • Relationship with all employees and proximity with the hierarchy: Doing what we like is good, but with people we love, it’s even better! Indeed, if your employees feel good with each other and have a good relationship with their managers, they will be much more engaged in their missions by prioritizing mutual aid and common development.


Do not think they will accept direct orders from a manager they never see and who does not share their daily lives!


  • Career and training follow-up: In their quest for well-being at work, skills development and learning are important elements to consider. They know that in exchange for advantageous working conditions, they must be efficient, productive, constantly developing their skills to improve and develop professionally.


Finally, if its “marketing” image can leave doubt, the “smart working” evokes a very concrete reflection on the employee experience and the implementation of working conditions in phase with the time. The Human Resources function must have all the levers to support the transformation of the company.