Unicredit employees are gradually returning to the tower with the tricolor spire in Piazza Gae Aulenti. One of the symbolic places of the new Milan. The return hoped for by the mayor Giuseppe Sala started, but with the dropper. On the other hand, the new skyscrapers were built for a future that did not include the pandemic. Made of open space, antithesis of isolation. And elevators that should be sanitized with every trip. It takes hours to bring the thousands of employees who work in certain skyscrapers in the London city to their desk destination, says Mario Breglia of Real Estate Scenarios. Smaller the problem also exists here. The result is that, if all goes well, 25% of the employees who worked there at full capacity can enter the large office buildings in the heart of Milan.
To row against the return wanted by Sala there is the question of costs. The incipient crisis leads companies to cut everything they can. After discovering that employees can work safely from home and the result does not change (or even improve) someone begins to think that the new way of working should be codified and put into operation even in normal times. In fact, it would be a pure transfer of costs from the company to the employee who must pay for the desk and connection. Attention, for: when there is an obligation of any kind – both to work from home, and to work from the office – then we no longer have to deal with smartworking which instead feeds on freedom and responsibility to ensure that every employee find your own way to maximize the result.
The fact is that several companies are beginning to think of “obliging” smartworking to reduce costs. But can this reduce the job, as the mayor of Milan warns? We do not know, they answer to the Milan Chamber of Labor. In his speech published today on Courier service Mayor Sala seems to be looking for banks on the left, ventilating a negative relationship between smartworking and employment. (The key passage: I fear that remote work, not adequately included in an overall strategy, left to simple economic advantage or to “market forces”, may increase the possibility that jobs will be cut. Even for those who today are smart working. This is my concern. Corroborated by clues that I gather everywhere and that foreshadow future “efficiency plans” by many companies).
But the Milan Chamber of Labor does not seem to share the same fear. Its general secretary, Massimo Bonini, rather asks Facebook to rethink the city, based on discussion and sharing. (The theme is not smartworking yes or no, but which city we want, says Bonini). In Confindustria, the manager of the Work and Welfare area Pierangelo Albini explains that smartworking brings out “pure” work detached from time and space; in practice it is clear who is really useful and who is not. So far few organizations have measured the quantity and quality of the work done, the presence in the office was enough, but now this will happen more. And the way of working will also change inside the new digitized factory. Of course – adds Albini – smartworking is not for everyone, at the base a solid relationship of trust is needed.
Now for many companies the point: the emergency phase, in which the smartworking allowed without if and without but, will be prolonged beyond July 31 or not? We hope that we will return to the normality of the legislation in force as soon as possible, also because this would mean that the emergency is over – says Massimo Bottelli, director of the Labor, Welfare and Human Capital sector of Assolombarda -. Certainly the experience of lockdown has made smartworking discover to many companies that had not even considered it before. Certainly in our territory its diffusion will increase even when the Covid phase is passed. Attention, for: the legislation currently in force based on the individual agreement works, it should not be plastered with rules that risk stiffening and distorting this form of work.
While all in the making, the impact on the real estate market begins to become evident. For now we have no negative feedback on the demand for offices in the city center. We note instead a greater demand for apartments with larger sizes, both for rent and to buy, and with terrace. The lockdown experience was more difficult for those who did not have spaces to use as offices or opportunities to look outside, explains Breglia. But the change only at the beginning.