FOR Working: work minus schedules, offices and even attendance


The pandemic has rippled through labour markets and everywhere else. Zoom, Teams and Skype bridged the gaps. Meetings were postponed, cancelled, and then rescheduled using a variety of formats. Things have certainly changed in the last 15 months. The pandemic-triggered emergency sparked us to reinvent organisational structures, driven mainly by flexibility. 

FOR Working emerged in this context as a new way of working without any wheres, whens or whereabouts. Standing for Flexibility, Objectives and Results, FOR transcends the conventional smart working approach we have come to know, creating an innovative subordinate employment contract. 

The project itself was part of a forward-looking deal on 9 July 2020 by Federchimica, Farmindustria and trade unions. This pact serves as the modern foundation guiding the chemicals and pharmaceuticals sectors in Italy as they look to streamline change management. It also seeks to guarantee real participation in the life of the company, provide adequate training, and keep the social value of the company as a whole intact. 

The first to test the new working method was chemicals multinational Sasol, which set the project in motion last May with a limited number of employees at its Milan office. 

“When we looked at the outcome at the end of the first lockdown, it became clear that the sense of belonging and the dimension of trust were strengthened by the emergency, and the assumption of one’s own responsibilities was seen as a condition for achieving the expected results”, explains Monica Pirali, Senior Human Resources Manager at Sasol Italy. 

She adds that this “leads to a new definition of the employment relationship legally defined as ‘for pecuniary consideration, which broadens the meaning in the cardinal principles indicated above and in the qualitative dimension. In other words, while the correspondence of the employment relationship identifies a quantitative dimension (remuneration in exchange for performance), the dimension of trust and responsibility identifies a qualitative aspect that does not fall within the previous parameters of measurement, but rather calls for the experimentation of new forms of reciprocity in the perception of values”. 

The sense of belonging and the dimension of trust were strengthened by the emergency, and the assumption of one’s own responsibilities was seen as a condition for achieving the expected results 

Author: Monica Pirali, Senior Human Resources Manager at Sasol Italy 

We will certainly need to strike a new balance, and this will have to be settled in an initial phase that could be described as experimental, as in all new things. And of course, all the actors involved must be allowed to gain experience and contribute to the assimilation of these new approaches. 

The experience of smart working in the first wave of the pandemic had already mapped out a path, pointing the way in which the needs of workers and businesses would be addressed: The priority now is to combine flexibility, security and improved quality of work with a new work-life balance. 

In fact, FOR Working presents itself as an advancement of the smart working already adopted by many companies. “We have not yet reached a stage where it is possible to measure change in a statistical sense, since the application dimension of FOR Working has only just begun. FOR Working is still in the process of implementing tools, also identified during talks with social partners, to support the new organisational arrangements. Technical training on IT tools for remote working is already under way, alongside training on the management aspects of the new workflows and relationships”, says Pirali. 

We need to strengthen the emotional ties so we can remain part of an existing community and not be some kind of IT hermit 

Author: Monica Pirali, Senior Human Resources Manager at Sasol Italy 

However, this is only a starting point, not a final destination: tools must be put in place to measure the effectiveness and efficiency of performance, but also to detect the company climate so as not to dampen the sense of belonging. 

“We need to strengthen the emotional ties so we can remain part of an existing community and not be some kind of IT hermit providing technical answers to specific questions without understanding the context in which challenges will arise. This aspect should be treated as vital, as the Western and social culture in which we live bases its origins and value on the tactile dimension of relationships”, adds Pirali. 

The federation Federichimica and association Farmindustria have also pointed out cultural and psychological components at play in this transformation. Nevertheless, change is always regarded as an evolution, a step forward that will bring more benefits than anything else. 

The federation and the association of companies in the sector say that our experience from the COVID emergency helped to dispel many doubts and demonstrated the objective benefits in terms of productivity, work-life balance, economic benefits, and even environmental impact. 

Looking to the future, hope is to take the lead. Not to change everyone’s working habits, but to create a that can be replicated elsewhere, even for other companies, even in other contexts. 

Pirali concludes by saying that the orientation of the chemicals and pharmaceuticals sectors “towards ‘paving the way’ is bolstered by the progressive choice for real participation of the workers and their representatives in the life of companies. Here too, the pooling of the dimension of the results to be achieved represents the framework through which the new working methods can be implemented”. 

Di |2024-07-15T10:06:29+01:00Giugno 6th, 2021|english, Lifestyle, MF, Smart Working|0 Commenti