Several realities are harnessing the potential of remote work by thinking of it as a way to work in a different way, smart-villages, a way that accommodates the needs of the individual rather than those of the labour market, making work less totalising and results more effective.
What can be created together is an environment that enables to work according to the individual’s time and manner, that fosters communication and cooperation through the opportunity to interact with others and create individual and unseen projects. And, finally, that increases personal and social growth by improving the mental and physical well-being of people who actively participate in the community.
In several Italian cities there are realities that promote this alternative lifestyle: the smart villages.
Immediately located in large urban centres, later these villages were also developed in rural areas, connecting themselves with the local community, an integral part of the project.
The benefits that these realities bring, not only affect in members of the village itself, but also the environment in which it is located. They combat depopulation, which affects the less industrialised centres thus distributing the economy and increasing tourism.
Smart communities promote innovation, digitisation, local development, social inclusion, and knowledge of areas that are undervalued.
The Italian government has recognised the proven benefits of smart working and is activating initiatives at both regional and state levels.
For instance, as part of the H2020 i2connect EU project, smart villages will be strengthened through the introduction of AKIS (Agriculture and Knowledge Innovation Systems). Part of the rural development policies, this system has the transversal objective of “promoting and sharing expertise, intelligence, digitisation, and to encourage their use.” Key beneficiaries of these measures will be municipalities, rural and mountainous communities, union of municipalities and SMEs (Small and Medium Enterprises).
Moreover, efforts are underway to create a visa for digital nomads.
Adopting the smart village model means totally rethinking the workplace. Consequently, it urges to allocate spaces that are an in-between home and business, create an environment that stimulates creativity, production, and innovation, with adequate technological infrastructure, training activities, and in which appropriate safety standards are adopted.