Following our successful completion in 2017 of the E.L.E.N.A. experimental project, from 2018 we implemented smart working in Acea in a structural manner, starting with its formal introduction as part of the work-life conciliation initiatives under the Framework Agreement signed with the trade unions.
The SMART PEOPLE project provided for the possibility of using smart working one day a week, and was monitored through qualitative and quantitative indicators and specific surveys for smart workers and managers. The analyses conducted have confirmed the positive impact of this work-life balance measure, not only because it can increase employee productivity, but also because through it we are able to promote Leadership Model values, focusing on goals, teamwork (also remotely) and initiative in discovering new ways of working.
The Covid-19 health emergency did not therefore catch us unprepared: thanks to the various implementation actions carried out during the last few years – such as our upgrading of work tools and the allocation of laptops, the digitalisation of business processes, the creation of a digital workspace on the Teams platform – we were able to effectively and quickly adapt to the new working procedures, even during a period as complex as the lockdown.
Over 3,700 employees have worked in smart mode since the beginning of the health emergency. In order to assist their adaptation to the changed work situation we carried out a training programme and performed a survey in July 2020, with a view to monitoring the level of satisfaction and motivation of staff, as well as gathering indications on new initiatives to be put in place.
We chose to take an active part in designing the Innovation Model for the Acea Group, by involving our staff with methods to facilitate team collaboration and to generate creative thinking. More specifically, we used the LEGO® Serious Play® method, based on the use of the tiny LEGO® bricks, to facilitate and accelerate rational, decisional and communicative processes and problem-solving techniques within the organisation and work groups.
By taking part in internal contests, anyone in the company can put forward innovative ideas for our businesses or visualise new, future challenges. Thanks to the internal entrepreneurship programme Innovation Garage, projects were launched that focused on the improvement of customer experience and valorisation of water resources. One of these is the Waidy project, an app that enables the geolocation of public water distribution points, access to historical information concerning the fountains and drinking-water fountains (nasoni) and the reporting of potential issues.