In Focus

So you think you know all about Smart Working?

The world of work is abuzz with a new idea: Smart Working has been taking over employment and productivity experts, and its influence has spread even to the highest echelons of government. Public and private sector alike is scrambling to bring in consultants to advise them on transforming workplaces and work practices to be more “smart”. 

Is Smart Working the answer to Industry 4.0? Or is it just the latest management waste of time?

What is Smart Working?

Smart Working is a business productivity “revolution” that looks to “provide people with the tools – the culture and leadership, workspace and technology – that enable people to choose when, where and how they do their jobs,” writes Alison White. She says it’s built on the rise of automation and remote access, which has reduced our dependency on the traditional office environment.

The thinking is that people are more motivated and productive if they can choose how and when they work, rather than being forced to come to an office and sit at a desk. It’s about optimising people, spaces and technology.

It’s so popular that the UK government has set a target: the government expects 70% of departments and other agencies to comply with the British Standards Institute’s Smart Working Code of Practice by 2020, with 100% by 2022.

Is it all that smart, though?

Some argue we’ve organised our workforces around major cities for far too long, that it’s smarter to build your base in regional hubs outside expensive real estate. Others think that operating a skeleton workforce and outsourcing non-essentials is the smart way to do things. Rather than focussing on having the ability to work from a cafe or on downsizing your real estate portfolio, though, shouldn’t you be looking at business outputs? Work happens in brains, not offices.

Optimising your time is the true smart working, but eliminating the commute doesn’t go far enough. How many projects are you currently running that have multiple analysts staring at data for months on end? And what about those organisations that don’t have BI analysts on hand, and trust it instead to non-expert workers to figure out next steps and solutions? Surely there’s a smarter way to do things. 

There is – it’s crowdsourcing, and it works. The OAQ Fall 2018 issue includes multiple examples of smart working through crowdsourcing solutions to challenges. It talks about how the City of Boston crowdsourced a predictive algorithm for health inspections, enabling it to catch the same amount of health violations with 40 fewer inspections. Likewise, research by Forrester on behalf of Topcoder looked to quantify savings when an organisation leverages crowdsourcing, and found the average project length decreased by ⅔, and organisations had access to three times more capacity to solve problems. That’s better time management and better outcomes through crowdsourcing.

Get smart with time optimisation and brainsourcing

Optimise your time and spend it wisely, while putting the tough jobs to the academic crowd. The Mathesia platform connects businesses with academics who then use their expertise to solve challenges and create value. We call them our brainies because they’re really smart, and they love to delve into the meaty topics that would otherwise have in-house heads scratching for months or even years on end.  

Putting the world’s leading scientists and mathematicians to work on your business challenges is the real “smart” working!

Mathesia brings together people, facts, knowledge and information to drive business forward. Register here and launch your first challenge, or get in touch to discover more about how Mathesia can help you.