Good Practice

The Home “Smart” Working Plan

During the pandemic, Milan City Hall began accelerating existing efforts to help city employees balance work and personal time. Thanks to recent provisions in Italian law, the Administration has been able to deploy a vast project (POLA – Piano Organizzativo del Lavoro Agile) of home or remote working (known locally as “smart” working) for its workforce.

Milan City Council
Local policy


  • Improve work-life balance
  • Develop self-reliance and responsibility
  • Increase individual engagement
  • Support employees with children and/or caretaking duties
  • Empower employees with disabilities or health issues
  • Relieve congestion in public transport and at the workplace
  • Bring life and economic activity back to non-central areas of the city
  • Boost digital and networking skills
  • Foster innovation and performance ratings


Milan City Hall is the largest employer in the city, with approximately 14,000 employees operating in its various divisions and departments. During the pandemic the main need was to allow for most of them to work safely distanced while maintaining city services. In the new ordinary, there still exists a need to relieve congestion in transport (51% of city employees reside outside the city limits) and public spaces, but now the primary goal is to proceed to a widespread new conception of work for civil servants, allowing more personal freedom and the opportunity to better balance work, personal time and caregiving needs – in exchange for increased commitment and responsibility in their everyday work.

Happier and more relaxed employees with shorter commutes who are free to choose when to concentrate on work, whether at home or in other suitable spaces of their choosing, should guarantee better output and improved results. Home working is also a great way to improve the workforce’s digital and networking skills.

This is how work becomes “smart”. Only a limited range of contact-based activities are excluded.


Milan City Hall issued revised criteria for remote working in May 2021. All employees, including middle and top management, can apply – if and when their activities are compatible with remote work. Each employee must sign an individual agreement with the head of his/her unit, detailing the maximum number of remote working days per month, the activities to be carried out and the expected, measurable results. Work may be performed between 7.00am and 9.00pm, for a daily maximum of 7.15 hours. On average, most employees work from home two days a week and spend the rest of their working time at the office. Employees in particular conditions can extend their home working quota.


Individual three-year agreements between employees and managers when remote working is compatible with relevant activities

  • Agreements detail:
    • Number of home working days per month
    • Activities agreed upon
    • Goals to be reached and performance measurement
    • Safety, security and privacy guidelines
  • The City Hall provides software and hardware tools (personal devices and web connections can be used if complying with the Administration’s security requirements) including a web platform fully replicating the office desktop and its operations.
  • In every department, the City Hall has mapped and detailed activities that are compatible with remote work.
  • Remote work is allowed between 7.00am and 9.00pm and a maximum of 7.15 hours a day.
  • Employees must be reachable by phone or video-call at least 5 hours a day, previously agreed on. This number is higher for managers.
  • The City Hall provides online training programmes for employees new to remote working, covering both technical and conceptual requirements.
  • The City Hall provides suitable co-working spaces for remote working in different areas of the city


  • In 2019 only 321 employees worked remotely.
  • By November 2020, 5,300 employees had signed individual remote work agreements, most on the basis of eight days per month.
  • Women, who account for 65% of the workforce and 67% of the remote working agreements, have benefited particularly.
  • A recent survey found that
    • 72% of City Hall employees consider remote working a positive learning experience.
    • 67% of City Hall employees consider remote work to be as productive as work at the office; 30% of the same say that productivity has actually increased.
    • Average employee satisfaction is 7.7 on a 1-10 scale.

Francesca Zajczyk & Bianca Russo & Gloria Ferrari

Department of Mobility

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