Good Practice

The Nearworking Project

A wide-ranging remote working plan was implemented by Milan City Hall in 2021 through the Smart-working Organisation Plan (Piano Organizzativo Lavoro Agile, POLA). It met with considerable success and helped to decongest traffic and make working spaces less crowded. However, not all City Hall employees find the best working conditions at home, as they often lack the necessary space and circumstances to make the most of this opportunity. In September 2021 Milan City Hall arranged to make eight of its workplaces available to near workers not normally employed there.

Milan City Council
Local policy


  • Make the city more sustainable by reducing vehicle traffic
  • Relieve congestion in public transport
  • Offer workers a change of scenery and the chance to meet new co-workers and learn
  • New skills
  • Provide employees with suitable working spaces near home
  • Equip these spaces with necessary facilities (workstations)
  • Help workers get away from family/caretaking responsibilities when at work
  • Help workers balance their personal and professional lives


The pandemic has proven to be an unprecedented testing ground in remote working for City Hall employees. Remote working solutions have provided consistent benefits in terms of sustainability, safety and help in family/caretaking chores. 51% of City Hall employees come to Milan from outside the city, and others live in areas that are far from the workplace.

Most appreciate the chance to work from home when this is allowed. But many live in homes without the necessary space, equipment or general conditions for productive work. Others are in close contact with family members and are unable to distance themselves from their surroundings and concentrate. Some, while happy to be at home, simply need to go somewhere else, at least for some time –both to get work done and to socialise during breaks– without having to commute all the way to their normal workplace.

A recent survey found that 85% of remote workers find it difficult at times to work from home. These workers’ wellbeing is important to the Administration, which is trying to provide them with solutions that are respectful of their needs as well as of the quality and output of their work


In September 2021 Milan City Hall arranged to make eight of its workplaces available to nearworkers not normally employed there. Reservable workstations were set up for those interested. At the same time, other suitable locations were sought in cooperation with public utility firms and private companies (through the Smart Working Community project, thanks to the collaboration with the Milano Smart City Alliance program) and in co-working spaces around the city, in order to provide more options for commuters from the wider metropolitan area.

The project continues as more options are considered and studies focused on public employees’ inter-city mobility aim to pinpoint the best locations near transport hubs. The possibility of equating remote work in City Hall workplaces (which qualifies as “regular” work) and remote work in private or other spaces (which qualifies as “home” work) is also being examined. The interaction with employees of public utilities and private companies is considered a bonus as public/private interaction unfortunately remains uncommon in Italy.


  • Identifying suitable workplaces in buidings in the wider city area:
    • Managed by the City Hall
    • Managed by public utilities or in-house companies
    • Managed by private companies
    • Set up as sharing economy co-working spaces
  • Planning and setting up fully equipped shareable workstations
  • Providing dedicated hardware, software and internet connections
  • Making individual workstations reservable on a daily basis to interested employees
  • Monitoring existing opportunities and looking for new potential workplaces


  • At present Milan City Hall welcomes nearworkers to eight of its own workplaces, where there are a total of 50 daily reservable workstations. This adds up to 3,900 slots per year.
  • Thanks to Smart Working Community, two private workplaces managed by a national telecom company (TIM) and an electricity and gas utility (ENEL) have recently joined the offer for a total of 21 daily reservable workstations.

Francesca Zajczyk & Bianca Russo & Gloria Ferrari

Department of Mobility

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