NEWS #06

A professional profile for smart working agents

When organizations consider implementing smart working, they may see the need for specialists who can promote and facilitate this way of working. Such specialists, which we have dubbed "smart working agents", are the people who promote the adoption of smart working in their organizations, but also those who implement smart working in their teams. This includes, but is not limited to, HR professionals, managers, CEOs and business owners, and remote work specialists.

Smart working agents must possess competencies aimed at facilitating the acceptance of smart working by their organization's managers (context and facilitation competencies). Still, they must also be able to lead teleworking in their teams and act as role models for other managers so that teleworking becomes truly smart working (leadership competencies).

This article describes the professional profile for smart working agents that has been developed in the context of the WorkingSmart Erasmus+ project (Figure 1).

Figure 1. The professional profile for smart working agents in the WorkingSmart Erasmus+ project.

Competency 1. Understanding the European and national context

Smart Working Agents must have a general understanding of the wider context in which smart work is implemented. This includes the following aspects:

1.1. Understand telework in the European context. The European level constitutes a space for the promotion of a minimum framework and for the exchange of successful experiences.

  • Know the quantity and typology of telework in Europe, to understand the different levels of acceptance.

  • Identify the key elements of the European regulatory framework.

  • Understand the cultural differences regarding telework in different European countries.

1.2. Understand the penetration of telework in the country. The quantity and typology of telework in the country are key to understanding its level of acceptance.

1.3. Understand and promote compliance with the national telework regulation. Labor regulations have a great influence on the practices of organizations.

  • Identify the national legal framework to elaborate an organizational diagnosis oriented to the implementation of smart working.

  • Facilitate the transversal integration of telework regulations in the organization.

  • Promote a periodic verification of compliance with national telework regulations in the organization, in particular in case of organizational or regulatory changes ("compliance test").

Competency 2. Facilitating the implementation of smart working

Smart Working Agents must know how to facilitate the implementation of smart working in their organizations.

2.1. Diagnose the organization’s readiness for smart working and plan smart working implementation.

  • Learn about the previous experience of the organization with teleworking and how management and workers evaluate it.

  • Survey the attitude towards teleworking on the part of the staff and the management team.

  • Formulate and justify a compelling motivation for the organization's desire to implement smart working.

  • Analyze the suitability for teleworking of the processes and tasks in the organization.

  • Determine whether the predominant managerial styles are favorable or unfavorable to "smart working", in particular, regarding working by objectives and the forms of supervision and control.

  • Establish the degree of technological readiness of the organization for the adoption of teleworking.

  • Design a plan for the adoption of smart working in the organization, including the degree of teleworking versus on-site and its expected evolution.

2.2. Ensure that sufficient resources are available and that managers are aware of them.

  • Communicate to the top management the idea that enough resources are needed for a successful implementation of smart working.

  • Facilitate the development of sufficient support and resources to implement smart working in the organization and ensure that managers are aware of them.

  • Convey to managers the idea that implementing smart working will involve little effort.

2.3. Guide organization members on how to work remotely in an effective way

  • Show how smart working can be applied to the work of teams, from the individual contributor’s perspective.

  • Disseminate the idea that smart working boosts, or at least does not harm the teams’ or organizational output.

  • Show how to communicate in a clear (tangible, observable, communicable) way the results of the individual contributor’s work when teleworking.

  • Promote behaviors that would reduce managers’ perceived risk regarding smart working.

  • Show how the changes in existing work routines required by telework are not difficult to implement.

2.4. Promote endorsement of smart working in the organization

  • Convey to managers the idea that implementing smart work will involve little effort.

  • Disseminate the idea that smart working boosts, or at least does not harm the teams’ or organizational output.

  • Promote that smart working is seen as an option that does not require more effort than face-to-face work to complete specific tasks.

  • Encourage relevant people in the organization to recommend implementing smart work.

  • Promote that smart working is seen as something that provides status or a good image.

  • Encourage managers to believe that they are capable of implementing smart work.

  • Understand and reduce the level of anxiety caused to managers by the implementation of smart work.

  • Emphasize that smart working can be a pleasant way of working in itself, beyond the results it offers.

2.5. Evaluate and support smart work ongoing development

  • Design a set of measures to evaluate the effectiveness of smart working in the organization.

  • Design a set of measures to evaluate the impact of smart working on employees’ well-being.

  • Analyze the measures and suggest improvements on the smart working policies and practices.

Competency 3. Smart Working leadership

Smart Working Agents will need leadership competencies to reach their goals. In addition, they will also have the responsibility to act as role models for the other members of their organizations. In particular, these behaviors on the side of managers will promote that simple “telework” becomes authentic “smart work”.

3.1. Smart communication: The ability to choose the right communication channels, and to communicate via digital tools in a manner that is clear and organized, avoids errors and miscommunication and is not excessive or detrimental to performance.

3.2. Smart collaboration: The ability to create a positive work environment and to improve communication and collaboration through a variety of digital communication methods.

3.3. Smart change: The ability to manage change initiatives effectively through digital tools.

3.4. Smart teamwork: The ability to build, motivate, recognize, and hold accountable virtual/hybrid teams, while maintaining a proper and lasting cohesion of the work team.

3.5. Smart tech: Being technologically savvy and remaining current on relevant digital tools developments and ICT security-related concerns.

3.6. Smart trust: The ability to show emotional intelligence in smart work settings and to create a sense of trust by being perceived as honest, consistent, and fair.

Theoretical and methodological note

We will not go into the details of how we arrived at this proposal in this article. Suffice it to say the underlying theory is Technology Acceptance Model 3 (see Venkatesh & Bala, 2008; Chuttur, 2009), as it develops a comprehensive, integrated model of the determinants of individual-level adoption and use of technology, and the e-leadership framework by Roman et al. (2019). In addition, the WorkingSmart Erasmus+ partners elaborated a report on the situation of telework in their respective countries, conducted an expert focus group, and distributed a survey to understand the causes of telework acceptance.


Chuttur, M.Y. (2009). Overview of the Technology Acceptance Model: Origins, developments and future directions. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University. Working Papers on Information Systems, 9(37), 1–21.

Roman, A. V., Van Wart, M., Wang, X., Liu, C., Kim, S., & McCarthy, A. (2019). Defining e‐leadership as competence in ICT‐mediated communications: an exploratory assessment. Public Administration Review, 79(6), 853-866.

Venkatesh, V., & Bala, H. (2008). Technology acceptance model 3 and a research agenda on interventions. Decision Sciences, 39(2), 273–315.

Grant Agreement: 2021-1-FR01-KA220-VET-000025901

Copyright © 2022 Erasmus+ Working Smart. All rights reserved.

Privacy Policy