The Digital Workplace explained
— January 10th, 2020
Historically, the workplace was a physical space occupied by employees during regular office hours. But things have changed.
Today's always-connected, instant access, technology-centered environment has blurred the lines between the physical workplace and the place where work actually happens.
The digital workplace is a virtual, modern version of the office and the importance of its presence in order for businesses to compete with competitors and maintain employee satisfaction is significant. A survey shows that 82% of Millennials say that workplace technology influences what job they take, and as many as 91% of Gen Z say that technology is a major factor when choosing between similar jobs.
Digital workplace examples
In today’s world, there is no shortage of ways organizations can integrate technology into the workplace. Some examples include:
- Social and collaborative tools
- Communication and messaging apps
- Cloud storage tools
- Corporate intranet platforms
- Knowledge management systems
- Documentation sharing and storing
- Content management systems
- Internal and external content sharing tools
- Mobile devices integration
Digital Workplace Solutions
By integrating technology, employers can ensure their workers don’t feel they’re behind the curve on company news, feel disconnected from co-workers, or receive information that’s not relevant.
All-in-one internal communications solutions that combine email and analytics are a great way to introduce digital aspects to the workplace. These solutions are packed with features designed to engage employees with news that involves and interests them – and that they can ‘like’, comment on, and share. All of this activity drives employee advocacy.
What are the pros and cons of the Digital Workplace?
When examining what exactly the digital workplace means for businesses it is beneficial to examine both the positive and negative aspects a move towards technology will have.
Advantages of embracing digital technology
- Increases Employee Engagement
- Improves Communication
- Attracts and Retains Talent
- Increases Revenue
- Creates a More Collaborative Culture
- Unites the Workforce
- Allows More time for New Ideas
- Allows Employees to Work Remotely
- Provides a Better Customer Experience
Disadvantages of integrating too much technology into the workplace
- Dependency on Technology
- Increased Costs
- Employee Resistance to Change
- Data Security
- Striking a Human Balance
- Regular Upgrades and Maintenance
- Can be Distracting
- Loss of Interpersonal Communication Skills
How to map out a Digital Workplace framework
Involve Key Business Stakeholders and their Senior Teams from the Start
When it comes to digital workplace success, businesses must not overlook the importance of keeping stakeholders engaged. It is easy to assume that a partnership between communication, HR, and IT divisions are the most important relationship to get right. While these relationships are critical for organizations to stay successful, it’s the relationships with key business stakeholders that need to take center stage. This can be accomplished by consulting with stakeholders about new platforms and making sure they suit their needs.
Create a Vision and Clear Objectives for New Tools
A critical step in any digital workplace strategy is for businesses to have a clear vision of what the new tools being introduced will look like and how they can be utilized to reach targets and goals. Organizations must have an understanding of how the digital workplace aligns with a wider internal communications strategy. Ultimately, this vision describes the future state of the digital workplace and how it will benefit employees, customers, and other stakeholders.
Launch the Platform in a Compelling Way
Building attention and creating excitement around the launch of a digital workplace can be extremely useful in encouraging employees to make use of technology from the start. A good idea is to introduce new developments gradually to workers through snippets or teasers. This can include e-postcards, videos, screenshots, or a countdown clock. This will ensure employees are prepared and enthusiastic for the developments to come.
Recruit and Provide Ongoing Support to ‘Change Champions’
Developing a network of enthusiastic employee advocates to act as local champions and experts of the new technology is a great way to actively promote a digital workplace and help everyone get used to their new platform. As change champions, these individuals can encourage workers to use new tools, resolve any challenges, and act as local role models. They can also provide feedback about what is and is not working to company leaders.
Communicate with and Educate Employees
For some employees, being introduced to new technology when they are accustomed to carrying out tasks a certain way can be a daunting and stressful experience. This won’t be a challenge for tech-savvy workers, but for the ones who do struggle, it is vital for companies to offer them support and advice until they have familiarized themselves with new tools and platforms.
Leaders Must Lead the Way
One of the major benefits of a digital workplace is the way in which it is so easy for leaders to communicate and connect with their workers. With features like blogs, comments, ways to show recognition, and the ability to ‘like’ articles, leaders are able to immediately collaborate and listen to employees, wherever they are based within an organization.
Measure Goals and Success
Another important step for an organization’s digital strategy is to establish clear goals for the digital workplace and decide what exact goals they are hoping to accomplish. Aligning digital workplace metrics with business goals will ensure that all a company’s employees support the most critical priorities in the organization. Companies must also monitor how effective the digital workplace is in helping achieve these goals. Measuring this activity will allow businesses to get an understanding of how effective the current technology is and to decide if any changes need to be made.
Develop an Ongoing Adoption Program
However good a digital workplace is, not every employee will use it from day one. A key part of the strategy should be to continue to share key information, ideas, activities, and events on the digital workplace platform. Once the initial launch is over, for internal communication teams, the challenging but exciting work begins.
Embracing the Digital Workplace
The digital workplace can be defined as the idea that there is a virtual equivalent to the physical workplace, and that this needs to be organized and managed effectively because it is vital to employee productivity, engagement, and working health. A technology inclusive workplace is also essential in order for companies to compete with competitors and attract new employees. Establishing a clear strategy for the introduction of digital elements to the workplace will allow organizations to ensure a smooth transition to new technology and to keep current employees and stakeholders prepared and enthusiastic for new developments.