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The Definitive 2020 Digital Workplace Guide
The Definitive 2020 Digital Workplace Guide
The workplace has evolved. No longer is there one standard definition of what a workplace is but instead many intertwining and quite often, interchangeable definitions.
Whilst definitions may vary, it’s still important to get as clear an understanding of what a digital workplace is before diving any deeper. In general terms, a digital workplace may be defined as a “modern digital environment that utilises various software-based tools to achieve maximum efficiency and engagement across a business.” It's something that cannot easily be defined, but something that defines the ways in which we work.
Technology is everywhere. Our everyday lives are becoming increasingly dominated by it. And in the world of work, it’s no different. Digital technology now founds the basis of the vast majority of our work processes, granting us more power and flexibility than we've ever had before.
Digital technology has well and truly shaped the way in which we work and how we interact with one another. These days people aren’t restricted to the confines of an office the same way in which they would have been 20 years ago. Deskless workers are becoming increasingly common and frequently rely on finding new ways to maintain contact with their colleagues.
By using a combination of interconnected technologies, today’s modern deskless workers are able to bring a newfound sense of versatility to the fold. For many, immediate contact with their colleagues is nothing more than one click away. But it’s not only deskless workers that are now benefiting from the relentless technological advancement of the 21st century.
Traditional ‘onsite’ workers are now also reaping the rewards of improved connectivity and increased collaboration between their teams and departments. Digital workplace software is having a profound effect on the ways in which we work. It not only inspires people to be more communicative but builds bridges between people that may not have otherwise had the opportunity to interact. With better communication comes more efficiency and with more efficiency comes more productivity. Fact.
A Necessary Evolution
Technology and its many solutions didn’t all come about in some kind split second eureka moment. In fact, it's far from it. Like many things, innovation comes in bursts, inspired by our previous successes and failures. We can’t create what we can’t envision and we can't envision what we can't create. Innovation is a slow process and despite what you might think, it always has been.
It takes a long time for something that's dull and uninspired and change into something new and exciting. It’s a similar story in the world of work. Things like email, document storage, HR systems, payroll, knowledge bases have all evolved from something before them. Perhaps they were created out of necessity, by accident or simply because a previous system wasn’t efficient enough.
Either way, they didn’t happen overnight. These new technologies were slowly drip-fed, one by one into the workplaces that we all know and (hopefully) love today. Whilst the technologies and new innovations may have solved the individual problems they were designed to solve, they often proved incompatible with one another, making any kind of integration a monotonous and thankless task. Wrangling applications quickly turned into an administrative nightmare, and sharing information between the different platforms proved impractical and cumbersome.
This lack of integration can be largely attributed to the fact that the developers tasked with creating the various apps didn't make them compatible with one another in the first place. Although, this was hardly the fault of the developers. They were simply doing as they were told. Through no fault of their own the developers valiantly completed the tasks that they were given to do: to find and create a solution to common problems through technical means. Looking back, it all makes sense to have everything working in unison. But, as we all know hindsight is a wonderful thing.
In Melissa Perri’s ‘The Build Trap’, she explains that many developers are caught in an endless cycle of developing, simply for the sake of it. Rather than addressing customer needs or requirements, new builds are instead focused around making up numbers. This overall lack of governance and cohesion often led to a messy experience for modern-day workforces. Tools worked independently, rather than one comprehensive, intuitive work-based application.
But as it always does, out of necessity comes action.
Through years of impracticality and office-based turmoil, the digital workplace was born. Addressing a need to bring teams and work processes together, a faster, more efficient and collaborative workspace was ready to take the world by storm.
What Can A Digital Workplace Do for Me?
Now that we have a rough idea of what a digital workplace is and where it came from, now it's time to understand how it can benefit you and your business. A digital workplace, as we have already discussed, can be many things. A good digital workplace should match its users needs and requirements. The possibilities are far-reaching, and can in many cases used to facilitate growth and engagement .
1. Increase in Revenue
Digital workplaces save your team time and are an extremely efficient tool to use for any business. They’re often praised for their ability to make traditional work processes much simpler and offer much more flexibility than other alternatives.
Time is money, whatever the industry. Let’s say for example, a business was to enter into a new agreement with a prospective customer or large stakeholder. It could take an entire team a whole week to compile a series of important business documents from which they have to source from multiple teams and departments or dig through an endless sea of files to get to what they needed.
With a digital workplace, you can store all of your documents in one secure, cloud-based location for everyone to access and collaborate with each other in real-time. No more endless sifting and no more unnecessary back and forth over email. A digital workplace can save hours of unnecessary administration and help your team focus on the tasks that really matter, making your employees more productive and your business more profitable.
2.Increased Connectivity & Collaboration
Maintaining communication is important in any aspect of life. In the workplace it’s essential. Digital workplaces are well known for their ability to improve the communication capabilities of those that use them. Through shared areas, collaboration tools and instant messenger, employees can stay in touch at all times and benefit from a constant stream of relevant and insightful information from their colleagues.
Messaging can be instantaneous and can be linked to a desktop, tablet or phone, meaning that staff can take messages, wherever they are.
Often, dedicated groups can be created to discuss a certain topic or project, allowing people to engage and get involved. Maintaining communication is important in any aspect of life. In the workplace it’s critical.
3. Improve Employee Engagement
Digital Workplaces are a great way for employees to keep connected with their teammates and keep engaged with their company.
With the introduction of self-guided content and gamification, employees are encouraged to engage and interact with one another. Such engagement can lead to a stronger alignment towards a collective vision and prove extremely valuable for companies looking to inspire loyalty and advocacy.
4. Increased Employee Wellbeing
Employee wellbeing is considered extremely important in today’s modern workplace, and rightly so. Looking after your employees’ wellbeing can be extremely beneficial in several ways. Employees that feel well in themselves both physically and mentally are: less likely to take absences, more likely to feel engaged and be more productive.
Furthermore, those employees that feel like their place of work supports employee well being will be 89% more likely to recommend the company to others.
This being the case, many digital workplaces now have tools for employees to address and outline problems as and when they arise. Many platforms now facilitate whistle blowing functionality for employees that allows staff to flag issues to the appropriate leadership team. Many also integrate HR and support systems into their platforms giving their employees access to the resources that they need when they need it.
Increased recognition can also go a long way in making a team member feel like a valued part of the organisation.
Digital workplaces often include functionality for HR personnel or senior leadership teams to identify successes amongst their teams and share it with the larger team, helping their staff to feel valued and more incentivized to work.
Intranet vs. Digital Workplace – what’s the difference?
Quite often, Digital Workplaces and Intranets are understood to be one and the same. In reality, it couldn’t be much further from the truth. Before we start comparing one against the other, let’s look at what an intranet is, and what they do. An Intranet is defined by the Oxford dictionary as a “local or restricted communications network, especially a private network created using World Wide Web software.”
Traditional Intranets are very much driven by functionality, and in many cases pose a great number of administrative benefits. They are, however, very limited. Usually, an intranet serves a limited number of core functionalities, meaning that other apps are also needed to fulfil the necessary requirements of a modern-day office.
As we mentioned earlier, using a large number of independent apps can get particularly messy, confusing and downright irritating.
With all the rapidly accelerating advancements of today’s technology, it may come as no surprise that the Intranet is more than just a little outdated. When compared The Digital Workplace takes all of this administration and corralling of your applications out the picture.
Apps are often integrated into the system or installed as 3rd party plugins to be used in conjunction with the software, leading to a much more seamless and user-friendly experience. Digital workplaces have in many ways left the traditional intranet outgunned and outmatched.
How To Implement An Effective Digital Workplace Strategy
Adding value to your digital workplace comes in the form of introducing areas of content which perform an essential function which your users can’t do without, whether they know it or not. These features are designed to help your employees complete their everyday responsibilities, find key information about your company, and can greatly improve the well being of your workforce. Here are just some of the things that you can include in your digital workplace strategy to make it a key resource your users will appreciate and utilise daily.
Official Policy Documents and Forms
Having a single location to track down your official documents on internal and external policies allows anyone who works within your business to easily find the most up-to-date version of your information, removing the risk of people giving out out-of-date information to other employees, clients and customers. While not the most exciting thing to include in a digital workplace strategy, it is a vital tool which provides your users with the assistance they need.
Internal Values and Goals
Making sure that everyone within your business is aligned in their goals is a big step in taking your business forward and improving employee engagement. Having a central place where your employees can quickly reference and be reminded of your main business goals and values will help to keep your employees on the same page and uphold your brand values across everything they do.
Digital assets for your brand
When putting out press releases, creating graphics for social or any other potentially branded content, you need to be sure that employees are using the right files and resources to create these. This keeps the quality of all output consistent and ensures logos or graphics which are used are pulled from the most recent iteration, and any content is written with the right tone of voice. Putting templates for internal presentations and documents can also be a good use of your digital workplace support.
If you have frontline staff or sales teams who rely on keeping all product and service information handy, then creating a bank of all the necessary information they’ll need will help support their success in their roles. This way, they can give new customers or clients the best service possible and answer their queries with ease – but this will require managing and regular reviews to make sure any old documents are removed after being superseded by their newer iterations.
Certain aspects of your workplace itself can be documented and stored on your intranet to create a handy place to refresh your knowledge or help new employees orientate themselves to your building. Things such as fire assembly point or fire plan information, floor plans, phone lists, canteen menus and internet access information can all be especially useful to host on your intranet, especially if you have multiple sites which employees move between or visit regularly.
Key Process Information
If your company has a number of processes or tasks they have to complete as part of their role, such as taking customers through a number of steps or completing logbooks around incidents, then documenting these and storing them on your digital workplace can give your employees a reliable resource to fall back on.
These can be simple or complex processes, but by having them stored on your digital workplace you’ll have useful training resources available whenever they’re needed and a place where employees can double-check their knowledge and minimise potentially costly mistakes.
Ensuring your employees have easy, direct access to key human resources information plays an essential part in keeping your workforce happy and content. Every digital workplace strategy should strive to place an emphasis on their employee’s wellbeing and work satisfaction.
Having ways of reporting concerns, checking pay and benefits, booking holiday and checking on internal training will save your HR team time as elements can be automated and managed by line managers, whilst also reducing the number of questions which can be easily answered by having the relevant information clearly available within your digital workplace.
These are just some of the key areas of content you can include with digital workplace support, with the thing which unifies them all being that they support and enhance the capabilities of your employees. Establishing your digital workplace as a trusted resource that people can rely on when they need help will show your employees the value of having a proper digital workplace. Need some help setting up yours? Get in touch to book your demo to see how we can help you to create your ideal company digital workplace strategy.
Surveys are an integral part of becoming a more agile and holistically adaptable company. They allow you to get a 360 view on the business and address any problem areas that leadership may otherwise be unable to identify. Conducting surveys are also an effective way of making sure that employees feel that their opinions are valued and that they have a say in the way that their company is run. A strong employee voice is a must-have in today's competitive climate, regardless of your industry.
In summary, a digital workplace is what you make it. The most important takeaway, though? Embrace technology and reap the many benefits that it offers your business. Don’t and you’ll fall behind, period. The best and most successful companies in the world are making strides to make their teams more connected and engaged than ever before.
Recognising the importance of connectivity and versatility is paramount to staying competitive in today’s saturated market. With a strong team at your back, your goals are that much more achievable. Without strong, connected, foundations, however, you’ll only ever be destined to collapse.