“The last ten years of IT have been about changing the way people work. The next ten years of IT will be about transforming your business.” — Aaron Levie, CEO of Box
In this hyper-competitive era, innovation and digitalization are paving the way for significant business transformation. The growth of advanced technology and tools like SaaS applications, cloud computing, AI, Automation, IoT, etc., have propelled businesses to revamp their work practices.
Organizations are going beyond their traditional work norms and have started embracing remote work. These changes were exacerbated and adopted at an exponential rate during the global COVID-19 pandemic, which mandated work from home.
As a result, companies started implementing cutting-edge technologies to facilitate teleworking and eventually transformed into a smarter digital workspace. However, this change is not limited to the pandemic period and is here to stay.
This article will discuss the significance of a more innovative digital workplace and cover some practical strategies to build one.
But before that, let’s understand what a digital workplace is.
What is a digital workplace?
A digital workplace consists of a set of processes and technologies that provide employees with tools for better communication, collaboration, task or time management, etc. It also simplifies their work and enhances their work efficiency.
These tools include email, intranet, HR tools, virtual meeting rooms, workflow automation tools, etc., which can be accessed securely from anywhere.
The digital workplace aligns technology with the workforce to increase productivity and efficiency regardless of in-office or remote work setup.
However, many organizations implement or invest in technology before formulating a proper plan or strategy. This can negatively impact the ongoing business operations and lower workforce productivity. So, framing a process is imperative before forming a digital workplace to ascertain a smooth transition.
It will help you analyze the work area and identify segments that require technology integration. Furthermore, it will serve as blueprints for the future working environment.
Let’s look at some of the benefits of a more intelligent digital workplace.
Why businesses should adopt a digital workplace?
According to a survey by Harvard Business Review, more than 62% of CEOs said that they have management initiatives or transformation programs underway to make their business more digital.
Here are a few prominent benefits that the digital workspace provides: –
Unify the workforce
Technology has simplified multiple business processes. This includes enabling the ease of doing business from anywhere in the world. Through advanced tools such as workflow automation, project or resource management, companies can now bring their workforce on a single platform, gain visibility of everyone’s attributes and schedules regardless of their locations.
Also, the digitally advanced collaboration tools help the teams share information and work cohesively, leading to project success.
Boost employee productivity & efficiency
Research by Harvard Business Review shows that organizations with smarter digital networks are 7% more productive than those without.
A digital workplace eliminates traditional boundaries by providing a wide range of tools. As a result, employees can share information faster, collaborate better on different projects, and meet team goals. In addition, other software such as automated tools or robotic process automation, etc., can automate mundane tasks so that employees can focus on human-specific activities. This leads to increased productivity and efficiency.
Increase flexibility and work-life balance.
The easy access to all the necessary information from anywhere coupled with the use of a plethora of conferencing tools readily available today has simplified remote team collaboration. Moreover, the distributed workforce can work seamlessly by implementing the right tools and technology. As a result, it provides them with flexibility and allows them to strike the ultimate work-life balance.
Reduce operational cost.
By setting up virtual meetings or using interactive digital whiteboards, you can reduce or eliminate in-person meetings, which saves on travel and overhead costs like hotel bills and airfare, rent, etc. Furthermore, using SaaS platforms will spare you from installing and maintaining complex software and hardware management, saving you time and money.
Improve employee engagement
As stated earlier, a digitally innovative workplace provides the right tools and technology to the employees to carry out their tasks. Additionally, the ease of connecting with the dispersed team across global boundaries enhances team cohesiveness. When employees’ needs are taken care of, and they feel belonged, it naturally enhances their engagement.
Increase talent attraction & retention
As per the latest study, companies that have adopted a digital workplace have experienced an increase in talent attraction and a 25 % lower turnover rate.
The Gen Zs are today’s new working generation. Being born in the technologically advanced era, they are highly tech-savvy. As a result, they have a natural tendency to learn new technology and thrive better when working with modern tools and technology at the workplace. Thus, forming a digital workplace enables organizations to attract and retain these potential candidates.
Considering the benefits of using a digital workspace, it’s time to formulate an action plan and create one for your organization.
Let’s explore the strategies that will help you establish one.
6 effective strategies to build a smarter digital workplace
Building a digital workplace strategy involves taking your employees, existing tech inventory, and business processes into account. Then formulating an action plan after analyzing and identifying every attribute will help you transition to the digital workspace successfully.
Here are some of the following ways you can implement to achieve the same:
Analyze your current workplace & create a transformational action plan
Analyzing the existing processes and practices is vital before implementing any changes as it helps better understand organizational needs. Moreover, having a thorough understanding will enable you to align your digital workplace strategy with the business objectives.
Additionally, conducting extensive market research to understand emerging technologies will help you determine the proper tech inventory. After factoring in all aspects and conducting the necessary research, you are ready to form the action plan. Along with this, you must focus on setting up a governance system that can ensure systematic implementation of the tools and monitor the developments.
Choose high-end technologies and tools as enablers.
According to a survey, 93% of companies consider innovative technologies necessary to reach their digital transformation goals.
A leader should carefully assess their existing IT system’s capabilities and determine whether it addresses their workplace problems. They can make a note of the software that needs upgradation, or processes that need new tools altogether, and so on.
There is a multitude of tools and technologies available, but not all of them serve the organization’s needs. Moreover, technology is advancing rapidly, so certain outdated tools cannot fulfill the needs of the modern business environment. Therefore, you must thoroughly research the technologies and take multiple demos to learn the different features before selecting the right one for your firm. For example, if you need security software, one must look at the multiple tools, analyze what each security plan covers, and then select it.
Develop a robust security system
The development of a digital workplace entails high-security risks as well. A high proportion of employees access company records through unprotected servers. Furthermore, unsecured cloud services, mobile access can further complicate data security.
Therefore, businesses require stringent security measures to protect data from cyberattacks, breaches, and so on. Using security software such as advanced malware protection, user authentication tools, firewall protection, etc., can help restrict access to critical and confidential information. Also, it can help protect networks, servers, and laptops from intrusions and other threats. Furthermore, IoT and Blockchain technology can be used by companies to upgrade their systems with new safety features.
Prioritize employee experience in the digital workplace.
According to Gallup, businesses with engaged employees see a 17% increase in employee productivity.
Employees are the cornerstone of organizational success. Therefore, it is imperative for a business to ensure that they have a seamless experience and all the needs of its workforce are met. During the process of establishing a digital workspace, managers must take employees’ experience and engagement levels into consideration. To accomplish this, leaders can conduct surveys to understand their employees’ needs better.
For example, if you have a design team in your company, constantly upgrading their designing software & tools will help them deliver better results. Thus, being at the forefront of the latest tech trends and catering to employees’ needs will allow your company to improve innovation and enhance the experience of your employees.
Organize training programs to empower employees.
Accepting change is never easy; the first reaction to change is always resistance. Similarly, when new technology is introduced in the workplace, it can cause employees distress if they are not adequately trained to use it effectively. Also, nowadays, organizations cater to a multigenerational workforce inclusive of Gen Z, millennials, and baby boomers. Usually, baby boomers are not abreast with the latest technology trends. As a result, employers must conduct training programs to ensure a smooth transition and enhance their technological quotient.
For example, providing employees access to online training sites or employing personnel to train the workforce can be beneficial. That way, employees will find it easier to learn new technologies, which will result in better performance.
Track performance to ensure continuous improvement.
Tracking and monitoring the performance of resources is crucial to determining the value of a digital program. This enables an organization to continuously learn and improve, which helps it to achieve better results. Managers can start by tracking employee productivity after implementing the tools.
To do so, managers can implement resource management software and track resource utilization levels across the enterprise. In addition, forecast vs. actual analytics helps determine whether the staff takes longer or less time to complete a task after implementing the new tech. Accordingly, they can take corrective measures and aim for continuous improvement.
Thus, it is clear that a solid digital workplace strategy is essential to upgrade the way your organization operates. Companies can effectively create a smart digital workplace by understanding the business goals, employee needs, tools, and technology.
The digital workplace is here to stay. Therefore, to remain competitive and thrive in the global market, companies must take the necessary steps to build a digital workplace that is aligned with their business goals.
The strategies mentioned above will help you create a comprehensive and secure digital workplace that can result in enormous benefits for your organization. It will also enhance your employees performance, satisfaction, and engagement and make your business progress seamlessly.
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