What is a Digital Workplace?

A digital workplace is an always-connected environment that provides instant access to everything employees need to get their tasks done. It’s an understanding that work is now a location-agnostic event that can happen at any time on any device. Digital workplace initiatives are all about how technology is transforming the type of work employees perform, as well as where and how work gets done.

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Overview of Digital Workplace

One of the biggest shifts that the Covid-19 pandemic has brought about in the economic world is the way people work and where they work from. Due to the immense shift towards remote work post COVID, the workplace is no longer a physical space, an office, or a desk that employees occupy during regular office hours. Today’s always-connected, instant-access environment has blurred the difference between the physical office space and the place where work is done.

Remote work and a dispersed workforce are the major reasons why workplaces are becoming digital. And as workplaces become more digital, employees are communicating and collaborating in unprecedented ways. Hence, in order to reflect their staff’s changing work ways, leading organizations are starting to implement a new working environment called the digital workplace.

Benefits of the Digital Workplace

Flexibility

Millennials make up the largest block of the U.S. labor force and a digital workplace is key to attract, retain, engage and motivate this generation. This is because the Digital workplace allows employees to work on their choice of devices to facilitate the modern workstyle. 

Also, employee content and data are securely embedded in the collaboration tools (like Asana, Zoom, Microsoft OneDrive, etc.) and cloud storage, making it easier for users to access data from any device, irrespective of the place they are working from. Access to this data increases efficiency and drives employee productivity. These collaboration tools allow easy access to virtual meetings, removing the barriers of time, location, and devices. This flexibility provided by Digital Workplace lays a greater work-life balance for the employees, boosts employee engagement and enables them to work remotely with optimum productivity. 

Improved Communication and Collaboration

Almost 86% of employees and executives blame lack of collaboration and communication for workplace failures, according to SmallBizGenius. 

Since communication and collaboration play a major role in getting work done across an organization without any hiccups, digital workplace initiatives provide a virtual business space for your team members to be aware of what’s going on in the company. It allows teammates to keep in touch with each other at all times even when they are outside the office.

Information Access

Have you ever wasted your productive time looking for a doc your colleague emailed you last month or the Dropbox folder you put your sales pitch in?

Searching for information at the time of need can be a tricky business since all your important work documents are scattered over Google Drive, OneDrive, email attachments, and PC folders.

Digital workplaces handsomely provide a solution to this problem by allowing team members to gather all of their content and information in one place. A central location for all files, documents, weblinks, and other rich media makes it easier for employees, irrespective of their location to access information from any device whenever needed.

Increased Efficiency

Did you know that work overload can decrease employee productivity by 68% because they feel they don’t have enough hours in the day to complete their tasks?

Since running a business in 2020 is all about being efficient and achieving more in less time, the Digital workplace is the need of today. A digital workplace can help increase productivity by getting rid of commute times, time spent searching for information, as well as time spent on other administrative tasks that can be done quickly with technology.

Knowledge Management and Sharing

Imagine your operations director with years of experience decides to switch to another place or retires? They take the knowledge, which is extremely useful in teaching new hires about the ins and outs of your business processes, with them and it becomes an uphill battle for you to lay the foundation of an efficient workforce.

In fact, Fortune 500 companies lose roughly $31.5 billion a year by failing to share knowledge, according to Bit.AI. Well, that’s a lot of money if you ask me!

A Digital workplace uses software like knowledge management systems that allow organizations to preserve this valuable knowledge and experience of senior managers even after they are no longer a part of the organization. With these systems, your employees can easily access this information at the time of need and continue working without any hiccups.

Digital Workplace and Employee Experience

Digital workplaces help improve overall employee experience in an organization by, 

Embracing the remote work culture

A digital workplace facilitates easy access to information all in one place, delivers the right information to the right people at the right time, and provides the necessary tools and technology for your remote employees to make sure that their productivity isn’t compromised. 

Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)

Most employees, especially millennials, prefer to work from their own devices because they feel more engaged, motivated, and comfortable. And with digital workplaces, employees can access their work-related data from anywhere on any device, as long as they are connected to the internet. This gives employees the freedom to use any device that they prefer and improves the organization’s overall employee experience.

Communication and collaboration

Communication and collaboration is the key to business success and innovation. With digital workplaces, internal communication channels can be set up for every team, making it easy for employees to communicate with each other, share ideas, innovate and solve customer challenges in real-time.

Learning and development opportunities

Providing learning and development opportunities for employees signals that an employer values their workers and helps boost the overall employee experience in an organization.  

A Digital Workplace aligns the aspirations of employees with development opportunities by providing easily accessible mobile apps and comprehensive interfaces to help employees learn from anywhere and enhance their skill sets.

Digital workplace framework

  • Assess the current state of a workplace to identify the tools, technologies, strategies & roadmaps:
    • Assess technical capabilities
    • Assess skill level of workforce
    • Assess Organization’s capability to change
  • Stakeholders & Buy-In:
    • dentify senior sponsor
    • Identify key stakeholders across all functions
    • Identify current stakeholders for tools and services defined in the scope
  • Design a roadmap:
    • Define clear, achievable organizational goals 
    • Assign fixed timelines to goals 
    • Create metrics to offer insight into the progress of the change project 
    • Address potential roadblocks within the strategy
  • Build Your Toolbox:
    • Include the tools & technology employees need to get their jobs done
    • Tools vary depending on your business needs 
    • Adopt the right tools and technologies for a cohesive digital workplace
  • Implementation & Measurement:
    • Determine the approach for the roll-out of services and apps
    • Engage the Change Management team
    • Establish delivery teams and local buy-in for implementation
    • Establish success metrics and KPIs 

What are the different Digital workplace components?

People

The successful transition to a digital workplace ultimately comes down to “people” because employees are the most valuable asset of an organization. A digital workplace empowers your employees to drive knowledge management and collaborate in ways that make sense to them and deliver value. Here are some ways to achieve measurable value:

  • Provide applications that help employees identify cross-sell and up-sell opportunities 
  • Supply tools and technologies to help research, develop, and deliver new products more quickly. 
  • Enable employees to find the required information quickly to serve their customers better and improve the overall customer experience.
  • Provide tools and technology that help employees execute business processes and functions as currently designed.
  • Provide the right tools at the right time for their employees to their jobs

Tools

Every organization already has a digital workplace toolbox in place. For most organizations, it can be broadly classified under eight categories to support the ways in which employees communicate, collaborate, connect and deliver day-to-day tasks. Usually, these tools are implemented in silos without the benefit of a holistic digital workplace strategy. To overcome this issue, organizations need to create a digital workplace strategy that articulates the business processes and helps identify the appropriate tools and technology needed in the toolbox, according to the business processes and requirements.

Culture

An organization’s culture guides the way employees work. It determines how employees leverage the digital workplace to connect, communicate and collaborate. The key here is to understand your employees’ needs and develop a digital workplace strategy that aligns with your organization’s work culture. With this culture change, and technology components, a digital workplace helps you improve: 

  • Collaboration: In order to operate productively in a digital workplace, organizations need to leverage knowledge across the enterprise with integrated and intuitive digital collaboration tools that can help employees to work together. 
  • Communications: To ensure the correct information reaches the right audience, employees need tools and technologies to support two-way communication and the personalization of content. 
  • Connections: Employees need tools that allow them to connect and gain insight from one another. A digital workplace delivers on these goals by enabling a stronger culture and community within the workplace.

Top Reasons To Build a Digital Workplace

  • Digital Workplace attract top talent 
    64% of employees would choose a lower-paying job if they could work away from the office.
  • Digital Workplace bolsters productivity by self-help tools 
    Self-help tools empower users to resolve their own issues by getting answers to their queries at any time without having to raise IT support tickets and wait for long periods of time for a resolution.
  • Digital Workplace boosts employee satisfaction 
    Organizations that rolled out and installed social media tools internally found that there was a 20% increase in employee satisfaction.
  • Digital Workplace increases flexibility and improves employee engagement
    Digital workplace attracts and retains talent while increasing employee engagement by allowing employees to choose their own devices and facilitate a variety of work styles. 
  • Digital Workplace brings remote employees together
    Digital workplaces are the perfect solution for remote workers because they provide a virtual location for employees to collaborate and communicate just like they do in a physical office.
  • Digital Workplace accelerates in time to market 
    Digital software assist employees with testing and delivering products and services faster.

Challenges of a Digital Workplace

Employee Resistance:

Employees are usually resistant towards anything new if they do not believe the change would make their work-life easier. At this point, it might be really hard for employees to move away from their regular ways of working in a physical environment to a remote work environment. The pandemic outbreak forced people to move towards the digital ways of working, to which people are still trying to adapt because there is no other option for them. 

As far as organizations are concerned, this is an opportunity for them to move towards a digital workplace structure and reimagine how they want to get the work done. But for them to be successful, it is important to overcome the employee resistance which could otherwise end up defeating the purpose of the digital workplace.

To overcome resistance and introduce a digital workplace successfully in your organization it is important to explain the value it can provide to the employees in improving their work efficiency.

Cyber and Information Security:

With continuous phishing scams and data breaches of customer and employee data around the world, cybersecurity and information security are usually making headlines. CIOs are under intense pressure to ensure protection against these attacks. Although many organizations do have robust information security policies, enforcing them across the digital workplace can be challenging.

The best way to get through this challenge is by using a digital workplace platform that can directly comply with all data security guidelines. Or conduct end-user security awareness seminars that help employees understand the importance of data security and best practices to follow while accessing confidential data from their devices.

Issues with Employee Productivity:

You might experience a dip in employee productivity for the first few weeks after implementing the digital workplace as it can take time for them to get used to the new technology. 

Post-implementation, productivity depends on the effectiveness of training and upskilling sessions provided to the employees to leverage the new platform. The L&D process design needs to be focused more on objective end-user performance and productivity.

Why choose Whatfix as your digital workplace solution?

A Digital Adoption Platform like Whatfix can be adopted as a digital workplace solution by organizations to bridge the gap between humans and technology by prioritizing user adoption. 

Effective training sessions can be conducted by using a digital guidance platform like Whatfix that integrates learning into application environments to serve employees the right information when needed. Whatfix DAP allows organizations to create and embed interactive walkthroughs, within an application, guiding users through every step of a workflow in real-time. It enables employees to learn while actively working on the tool to understand it better, thereby reducing digital fatigue. 

By addressing the product adoption challenges through intuitive, in-app guidance, DAPs help employees understand the functionalities in real-time and reduce end users’ time-to-competence thereby improving their overall performance.  

Whatfix can help your organization build a human-centered approach to meet employee expectations and grow an effective, digitally-enabled workplace. 

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