The workplace is undergoing a digital evolution that is growing increasingly significant for businesses, to the extent that the digital workplace can no longer be ignored. What are the challenges facing companies as a result of this new workplace? How can it be implemented such that employees adopt it as part of their everyday practices?
What Is the Digital Workplace?
The ways in which we work have been fundamentally redefined as a result of the transformation of companies, the advent of the Cloud and the emergence of mobility, forging new management structures in favor of contemporary digital culture. In this constantly shifting landscape, the digital workplace offers technological tools designed to enhance the efficiency of employees.
Built from the user up, the digital workplace is a response to challenges relating to productivity, both streamlining information and facilitating the processes around that information. Additionally, it serves as a vehicle for collaboration and wellbeing at work.
In practice, the digital workplace consolidates all of the information systems and applications of an organization on one shared platform. Its single authentication system provides access to all the associated features combined and integrated into one: document management, corporate social network, project management tools, business processes, collaborative applications and more.
The challenge is to successfully manage the impact of the transition, in order for the implementation of such a project to fulfill its promise and open the door to greater productivity.
The Digital Workplace: What Is the Added Valued for Companies?
The consequence of the myriad tools born from new technology, combined with the evolution of work habits, for example, remote working, is that business practices such as email and data storage on servers have been rendered “obsolete.” We have entered an era of real-time reactivity, innovation and collaboration. These are now prerequisites for keeping up with the curve when it comes to productivity, at the risk of falling behind the competition.
Single Access to All Applications
The innovation of the digital workplace lies in the development of a global solution combining tools, organizational strategies, processes and security into one. It functions as a single access point to a complete aggregation of diverse technological features: business applications (accounting, CRM, etc.), search engine, instant messaging, collaborative tools, team workspaces, internal social network and more besides.
Internal Communication Streamlined
Each and every employee therefore benefits from the same level of access to information, as well as tools adapted to their individual needs. The automation of certain tasks increases the productivity of employees and allows them to focus their attention on their core activity. Furthermore, the platform facilitates communication and collaboration at any hour and from any location, even on the go. To sum up, reactivity and synergy make for enhanced productivity!
Some 60% of [European] organizations haven’t developed a formal and comprehensive strategy around how they deploy or plan to benefit from workplace technology
What Are the Obstacles to Avoid When Implementing the Digital Workplace?
Implementing a digital workplace platform, such as Microsoft Office 365 or G Suite, is a significant undertaking. There is a risk of approaching it solely as a technical project, as opposed to a genuine transformation of the business.
1/ Not Defining a Strategy Upstream of Deployment
“Some 60% of [European] organizations haven’t developed a formal and comprehensive strategy around how they deploy or plan to benefit from workplace technology”, according to The Digital Workplace Report: Transforming Your Business published by Dimension Data.
In short, “we have to implement it,” yet we do not really know for whom, why, how, where, to what extent and to what end. Not having the requisite foresight risks tipping the balance of success very quickly toward failure.
2/ Not Having a Shared Strategy and Objectives
Before getting carried away with the idea of communication using the latest technological advances and the potential benefits for personnel, it is vital to clearly establish a shared vision that gives meaning to the impetus for change, in addition to shared objectives conveyed as part of a comprehensive plan for communicating the digital workplace project.
3/ Ignoring Past Barriers to Information Systems
The complex nature of existing information systems has constituted a barrier to the evolution of work practices up to now, in the same way that any deployment of new technology can be perceived as a mountain to climb. This despite the fact that the original goal is to simplify processes, promote collaboration and improve flexibility.
It is therefore imperative to overcome these barriers so that the implementation of the digital workplace may be welcomed by employees with enthusiasm, as something that truly adds value. The question is: how?
The Key to Successful Digital Workplace Transformation: Adoption by Employees
As with any company transformation project, the success of your digital workplace transformation depends not so much on actually installing the tool, but on your employees adopting it and using it as intended. Technology ultimately exists to facilitate new work practices, but the key is understanding how to change the ways in which teams collaborate together.
1/ Uniting Every Employee Under a Common Goal
From the very outset of the project, it is crucial to unite every employee under a common goal. This entails identifying the needs of specific teams based on their members and customary practices, inspiring a shared vision based on the challenges at hand and setting objectives to achieve by virtue of the digital workplace.
Do you wish to optimize project management, encourage teamwork or automate certain processes? What about mobile access to the platform? Does all the data have to be integrated into the digital workplace?
In essence, we need to ask the right questions upstream of deployment and “play it” collectively.
2/ A Clearly Defined Work Environment
It is important to reflect on the various levels at which the change is due to take place, in order to balance company policy with employee empowerment. As the digital workplace grants employees access to company data anytime, on any device and from any location, the work environment has to be well defined.
To this end, there are three key points to consider:
- Determining which tools are the most suitable and secure, providing the room for maneuver necessary to adapt to changes in the sector;
- Outlining the scope of application for the various tools: document management, workflows, schedules, messaging, etc.;
- Identifying new practices associated with their use.
3/ Positive Communication of the Project
It is also highly important to remain motivated to communicate about the project in a manner that is engaging, positive and persistent.
For example, you might incorporate:
- videos for learning and engagement through play,
- practical guides for each department,
- employee feedback,
- personalized recommendations, etc.
Irrespective of your chosen communication channels, it is always essential to encourage proactivity.
4/ Measuring Individual and Collective Adoption
In order to gauge the extent of individual and collective adoption, as well as the performance levels achieved, it is necessary to establish simple, shared Key Success Indicators during the preparation phase for the project. These can be used to objectively measure uptake of the new practices and address specific avenues for improvement.
5/ Creating a Community Dynamic
Forming groups based on the diverse business areas, interests and skills of employees will enable you to:
- remove hierarchical silos,
- foster individual recognition,
- stimulate transparent communication,
- develop more effective collaboration.
An internal dynamic will take shape as natural ambassadors within the company provide personal leadership for its communities, conveying the new methods of working and best practices. In this way, the adoption of those practices associated with the project will gain a sustainable momentum, while performance levels will be attained more quickly.
6/ Maintaining Employee Engagement in the Long Term
Whereas employee involvement in the planning and decision-making process lends meaning to the necessity of the digital workplace and promotes adhesion to the project, it is equally necessary to ensure long-term support and leadership throughout the transition, beyond the deployment phase, to maintain employee engagement. With employees themselves driving the transformation, this represents a key aspect of the success equation for the project.
Onward to the Office (R)evolution
The implementation of the digital workplace entails the (r)evolution of the physical office, the opening up of workplaces and a profound transformation of habitual practices. It is more than a mere reorganization or installation of new tools, it represents a genuine transformation project for the company, the key to success of which is its adoption by employees.
The change management platform InsideBoard is helping companies rise to this challenge. Seamlessly integrated with digital workplace tools, including Microsoft Office 365, InsideBoard enriches the employee experience by offering them a chance to learn, train at their own pace, naturally adopt new routines through play, discuss best practices with their work community and measure their progress in real time.
Gone are the days of stacking up applications! InsideBoard combines all the essential drivers of engagement on one platform for the successful and sustainable implementation of the digital workplace.