Articles Opinion

[ARTICLE] Considerations of a Harmonious Digital Workplace

Sam Button, Head of Growth, Roar Media

The workplace is constantly evolving, increasing efficiency, productivity and workplace satisfaction is a huge part of business strategy. The advancement of ability to work in a more efficient and productive manner has been aided by working methodologies and the advent of new technologies. The rapid rise of technology in the workplace has encompassed all roles within organisations creating a connected matrix of devices, applications and users, establishing an organisations digital workplace.

The sprawl of each businesses digital workplace is massive, we have been building these systems for years, adding new devices, locations, teams, applications, storage & settings at a rapid rate. All the aspects of a digital workplace need governance, strategy and direction, it is important to take control of your workplace, assess any shortcomings and evolve to tailor to all of your workforce’s individual & team needs.

Why is the Digital Workplace so Important

Providing a network that encourages communication and collaboration, increases employee experience by allowing for location agnostic teams to work together and learn from each other. With the rise in global companies, both national & international delivery can be seamless & consistent through collaboration of employees in various regional & global offices.

Harnessing the power of your global workforce is not the only positive to having a connected digital ecosystem, remote working gives employees more flexibility and can be a huge employee benefit. However, the ability to work productively whilst remote relies on aspects of the digital workplace working in unison. There are several key inclusions of the connected systems which need to be addressed when building & maintaining a harmonious workplace.

Connectivity: Being connected with the network allows for instant access to data, customers & colleagues, these bridges greatly enhance the ability to deliver a desirable customer experience as well as supporting the planning and execution of projects.

Collaboration: Applications provide a digital environment for collaboration, built around methodologies and enabling productivity through idea sharing and product development whilst being remote.

Communication: Technology is an enabler for communication across a number of mediums. Connecting employees and teams across the world and providing real-time decision making and customer service.

Security: Having a secure network within a digital workplace is complex as there are more devices connected which need to be authenticated and all access points protected to ensure employees can work safely as well as customer data & sensitive company information is secure.

Access: Giving employees the opportunity to access their workstation including applications, communications & data from anywhere can massively enhance employee experience and flexibility.

The digital workplace includes multiple contact points for each user and information systems collecting and calibrating data from customers to feed into the CRM. Externally facing the collection of data has become incredibly important to an organisation, we need to understand our customers to enhance their journey and maintain an excellent customer experience. Customer retention, brand loyalty and promotion to peers is a perfect way to grow businesses, this is only able to work if you know your customers through the data you collect. This needs to then be fed into a cloud based CRM system with access anywhere to the correct personnel, which requires secure authentication of the user and their internal permissions.

This secure access to data remotely needs to be part of the strategy of your digital workplace, in addition to this, employees require secure access to their own applications, settings & personalisation from multiple access points. Cloud native logins are a great way to implement a truly remote digital workplace strategy which is truly anytime, anywhere delivery for your workforce.

Cloud computing enables your workplace ecosystem to run smoothly from a centrally managed point, as well as managing access and updating governance & security protocols, the infrastructure needs to be designed in a way to adequately store data in a cost effective way. Architects need to monitor systems to avoid data silos when updating their current infrastructure, digital teams also need to be wary of this and alerted when data is being stored but not being utilised. Whilst it is crucial to have a fully functioning digital workplace, there has to be an emphasis on cost and efficiency, deciding the most relevant tools, data & access for your workforce and minimising costs wasted on applications & data stored but underutilised, should form part of your digital strategy and workplace evaluations.

The rise in digital technology utilised within the enterprise is nothing new, as much as the recent publicity and adoption of remote working has been, remote working is nothing new either. However, the recent advances in technology have enabled a hybrid environment of digital & physical workspace to become the norm.

The best place to start when evaluating your own companies performance is to speak with your employees, gain knowledge from their experiences and understand what they are utilising effectively and what they believe would increase their happiness and efficiency.

You should also know your limitations, understanding your infrastructure and budget will help decide what cost effective improvements can be made which have the most impact to your workforce. Effective implementations with significant, measurable results increase trust from within your organisation that investing within the evolution of the digital workplace is beneficial.

The correct planning, testing and implementation strategies are important but it is paramount to look never look at your workplace as a finished product. Constant assessment of performance, feedback from employees and analysis of systems is required and improvement projects should be ongoing.

Leadership and management have a massive role in the adoption of systems, applications and methodologies. Educating your team in new workplace tools and training them on how to effectively use them is the only way to guarantee a smooth uptake within your team. Cultivating a harmonious environment requires buy-in from all to ensure communication and collaboration within one environment, employees need support from their peers and management to make sure they are correctly utilising the tools provided and nothing is being siloed outside of the company ecosystem by being taken offline or incorrectly stored.

Empathy plays a massive part in management and overcoming breakdowns due to data literacy can take time. It helps to show employees proof of concept by demonstrably showing them the time saved when performing daily tasks using new technologies. People learn at different paces but seamless harmony is only achieved if all employees have the same level of proficiency.

The future

It is clear that organisations have to be adaptable to unsuspecting conditions, whilst there used to be a small percentage of job roles which could be performed remotely, we are now entering an era where the demand to have the flexibility to work remotely for a percentage of time; is increasingly at an astonishing rate. A quick fix to implement a digital workplace may have been necessary for some companies but you need to have a long-term strategy to enable an environment which can be built on with newer technologies.

As with all digital strategy we are dealing with constantly changing demands, however, the digital workplace has to succeed in adapting to changing customer & employee demands in order to create optimal customer & employee experience. Improvements should be seen as an ongoing project, the workplace innovation should be a digital transformation journey on a design loop that is constantly evolving.

Register for free to attend Roar Media’s upcoming digital business online events;

September 10, The Digital Workforce Innovation Conference

September 16 & 17, The Digital Transformation Conference BST

October 7 & 8, The Digital Transformation Conference CEST

Full calendar available here.

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