The workplace has changed.
“Going to work” doesn’t just mean turning up at the same bland office every day and sitting at a desk. The concept of work has evolved, to a point where businesses are no longer just points on a map, they’re constantly-connected enterprises operating from various locations across the globe. As such, employees are more dynamic, diverse and empowered than ever before.
As the lines between the physical office and employee productivity continue to blur, firms have begun to embrace and implement new technology that breaks the shackles of the standard single-location company. The right digital workplace strategy allows enterprises to bring down the communication barriers in their enterprise, and transform staff experience for greater growth, productivity, and innovation.
Today, 95% of organisations say that a digital workforce strategy is important, and 87% of CIOs feel that simply giving employees more digital power could drive a minimum of 5% additional revenue growth in a period of 3 years.
So, What Is the Digital Workplace?
Defining a digital workplace is tough. Depending on who you ask there are plenty of different translations of this term, ranging from the “interconnected web of technologies” employees use to do their jobs, to the natural evolution of a workplace environment. Essentially, it’s a move towards a more advanced workplace, driven by several key trends:
- Changing generations: Baby boomers are retiring, and new, digitally-native millennials are taking their place. It makes sense that a younger workforce of people who were raised on digital technology would bring new innovations into their office spaces.
- Intelligent experiences: As the business conversation becomes more about the “experience” and less about the product, intelligent technology allows companies to tap into the data they need to make critical decisions.
- Agility: As the digital world continues to innovate, companies either need to move at the same pace or risk falling behind their competitors.
- The consumerization of IT: Modern employees want to use the same kind of technology in the office as they do at home.
- The rise of the social enterprise: Work has begun to emerge as more of an “activity” and less of a location.
As workplace demographics continue to shift, employers are embracing technology to facilitate a multi-generational workforce, adapt to the growing demand for mobile devices, and explore opportunities for increased productivity.
Why Do We All Need to Adopt a Digital Workforce?
Ultimately, today’s companies no longer have a choice of whether to embrace digital workforces or not. Employees who work in digitally-advanced environments are more motivated and productive, and an upgraded workforce can deliver endless opportunities, including:
- Agility: Technology can help companies to respond faster to potential issues. Things like predictive analysis can determine where problems might arise before they occur. Unified communications help to streamline conversations and solve products faster. A digital workforce helps organisations keep pace
- Productivity: With a digital workforce, employees can access the channels they need instantly to uncover useful information and give context to challenges. According to Deloitte, organisations with a strong social network, for instance, are 7% more productive. On top of that, the remote working capabilities of the digital workforce give companies access to the efficiency boosts people get from working at home
- Engagement: As engagement in the workforce continues to falter, the modern technology world can empower staff to perform to the best of their abilities – regardless of where they might be working from
The statistics around digital working speak for themselves. According to Deloitte, not only would 64% of employees be happy to get paid less if they could work away from the office, but organisations implementing strong digital tools see as much as a 20% increase in employee satisfaction.
So, how do you create your own digital workforce?
The answer isn’t simply investing in as much new technology as possible. Instead, it’s about taking your own distinct digital transformation (DX) journey, based on what you know about your employees, and what they need for productivity. Most digital workforce experiences will include a consideration of:
1. Connectivity, Collaboration and Communication
Communication is always at the heart of business transformation. People and culture lie at the heart of any workplace performance, and the more solutions you have available for efficient communication and collaboration, the easier it will be for your company to evolve. The key here is to find out how your staff prefers to communicate before implementing anything new. This way, you can develop a change implementation plan that aligns with your existing infrastructure.
2. The Demand for Mobility
As smart mobile devices become more essential in the consumer world, employees expect to be able to access the same technology in their business lives. Mobile technology can break down some of the boundaries that prevent online training, meetings, and video learning from evolving. BYOT, BYOA, and BYOD solutions are becoming increasingly common considerations for forward-facing brands. The key is to implement a strategy for secure and versatile communication before your employees start to use their own devices, without your input.
3. The Rise of Video
Communication has expanded. There’s more to the connections we make each day than the conversations we have on the phone. Video communication has emerged as just one of the solutions to make external and internal comms more immersive for the modern company. Video can make presentations, collaboration, and meetings more engaging and effective by providing a deeper face-to-face experience regardless of where participants might be located.
While improving customer experience (CX) is the end goal of many organisations today, the first thing you need to do to get a better customer experience, is support your employees. The people using the technology in your organisation need to find it as empowering and supportive as possible if they’re going to give customers the level of service they’re looking for. Innovative new technology like unified communications which brings dispersed applications together on the same device can make employees more efficient, productive, and satisfied.
Finally, the move to the digital workforce means embracing the huge amounts of information you already have in your business. It means implementing the analytics, AI, and other solutions that can take advantage of everything from your buyer journey details, to the conversations you have with customers. The more information any business has, the more powerful it becomes. Information can even be implemented in the form of virtual assistants that offer contextual support to employees. A little bit of innovation can go a long way for a digital workforce.
Designing Your Digital Workforce
As the marketplace continues to evolve, the businesses that get ahead will be those who can replace the confusion and chaos of the traditional employee experience, with a unified system, accessible from any location and any device. Work for the modern environment is no longer a destination, it’s a commitment to reaching unified goals shared by a constantly connected, but ever-more dispersed group of individuals.