A 2015 CEO survey conducted by Gartner Inc. found that among top business priorities for CEOs were growth, technology, and workforce. Each of these priorities could be addressed by implementing a digital workplace with features such as new platforms, customer-centric online services, remote work optimization, and analytics improving workplace retention.
If you are assisting your organization to make your workplace digital, you may wish to keep the following guidelines in mind:
1. Give equal weight to the needs of employees as well as the organization
Thinking of the employment relationship through the lens of both the employer and the employee is a crucial element in implementing a digital workplace. It is natural to have expectations of your employees to perform to a certain measure, but in order to allow them to reach these expectations employee needs also must be recognized and met. Some of these needs could include access to best-in-class hardware, apps and content, the freedom to use one’s working time flexibly, access to a wide range of collaborative tools such as a supportive IT department, and personal analytics that could measure how employees are performing.
2. Approach the workplace as a collaborative environment
In medium size and larger organizations, various departments are seen as entirely separate entities and very little collaboration takes place between them. However, the implementation of a successful digital workplace requires that companies combine projects across departments. There is a lot of opportunity available for a collaboration of different minds to decide on the form of digital infrastructure that should be installed in each department to mesh well with the strengths and weaknesses of the employees within that department.
3. Consider user-friendly workplace technology
Developing technology for your workplace that would require a lengthy training period would be counter-productive. When building workplace technology, the focus should be on how the business process works and how the organization’s employees work. Technology specific to the workplace should be developed based on these two factors. Developing technology that builds on the intuitiveness of those who will be using it, will ensure that employees could transition without a great deal of disruption.
4. Set goals within a reasonable time frame
IT strategies take time to implement, especially when they cause a great deal of change within the organization’s processes. Rather than planning only for the present, a suitable plan for making the workplace more digital should account for future growth. It will be important to consider which changes could be done in the short-term versus which will require a longer-term implementation. For example, while integrating all applications together will be a long-term goal, a task such as integrating office system applications to allow employees to move data around should be comparatively straightforward and an example of a shorter-term goal.
Making the workplace digital could eliminate the barriers of physical offices, create open workspaces, encourage collaboration and enable more flexible and mobile work arrangements. Such initiatives could better assist organizations with dealing with rapidly-changing work environments. The above guidelines will form a good starting point for discussion around moving forward with making workplaces more digital. If your organization used different guidelines to making your workplace digital, please send them to me, and I may include them in a future post.