A workplace is no longer the physical office space or place of work, it is wherever work takes place.
Network barriers, organisational silos, lack of knowledge sharing, restrictive work practices. Do these all sound familiar? It was not too long ago when just about every organisation would have had many of these issues, sometimes simply because there were no better ways to do things. With the introduction of new technologies organisations have been able to change and evolve the way in which they communicate, store and share information.
Embracing a digital workplace allows communication to be more streamlined than ever before and starts to break down these familiar barriers to communication and allow businesses to focus on core business.
So ‘what is a digital workplace?’ you ask.
The definition of digital workplace, like the technology it is based upon, continues to evolve. Its original meaning was simply a way of describing workplace tools and systems that used web, online, internet or electronic means. Today those terms are being replaced with ‘digital’.
More importantly it is more than just a term to describe the way we use technology, it is a concept with goals and real benefits. Even the smallest organisation can implement a digital workplace.
Prioritise people not processes or technology
For any organisation to get the most out of creating a digital workplace the primary goal is to put the people first. Some of the considerations for employees include:
- how they work
- what information they need to access
- who they communicate with, how and when
- what restrictions they have due to personal commitments
- Increased rate of adoption. If a solution is logical, easy to use and simplifies an existing task,
then employees will want to use it rather than avoiding change.
- Increased employee satisfaction. There are many reasons for this one, from employees feeling heard, being valued or simply struggling less.
- Meet expectations of new generations of technology aware employees.
Digital workplaces are about connecting - which means it is not a single system. It is not just an intranet, collaboration site or social media tool. The digital workplace may (or may not) include one or more of these systems and will also consider how each of the digital systems connect with each other and how employees connect with them.
Moving towards a digital workplace will either reduce the total number of systems or find ways in which they can become connected, streamlined and more user focussed rather than process driven.
The benefits of connecting systems in such a way gives rise to:
- systems that are easier to use, which in turn reduces the learning curves often related to change
- encourages innovation and process improvement by increasing communication and collaboration
- takes advantage of technologies that are familiar in people’s personal lives
- reduces redundancies and duplication
Break down the barriers to physical location
Once the systems are connected and the employee needs have been considered, digital workplaces can break down barriers and free up the way employees can work.
No longer do employees need to sit at a specific desk and PC to access a specific network. They can access the digital workplace from any location, desk or device, even allowing connectivity from personal locations and devices, freeing them from any traditional constraints.
No longer are employees restricted to only communicating within their own work team. Through social media, collaboration spaces, file sharing and other tools, employees can communicate and collaborate across teams, divisions or physical locations.
No longer are employees kept in silos and unable to participate in discussions or offer suggestions. Employees are empowered to engage, contribute and share knowledge via social media, blogs, team sites and surveys.
Solve real issues
Digital workplaces aren’t just about keeping up with the latest technology or keeping your employee’s happy and connected. It can be the answer to the real issues faced by most organisations, where business inefficiencies are created through the natural growth of the organisation:
- email overload
- too much paperwork
- lack of collaboration
- too difficult to find information due to too much information on too many systems
The answer for one large WA based organisation was to implement a digital workspace portal with an enterprise search across four main pillars:
- Document management
- Electronic forms and workflows
- Enterprise social engagement
Workflows and digital forms reduced the paper overload and began the move to a paperless office. The enterprise search gave employees the ability to search across all information and document repositories with a single search. Enterprise social allowed employees to narrow down the information, create a personalised focus, have a voice across the organisation and it addressed one of the main issues - email overload.
Not only were all the issues addressed, they now have a platform to build on allowing management to drive business change. With a commitment to continuous improvement they will be able to realise more benefits over time.
For more information on Digital Workplace solutions, or how Diversus can innovate and transform your business operations, contact Claude De Lucia (Director/Principal Consultant) on 1300 888 900 or firstname.lastname@example.org