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How a digital workplace can help your Not-For-Profit communicate and collaborate more effectively

Posted April 30, 2018
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A digital workplace can help your NFP to evolve and become more agile and productive. Read here how you can start building a culture of innovation and engagement through IT.

By Rushad Billimoria

With approximately 600,000 organisations across the nation, Australia’s Not-For-Profit sector is an important part of the economy, with over one million employees in addition to 4.6 million volunteer workers. These NFPs must overcome the same hurdles faced by most modern companies, such as staffing, governance, technology and communications challenges.

As demand for NFP services continues to grow, so does the need to evolve and become more agile and productive. In response, many not-for-profits are opting to implement a digital workplace that employees can use to work, collaborate and communicate more effectively. A digital workplace helps staff to quickly locate the data they need, share information with each other, work on the same version of documents and cooperate efficiently across disparate locations and time zones.

A recent report by GiveEasy, Innovation Index 2017, found that the NFP sector’s Innovation Index grew by 9% last year, with NFPs increasingly engaging in digital transformation projects that have improved delivery times, boosted collaboration, and enhanced their community reach.  GiveEasy noted that NFPs with a culture of innovation enjoyed a significantly higher organisational performance and income growth than those with a lower innovation score.

Key benefits of a digital workplace

  • Help employees to quickly find the files and documents they need
  • Enable employees to communicate more effectively across multiple locations and time zones
  • Build a positive culture in which staff are encouraged to share ideas and work collaboratively
  • Foster an environment where managers and employees share a passion and belief in the organisation
  • Encourage deeper employee engagement, productivity and flexibility
  • Provide the ability to locate and contact colleagues using a variety of communication channels
  • Reduce the time wasted on basic administration tasks and IT-related issues
  • Help your organisation to establish a point of difference and a competitive edge in the marketplace
  • Have a platform where staff and volunteers can share ideas and discuss specific topics, encouraging suggestions to solve issues or ways that your NFP can improve its support to its causes

Features of an Effective Digital Workplace

  • An effective digital workplace should be compatible with the existing applications that your employees use every day
  • The ability to interact with documents and communicate with colleagues should be the same whether the employee is in the office or working remotely
  • The digital workplace should enable staff to operate equally effectively using mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets, in addition to laptops and desktops
  • Employees should be able to attend and lead meetings from any device, and should not need to exit the digital workspace to access critical files or applications
  • The digital workplace should facilitate the preservation of content for future reference, analysis and learning
  • Support for rich content should permit employees to integrate voice, video, application and web resources into presentations and meetings

How to create your digital workplace

Building a digital workplace can be a challenging task. If you get it wrong, you’ll have wasted time, money and resources. But if you get it right, you’ll make your organisation more productive, agile and competitive.

It’s important to tailor your digital workplace to your own business environment and the challenges you face on a daily basis. Your employees won’t embrace the new digital workplace if it doesn’t significantly improve their ability to work effectively. In a recent study by Deloitte, 87% of organizations identified engagement and culture as a key challenge, so it’s essential to get your staff on-board early.

Begin by asking employees to name their biggest challenges and frustrations. What do they feel is missing or dysfunctional in the existing environment, and what are their primary obstacles to success? How can your corporate culture be changed to improve employee satisfaction?

Once you have the answers to these questions, you can define the problem and quantify the financial and operational impact to your business, which will allow you to build a business case and calculate the ROI for your proposed solution. Gaining management approval for the expenditure is critical, so this step will help you to demonstrate how the proposed new technology will benefit the organisation.

Once that’s done, you can begin by deploying technologies that address your employee’s key challenges, focusing on functional solutions that will engage, unify and educate your staff. Many vendors offer solutions that address the most common business challenges, but developing a cohesive digital workplace may require you to combine and customise a variety of platforms and applications.

But don’t deploy too many solutions simultaneously, as this could overwhelm employees and slow down your digital transformation strategy. Begin with a handful of solutions that solve your most urgent requirements, and once established you can continue to build on this initial base. By taking a measured and focused approach, your organisation will soon benefit from a widespread surge in collaboration, engagement and productivity.

Attempting to design and deploy a comprehensive digital workplace solution from scratch, with no previous experience, can result in your organisation purchasing many different solutions that don’t integrate. The result can be time-consuming and costly, so it might be a good idea to partner with a reliable IT service provider to help you get up and running as quickly and seamlessly as possible.

If you’d like to learn more about designing and building an effective digital workplace for your NFP, call Bremmar today on 1300-991-351 or email help@bremmar.com.au.

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By Rushad Billimoria

Technical Client Manager and Solutions Consultant

With over 9 years’ experience in the IT industry, Rushad has general skills across multiple technologies and is highly experienced in understanding his clients’ businesses and leading their IT strategy. After managing a team of 4 technicians at Bremmar, Rushad now works hard as a Solutions Consultant and aims to present his clients with the right and most effective solutions to help them achieve business goals.  Besides all his knowledge, Rushad puts a smile on everyone’s faces with the fashionable shirts he wears on casual Fridays.

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