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What are digital workplaces and what does it mean for your business

Posted July 16, 2019
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A digital workplace is digital company infrastructure designed to “Increase employee engagement, skills, and satisfaction by helping your employees connect swiftly with customers, co-workers, and partners,” Microsoft

By Brenton Harris, Managing Director

What is a digital workplace? 

A digital workplace is a digital company infrastructure designed to “Increase employee engagement, skills, and satisfaction by helping your employees connect swiftly with customers, co-workers, and partners,” as Microsoft puts it

You can think of it as a key component of the modern workplace

This is a series of interconnected components that are specifically designed to reduce the time spent taking performing typical business and communication tasks, like learning whether someone is in the office today, waiting to see if a client has read an email, pulling together disparate onboarding resources, and trying to remember information from a meeting for later use. 

It’s about using digital components to streamline internal and externally-facing business operations, and using the insights gathered to hone these systems further and enhance operations. 

A digital workplace is people-centric, designed to accommodate users’ digital expectations they’ve grown accustomed to in their personal lives. 

As Gartner’s The Recipe for a Digital Workplace explains, “A digital workplace enables new, more effective ways of working; raises employee engagement and agility; and exploits consumer-oriented styles and technologies. It is based on the assumption that engaged employees are more willing to change roles and responsibilities and embrace new technology, enabling organizations to capitalize on the creativity of their workforce and deliver better business outcomes.” 

Components of a digital workplace 

Cloud-based services 

While typically, technology infrastructure has been hosted on-site, the shift towards cloud-based infrastructure is now in high gear. Traditional software and systems infrastructure providers are now spending more of their efforts in developing their cloud service offerings, with on-premise solutions now taking a back seat. 

What this means for businesses is that access to everything needed for employees to work effectively is available anywhere, anytime, often from any device. For example, instead of running around a building trying to find a meeting room, employees can pull up the building schematics on their phone. Or even better, if they’re stuck in wild traffic, they can just pull over and connect to video-conferencing with an apology for not being there in person, but still able to be involved in the meeting. Files can be accessed by people within your organisation or outside your organisation whether they are at their desks or not.  Software can be accessed by the web versions, meaning data is available to you in and out of the office.  

Optimising mobility for your workforce to increase productivity 

According to a Polycom survey, 67% of millennial’s found working remotely increased their productivity. To capture the new workforce, a digital workplace that allows for remote working will help increase workers’ productivity. 

Cloud services are the enabling technology behind the “work anywhere, work anytime” mantra, however you’ll need to work out the details of these arrangements, such as 3-5 core working hours a day, the need to be able to schedule meetings (even if they’re halfway across the world and will need to wake up for it.)  

You’ll need to make sure your digital workplace platform is available across devices, with secure access and compliance baked in. We recommend implementing a cloud document management system, such as SharePoint, as well as adding two-factor authentication to your devices, which means adding an extra layer of security to your accounts.  

“Digitally dexterous” employees to help drive adoption 

Hunting out your “digitally dexterous” employees and empowering them to help drive digital workplace systems adoption should be your first stop before HR training on your new systems. 

These are the people who are always chatting about the latest apps on their phone, life-hacks and setting up their own automation both in the workplace and at home to streamline their work and personal lives. 

Enlist their help for beta-testing systems, then on rollout, you can choose the most influential and extroverted to be your trainers – because your HR team may not be your best bet for training in this domain. Ensure ongoing training of non-tech-first employees to ingrain the best digital practices in the cultural fabric of your workforce. 

Metrics and analytics-based for continuous improvement 

The digital workplace has in-built data collection, analytics, and reporting to help refine your systems as you go along. The metrics that you gather will relate back to key business metrics, such as employee engagement (e.g. number of IMs per week, team board posts), marketing effect (e.g. inbound leads from a campaign, conversions), and resource metrics (e.g. revenue per labour-hour, time spent on similar projects). An interesting tool is the Microsoft MyAnalytics, which is included for all Office 365 Enterprise users or can be purchased as an add-on to your current licence. The tool gives you all the analytics needed to make data-driven decisions about your team’s work (or your own) as it tracks important metrics to help you be more productive, such as time spent on meetings, focus time, hours spent on emails, etc. 

Benchmarking before you implement a digital workplace is a particularly useful activity, too – if you are able to gather that sort of information with your current systems.   

How to build a digital workplace / digital workspace capabilities 

Gartner outlines the ideal building blocks for a successful digital workplace implementation

  1. Vision 
  1. Strategy 
  1. Employee Engagement 
  1. Organisational Change 
  1. Processes 
  1. Information 
  1. Metrics 
  1. Technology 

We highly recommend reading the report above for an overview of these key activities. As you can see, the technology that your digital workplace is built on is the final piece of the puzzle, not something added along the way without careful vision, assessment, and planning in place first

The benefits of implementing a digital workplace 

Planning and implementing a digital workplace now ensures that you’re ready for the future of work. It ensures you’re keeping up with the digital leaders in the engineering industry in terms of being an attractive workplace for talent. It increases productivity, accurate business objectives measurement, and relieves current communication and collaboration bottlenecks. 

If you’re ready to start your journey towards the holistic digital workplace, then get in touch with us at Bremmar. We can help collaboratively develop your digital workplace strategy and work out the best system implementation for your company, providing training and assistance along the way. Partner with us for the competitive edge. 

Get an initial consultation with Bremmar!

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By Brenton Harris, Managing Director

As founder & Managing Director of Bremmar, Brenton has overseen the company’s growth through strong client relationships and robust financial management. Brenton is actively involved in the day to day running of Bremmar and has over 15 years’ experience delivering solutions to streamline and solidify his clients’ businesses. Brenton keeps staff on their toes and is best known at Bremmar for being on top of just about everything through KPI’s, reports and display screens.

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