Digital Transformation Insights – What is the Digital Workplace?

The digital workplace is a term describing a digital transformation strategy that brings together all elements of the workplace. Successfully implementing a digital workplace strengthens company culture, enhances employee engagement, and boosts company revenues while achieving business objectives.

When organizations consumerize the workplace, they introduce technology initiatives that are intelligent and innovative, providing employees with an easier and effective way to do work.

In the digital era, companies must learn to leverage new tech to replace old, outdated systems and methodologies of work that take up valuable employee time. When companies provide a fluid workplace environment for their employees, they boost engagement levels, while reducing bottlenecks and inefficiencies in communications.

The digital workplace is more than a buzzword floating around HR meetings. It’s the new evolution of how employees do work and how they interact with the organizational brand.

Why Do Companies Need a Digital Workplace?

Every digital transformation comes with tech upgrades and overhauls to business processes. However, many companies are starting to realize they need to do more for their employee experience than support an engaged and agile workforce in today’s rapidly evolving business climate.

A digital workplace strategy needs to look at driving digital workplace dexterity through looking at the way employees work, the tools they use at work, and the skills that they need to develop to advance their career prospects.

Companies need to start taking an interest in the physical workplace, as well as the digital workplace when looking at how they create a company culture.

Taking a holistic viewpoint on the digital workplace allows organizations to build teams that foster collaboration, boost engagement, and improve communications.

How Can the Digital Workplace Influence the Employee Experience (EX)?

The primary goal for any digital workplace strategy is improving the employee experience. Many companies make the mistake of implanting digital workplaces to benefit the customer experience while failing to take note of the employee experience.

As a result, these companies find that they experience dwindling levels of employee engagement. Companies that are failing to integrate digital workplaces, lose top talent to competitors, while damaging their employer brand. As a result, these companies may also find that they battle with attracting fresh talent as well.

Employees are more likely to perform and engage in the workplace if they feel meaning in their work. Employees want to feel open to express creativity, tackle new opportunities and challenges while remaining flexible and agile to navigate the complexities of the evolving digital workplace.

When companies introduce consumer-style technologies into the employee experience to replace older, outdated tech, they boost employee engagement. However, organizations need to ensure that the execution of the new tech offers improvement for the employee experience.

Too often, companies place too much focus on compliance and feedback from accounting, HR, and other departments, instead of looking at employee feedback on the ground.

Digital workplaces can include the use of immersive technology from digital solutions, such as AR and VR experiences mixed with auditory, haptic, and visual sensory elements. These tech innovations provide companies with a means to convey a sense of presence in the real-world that boosts engagement levels with virtual or remote employees.

Employee engagement platforms, as well as incentive and reward programs, should work towards improving employee morale in EX.

Introducing innovative tech solutions like Chabot AIs, virtual assistants, and other forms of conversational tech assists employees with working faster and smarter through automating routine tasks. Machine learning tools can engage with employees and deliver meaningful content proactively.

Smart talent tools can help companies search talent pools using algorithms to match employees with the right skills to roles for projects. These elements work together in synergy to enhance the workplace for employees, helping them find meaning in their work.

As a result, employees find roadblocks and bottlenecks to effective communication, collaboration, and support, removed from their everyday work experience. Companies can expect an increase in employee engagement across all departments while boosting bottom-line revenues.

Why Do Organizations Need a Digital Workplace?

Organizations understand that change is the only constant in the digital environment. Digital transformations change organizational structures and how they do business.

Cloud services make the digital workplace a nimble and agile environment, placing the right data at the employee’s fingertips at moments that matter in both the employee and customer experience. Digital workflows enhance productivity by removing double work and repetitive tasks in the workplace.

The future of work is going through dramatic changes, and the company needs to keep up or get left behind by competitors. The digital workplace offers companies the opportunity to get first-mover advantage in their niche, implementing solutions that improve both the consumer brand and employer brand of the organization.

While it true that no two digital workplace strategies are identical, each plan includes a combination of workflows, tools, places, skills, and culture to ensure a successful digital transformation.

How Can We Define the Digital Workplace?

The digital workplace is the virtual counterpart to the physical work environment. Just like the physical workplace, the digital workplace requires extensive management and planning for it to accommodate and boost worker’s productivity, engagement, and health.

At its core, the digital workplace encompasses the following factors:

  • Putting employee’s first
  • Implementing layers of technology
  • Management and design

What are the Dimensions of the Digital Workplace?

Building a digital framework for the workplace requires plenty of experience in managing digital transformations. Some companies might not have the skills in place in the current IT and HR departments to manage the change.

In larger organizations that need to install talent to roll out the digital strategy, hiring a CEEO (Chief Employee Experience Officer) is becoming somewhat of a trend. A CEEO can help company’s manage the digital transition on all levels and in all departments.

A CEEO can assist companies with building a digital framework around the following concepts.

The digital workplace provides services and capabilities to organizations across five primary categories.

  • Employee engagement and communications
  • Employee collaboration
  • Sharing and sourcing of information
  • The use of technology tools
  • Agile workplaces

For the strategy to roll out effectively, it needs support from the following five management functions:

  • Strategy and planning
  • Operational management and governance
  • Support for tech adoption
  • Creating a high-quality employee experience
  • Flexible technologies

The Digital Workplace and EX

Companies often confuse the digital workplace with enterprise social networks, intranets, and other legacy systems. However, while introducing technology to the workplace is not a new thing, companies traditionally did so with a focus on improving the customer experience.

In today’s rapidly changing employment sector, companies now realize the value of focusing on the employee experience as well.

Today’s new buzzword around the HR cooler is the employee experience or EX. While the employee experience has a strong connection to HR initiatives, it goes much further.

The employee experience is how your employees feel on the job. Do your employees have a high rate of employee engagement, or are you one of the thousands of American firms that are falling behind in the employee experience?

Employees want to feel like they work in an environment that’s supportive of growth, and open to opportunity. Many of the millennials and Gen Zs entering the workforce claim the work experience is more important to them than the salary they earn.

The next generation of employees demands digital workplaces that allow them access to company systems whenever and wherever they need it. The modern workplace has its roots in flexibility, allowing employees to remain plugged in, even after they leave the office.

The Evolution of the Digital Workplace

The evolving technology of the workplace means more than organizations implementing the use of Office 365. Technologies need to align with the digital workplace, creating an intelligent, integrated workplace solution that increases productivity and drives employee engagement.

It’s surprising how many companies fail to move away from complex legacy systems that are dragging down the employee experience.

Modern digital workplaces need to invest in tech that streamlines the employee workday. By introducing automation into the workplace, companies free up employee time to focus on other more critical tasks.

Infusing technologies like automated workflows for enhanced efficiencies, and chatbots to help navigate systems, companies can increase the employee experience, improving employee retention while building their employer brand.

Management needs to pay attention to how employees use new technologies in the digital workplace.

What Drives the Digital Workplace?

Changes in consumer culture have gone a long way to helping organizations realize what employees want from EX.

Complex legacy systems can take a lesson from consumer apps that focus on doing one thing well instead of many things with mediocre performance.

When designing digital workplace technologies, companies need to create feedback loops with employees. Management should continually watch and engage with employees during the workday, trying to understand how they can tweak the processes to streamline workplace activities.

In Closing

Companies need to move into the digital age with a successful digital transformation. Part of the strategy involves creating an EX that drives employee satisfaction while enhancing the employee experience.

When companies learn how to treat employees like they do their customers, they are on the fast-track to unshakeable success in the digital age.

A2K Partners