Digital Workplace: Are We There Yet?


What is a Digital Workplace?

The digital workplace is using technology to improve operational efficiency in order to reach company goals. What’s more, employees receive the added benefit of technology that helps make their jobs easier. While things like the cloud, paperless offices, and remote video conference calls have all created digital workplaces there is still some hesitation and drawbacks. 

To illustrate, we will first take a closer look at the environment of a digital workplace. Secondly, what digital dexterity is and why it’s important. Lastly, what is and isn’t being implemented in a digital workplace and coming improvements.         

Digital Depth:

With the added use of technology in every department the amount of software and hardware needed to run an office space is on the rise. So is the necessary knowledge and skills to run these programs. Digital workplaces are changing the work culture, every office and industry is changing at its own rate. Change always comes with pros, cons, and glitches that need worked out.    

Changes to the traditional workplace:

This is a double-edged sword because traditional work spaces have elements that work well and provide a collaborative environment different from digital workplaces. On the other hand, digital workplaces provide a unique and customizable culture for each employee. An employee in Canada can now work with an employee in China without the limitations of distance. With video chat, email, and cloud-based files, sharing ideas and progress is simple.  

Losing the traditional workplace does have some limitations. For example, if you have a project with Sara down the hall, it is easy to talk to her quickly after inspiration strikes and the excitement can add passion and fire to make the project better. On the other hand, if you have a project with Sara in a different time zone contact is delayed the fire and passion for the idea might not come across as such.

Further, digital workplaces can help keep people healthy. During cold and flu season sick employees who would have otherwise come into the office can work from home. On the other hand, digital workplaces are more exposed to viruses of the technological variety. With the added devices and software employees have to be even more cautious of phishing emails and malware downloads.        

“Always-on culture”: 

Akumina’s top trend for digital offices is an always-on culture. With tablets and phones, all our necessary work documents can come with us wherever we go. This makes shutting off work at the end of the day difficult and shutting your personal life off during work difficult too.  While this digital trend is work and personal related each employee has to decide how much distraction they can handle. Do Facebook notifications need to be muted at work? Does Slack need to be muted after hours? These are the questions that are being raised from working in a digital workplace. How to find balance. 

We can literally keep work and personal lives in our pockets at all times. How do you create a new work-life balance? As with most things in a digital office, its individual to the employee. The workday looks different, and is different, because of digital offices. The days of “Workin’ 9 to 5 just tryin’ to make a livin’” that Dolly Parton sang about are days of the past.         

Employees experience flourishing:

Gartner’s research found that with the right tools and policies employees were able to thrive. Accomplishing this level of digital workplace takes work and commitment from the C-suit all the way to the interns. It is a true team effort to create a thriving digital workplace. Gartner says it’s not easy to create a thriving digital workplace, but if employees have the right tools and structures and police, it is achievable.    

Digital Dexterity:

Gartner defines digital dexterity as the ability and desire to exploit existing and emerging technologies for better business outcomes. Digital dexterity is about being flexible and adaptable to new software and technology. Finding the right technology for better outcomes can take some work and long searching, but it is a key element in creating a digitally effective workplace. 

What is it:

Gartner’s figure shows how digital dexterity is taking the goals and vision of the company, factoring in the employee experience, and combining the analytics and data, and bringing it all together to create a digital workplace that works for everyone. Digital Dexterity creates a work environment for all company levels, from the individual to the organization as a whole.  

How to develop it:

All in all a digital dexterity workplace sounds great. Giving employees the flexibility to create a work environment that works for them and the organization as a whole. Then again, how does your organization develop it? It takes patience, time, and investment to create a digital dexterity environment. 

Gartner has 4 steps to creating digital dexterity:

  1. Be the Champion
  2. Model It
  3. Collaborate with the Business
  4. Unleash Digital Dexterity in the Workforce 

Take the initiative and find the right technology that fits your business. Be an example and embrace the new methods, which will help your employees and colleges embrace it. Make the plan a group effort involving peers and partners in the development of your plan. Lastly, implement the plan, increase technology and digitization at every level in every department.    

Why it’s worth developing: 

Since the world isn’t becoming any less digital, your business can’t be left behind. Increasing technology now gives experience to employees and clients that helps everyone grow and transition into the digital era. Every company will transition and make adjustments in their own budget and timing, but digital advancements are becoming a must not a maybe.  

Are We There Yet?:

Almost. Overall digital workplaces are a work in progress, most companies use a hybrid of digital and traditional offices. Therefore keeping the best of both worlds. Truly digital offices are not yet the norm, but they are becoming more and more popular. 

Yes:

Cloud-based storage and video chat are all commonly used in most workplaces. All offices use some form of digital technology, even the booth at the farmers market with a card reader that plugs into their phone. Overall, technology advancements are being made across the board. There are still a lot of changes to come for truly digital offices to become the norm; however, telecommuting and home offices are increasing every year. 

And No: 

Digital Workplace Group found that while advances have been made. Overall many companies are unable to come together to make the transition completely. The right technology either doesn’t exist or isn’t being used in many cases. The other issues are centered around employees. The budget to get them the digital tools they need is too small, and the needed software is just out of reach. Additionally, the responsibility for ensuring the digital employee experience was found to be overall unorganized or nonexistent. Responsibility was spread from the C-suit to HR to IT, everyone taking pieces, but no one taking charge and keeping the reports cohesive.   

Somewhere in the middle:

Digital workplaces are in-progress. Some companies have achieved effective digital environments where employees and organizations thrive. Gartner’s research revealed that only 14% of businesses currently use AI, but next year in 2020 that number is expected to rise to 50%. The workplace is becoming more digitized all of the time, but it’s just not there yet.     

Take-Aways:

The digital workplace must be backed by the right security and solutions to help mitigate the risks that come with having more technology and larger networks. Using DirectPointe 7  for your Managed IT Services will help in your risk mitigation. DirectPointe’s pricing model will keep your IT affordable while providing the solutions that your business needs.

The workplace is transforming and becoming more digital all of the time. Taking the time to provide employees with digital dexterity and training will make the transition smoother. There is a long way to go before digital workplaces are the main form of workplace. As AI and other technology develops and improves they will become more popular and accessible. For now, protect the technology you use and follow DirectPointe 7 to stay current on technology and future developments.  


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