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New Frontiers In the Digital Workplace

21 January 2019 - 12:00am

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Technological innovation has always been the game changer for the lives of people all around the world. It is unmistakable how the digital age has changed the way we live our lives.

 

From the way we shop, work, and interact with other people, the advent of digital technology has created such a huge impact in today’s society. What are the implications of the “digital revolution” on modern organizations today?

 

 

Transforming societies through digital innovation

 

With technology that is quite literally at the palm of our hands, digital technology has paved the way to connect people around the globe and encourage behavioral change in societies. It is undeniable how it is permeating in every aspect of our lives, including our homes, businesses, and industries to help create and transform the way societies do almost everything. In today’s digital economy, efficiency and innovation go hand-in-hand in creating the next big idea to stay ahead of the competition.

 

One of the main goals of modern organizations nowadays is to increase workplace collaboration. This resulted in the transformation of traditional office spaces to an “open” workplace with fewer walls, doors, and spatial boundaries. Employees became more inclined to openly communicate and collaborate while on the job using electronic media that are readily available to them in the workplace. By being just an IM (instant message) away, employees have started to get more comfortable interacting and collaborating with each other using digital media.

 

The digital workplace is radically changing an organization’s culture and the way employees collaborate and interact with each other along with their stakeholders. Gotta & Cain (2015) from Gartner defines the digital workplace as “business strategy for promoting employee effectiveness and engagement through a more consumer-like computing environment.”

 

The idea of “work” is no longer constrained within the four walls of the office in a digital workplace. Employees can now access their work in whichever digital platform they prefer and they can access it at a time and place that is most convenient for them.

 

 

The mobility of the new digital workplace

 

The convenience of being able to access work anytime and anywhere gives employees the mobility they need to balance their life both at work and at home. The digital workplace enables employees to create collaborative partnerships that offer agile and flexible methods to build and hone their skills. “Organizations need to leverage digital technology to enhance the employee experience,” said Carol Zichi (2016), IBM’s global manager for enterprise mobility management.

 

“Technology empowers virtual employees in the digital workplace thanks to rapid advancements in social and digital tools. Organizations should not only adopt a mobile-first strategy, but also a digital-first mindset,” she added.

 

Developments in digital technology have empowered employees in the digital workplace to embrace innovation by shifting towards a new management culture and perspective. By providing greater mobility and freedom to do their job, empowered employees are becoming more productive.

 

Better collaboration can be achieved even by just giving employees premium access to simple and convenient productivity apps that they use daily to make their work more convenient and pleasurable.

 

The popularity of the digital workplace also gave rise to a new breed of employee, “the digital nomad.” According to a study by Reichenberger (2017), digital nomads are characterized as “young professionals who live what they refer to as a location independent lifestyle by being able to conduct their work in an online environment, simultaneously working and traveling internationally.”

 

Due to the massive technological and societal changes in the recent decade, the traditional concept of work-life balance is also evolving. Reichenberger (2017) noted that one of the primary motivators of employees who opted to choose the lifestyle of the digital nomad was the desire to “escape the structures of a traditional location-dependent working style.”

 

The emergence of the virtual employee or the digital nomad has redefined the boundaries of leisure, work, and travel to create a new kind of holistic lifestyle. A holistic lifestyle for the digital nomad is depicted by perceiving both work and leisure as equally enjoyable.

 

 

The Digital Workplace Framework

 

The digital workplace has dramatically transformed traditional office environments into flexible workspaces that changed the way organization members work and interact with their stakeholders.

 

They regard work not as a duty or obligation, but as something motivational and rewarding, like the leisure activities that employees usually enjoy outside of work.

 

According to a research by Deloitte, a digital workplace just makes good business sense if you consider the following advantages:

 

  1. A Digital workplace attracts talent.

     

    The Deloitte study noted that 64% of employees would rather choose a lower paying job if they could have the option of working away from the office.

  2. A digital workplace increases employee productivity and collaboration.

     

    A Forbes study mentioned that the accessibility of digital technology across all platforms improves employee collaboration, especially among geographically diverse teams. The study also showed that organizations with a digital workforce who actively use business productivity apps have a significantly higher employee productivity (63%) than those who don’t (38%).

  3. A digital workplace increases employee satisfaction and retention.

     

    The Deloitte study showed that organizations that allowed the use of digital media tools were found to have a 20% median increase in employee satisfaction. Consequently, the study also mentioned that when employee engagement via digital media increases, there is also an increase in employee retention by up to 87%.

 

Here are some tools you may need to help your company transition to a digital workplace:

  • Communication and Collaboration Tools

     

    There are a lot of apps nowadays that will enable employees to work with each other and with their partners. Clear and concise communication and efficient workplace collaboration is a vital aspect of a digital workplace. Intelligent workplace tools such as Ricoh’s interactive whiteboards can help support real-time information sharing and workplace collaboration from various mobile devices like smartphones, tablets, and even your laptops.

  • Video Meetings

     

    Face-to-face meetings, seminars, conferences, and training are not always possible in a digital workplace. This is why it’s crucial to find the right tool that will bring together a remote workforce and keep them updated with the business activities. Ricoh’s Unified Communication System App is an efficient tool to effectively communicate with your colleagues in a digital workplace. By using this app in your laptop or PC, video meetings and webinars are made possible with its real-time mobile visual communication that integrates audio, video, and document files for your organization.

  • Document Processes

     

    Digital productivity tools are an essential aspect of a digital workplace. It ensures that the remote workforce can get their jobs done efficiently and effectively even with minimal supervision. Productivity tools like G-Suite from Google can deliver a variety of scalable web-based productivity tools like email, calendar, file storage, and file management and collaboration tools. Suitable for all kinds of business enterprise, G-Suite provides seamless workplace collaboration from nearly every platform with tools such as Google Drive, Docs, Sheets, and Slides.

 

Are you ready to embrace the digital workspace for your organization?

 

The digital workplace gives employees the right kind of technology they need to enhance their skills and to effectively connect and collaborate with each other. Here are several key points to consider before your organization can fully embrace and adopt their own digital workspace strategy:

  1. Work is no longer one tangible physical space.

     

    A digital workplace means that employees now have the freedom to work anywhere they want. They are no longer confined in the four corners of the office and are now equipped with the ability to access work anytime and anywhere should the need arise.

  2. Manage results and don’t get bogged down by the processes.

     

    To help organizations achieve tangible business value in the digital workplace, remember to establish KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) that will focus on the amount of actual work done. Every digital workplace strategy should be geared toward helping employees achieve results that matter.

  3. The digital workspace should make work easier among all organizational members.

     

    As always, the digital workplace should be a pleasure to use among every employee, not just a chosen few. To fully maximize the capability of an efficient and effective digital workplace, adaptability to the new work processes should be at 100%. Every aspect of the digital workplace transformation should be geared towards helping individuals do their work efficiently and effectively.

 

 

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