Arkadin

What A Digital Workplace Means To You & Your Employees

blog-what-a-digital-workplace-means-to-you-your-employees

A blog summarising the fundamental changes the digital office enables – and drives

Many people in the modern enterprise – not just those in I.T and HR – are confused about the digital workplace.

But there’s really no need.

To understand what’s driving the huge changes at work today, you need just one piece of technology.

 

A mirror.

Because the fundamental shift of the digital office isn’t technological; it’s societal. It’s

It’s you.

As organisations reshape themselves for a connected world – where videoconferencing is as natural as in-person and a team meeting happens at everyone’s desk – the key drivers are people’s attitude. Attitudes to themselves, to each other, and to their work.

Forget I.T work just being about tech. It’s a people business. Afterall, over 22m people in the UK alone have the legal right to ask for remote and flexible working arrangements agreements enabled by technology and an understanding of people.

This blog examines the changes driving the move towards the digital workplace and what this really means to your employees.

 

Change 1: Careers are now multi-company

 

Let’s be blunt: there were no “good old days” of lifelong employment when benevolent employers looked after you from leaving school to retirement.

The statistic that a career spans seven companies has been around for decades; one magazine suggests average tenure is now three years.

The big change today is that more and more people are working for multiple companies… at the same time.

It’s now common for even senior people to have other employers on the go. 40% of US workers don’t have full-time jobs at a single company.

In the UK, over 15m workers are freelance. In these conditions, limiting your hiring to those who can commit full-time limits the pool, because some of the best people don’t want or need to commit to a 9-to-6.

What does this mean for you as an employer? Not limitations, but advantages.

People with broad experience are valuable people – and they’re gaining part of their breadth and depth at someone else’s expense!

So make it clear what you expect from new hires is a standard of output, not a fixed time commitment. Today’s communication and collaboration software can make part-time employees feel like a full-time part of your team.

 

The digital workplace lets your part-time, flexible and remote employees feel like part of a full-time team.

 

Change 2: Teams aren’t fixed, but emergent

 

Getting people together used to be difficult – booking meeting rooms, juggling calendars, distributing materials and updates. In the digital workplace, all that can happen seamlessly, without friction.

Calendars can be synchronised; messaging unified and training delivered on-the-go. This means a “team” is no longer a fixed department, but an emergent structure that arises for each project, breaking apart and changing its line-up.

This means people will work with a different group of people depending on the task. Which is good: companies are stronger when the people in them foster cross-departmental ties, and new employees are quickly exposed to a huge number of new people and learning opportunities.

As an employer though, it can feel disorienting.

Again, the digital workplace can help.

Everything from social media to chatter spaces that duplicate the old canteen and watercooler conversations can foster that sense of persistence that makes people feel “part of something”. It’s great for employee engagement levels, too.

 

The digital workplace means you always have the best people for the job.

 

Change 3: The office is now everywhere

 

Today people are more relaxed about where work gets done. The kitchen table is as much an office as, well…the office! Meetings can be held on train journeys not just in meeting rooms.

It’s not limited to Generation Y, the Millennials. People in all cohorts enjoy the opportunity to do their work, outside of the office.

So look for ways you can support this behaviour rather than clamping down on it.

The digital workplace technology makes these goals a reality. Even simple videoconferencing can foster deep bonds of trust between workers, simply because they can see each others’ faces and pick up on body language. Working in the garden room or in a favourite coffee shop keeps people less stressed – and more productive. While working parents and far-flung colleagues always appreciate being able to work without making the commute.

Even simple videoconferencing can foster deep bonds of trust between workers, simply because they can see each others’ faces and pick up on body language. Working in the garden room or in a favourite coffee shop keeps people less stressed – and more productive. While working parents and far-flung colleagues always appreciate being able to work without making the commute.

Working in the garden room or in a favourite coffee shop keeps people less stressed – and more productive. While working parents and far-flung colleagues always appreciate being able to work without making the commute.

While working parents and far-flung colleagues always appreciate being able to work without making the commute.

 

People are making the world their workplace.

 

Change 4: Less work/life balance… more work/life integration

 

The change driving the digital workplace is even deeper in meaning. People aren’t defining themselves by their company any more, or even their job.

What they’re identifying with is their own sense of purpose.

In an uncertain world full of turbulent economies, people are striving to find something that makes them “whole”, the meaning and purpose in what they do.

They want to know what difference they’re making to the world.

 

The digital workplace connects people, creating a sense of purpose and inclusion.

 

Change 5: the workplace is becoming more human

 

Last comes the biggest and best change the digital workplace delivers:

Technologies for communication and collaboration help workers understand each other better and make smarter decisions based on better information.

Even without bricks and mortar or strict hierarchies, the digital workplace is an intimate one.

 

These are the juxtapositions of the digital workplace. While technology moves fast, the right choices give people space to reflect. While your workforce may be far-flung, it can also be close-knit. People may no longer have a desk, but they can retain a sense of place. While everyone has access to the same communication and collaboration tools, the way they use those tools carries an infinity of possibilities.

While everyone has access to the same communication and collaboration tools, the way they use those tools carries an infinity of possibilities.

 

The digital workplace makes work more human.

 

The digital workplace: bringing the meaning back

 

Ultimately, that’s what the digital workplace means to you and your employees: making work human again. Giving people the freedom to come up with ideas, pull together teams, and execute in new and exciting ways. Using their skills freely, in ways that satisfy both head and heart. The digital workplace is a field of dreams where anything can happen.

Giving people the freedom to come up with ideas, pull together teams, and execute in new and exciting ways. Using their skills freely, in ways that satisfy both head and heart. The digital workplace is a field of dreams where anything can happen.

The digital workplace is a field of dreams where anything can happen.

And when HR and IT – the twin supremos of people and technology – work together to maximise these changes, the effect is even more positive. Not just giving people the tools, but showing how to use them. Most of all, by understanding the changes that are

Not just giving people the tools, but showing how to use them. Most of all, by understanding the changes that are

Most of all, by understanding the changes that are really driving people at work today.

That’s what the digital workplace can do for you.

Here is what the digital workplace means to some of the people at the UC Expo 2016 at London’s Olympia.

 

 

Takeaways:

 

  • In the digital workplace, careers can span multiple companies…at the same time
  • In the digital workplace, teams aren’t fixed, but emerge naturally
  • In the digital workplace, work/life balance becomes work/life integration
  • In the digital workplace, the office can be anywhere
  • In the digital workplace, technology is making work more human

 

See how you can be a hero in your employees’ eyes, download Digital Workplace Heroes – Your Time Is Now

digital-workplace-heroes-your-time-is-now

About the author

Annemarie, leads and implements the HR strategy across northern Europe at Arkadin Collaboration Services. She is passionate about the role of unified communication in company communications and employee recruitment and retention.

Leave a Reply

Enjoy work, enjoy life, enjoy sharing.