How Companies Can Build Digital Workplaces

by Moumita Deb Choudhury    Nov 30, 2016

We are doing business in an increasingly connected world. Employees today collaborate to a greater degree than they did previously, using new technologies to work in teams, across geographies and in real time, according to MIT’s Center for Information Systems Research (CISR). In such a scenario, innovative companies are scaling up their businesses by building digital workplaces, which helps deliver customer demands more effectively.

“We’ve talked for years about employee engagement but we still create pretty miserable places for people to come to work,” says MIT research scientist Kristine Dery, who polled 313 companies for her research. “How do we build workplaces that create the fertile ground for our workforce to engage more effectively with the capabilities that digital gives us and also to be able to deliver the new business models or new ways of having a relationship with a customer?”

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Yet there are challenges in designing the digital workplace of the future. Many organizations invest in productivity technology but do not sufficiently integrate it with their business applications. Here are some ways companies can ensure digital workplaces:

Taking Cues from Digital Native Companies:

We know for sure that digitally advanced companies like Amazon.com, Google and Facebook offer better workplace. These technologically driven company brings a lot of respite as work can be delivered more efficiently on time. On the flipside, with traditional companies it is a fact that many IT departments are stretched for time and resources among others bringing slack and clunk to the overall productivity resulting in low turnovers. 

Regardless of what tools companies wish to adopt, facilitating connectivity is extremely significant. Dery says that in addition to physical workspaces, eliminating “speed bumps” created by clunky expense reporting systems, laborious teleconference software, VPNs and outdated business processes empowers employees to provide better experiences for customers.

Digitally Connected Team:

Digitally advanced connectivity among team-members inhibiting traditional hierarchical walls at workplaces brings in swiftness. Relegating cubicles to employees as per ranks create siloes which brings in rift among functional teams. Instead getting the teams together to discuss new ideas and solutions becomes fruitful. This could be anything from a new way to make internal processes work better to a new product that the business could turn around and sell. Companies where employees are connected also rope in digital leadership teams comprising members from IT, HR, marketing and other units which follows an all-inclusive assessment.

Dery says that DBS Bank offers a classic digital workplace. DBS, which has over 280 branches, has created online forums to create a communications channel between employees and CEO Piyush Gupta. This casual communications tool “cut through hierarchies and dismantled layers or work,” opines Dery.

Leaders in these high-performing companies constantly survey the workplace, often using analytics software to identify those potential speed bumps. “These leaders encourage experimentation with new approaches to work, have a high tolerance for failure of new workplace initiatives and provide continuous learning opportunities, “says Dery.

Millennials Flocks to Digitally Advanced Companies:

The millennial generation comprises more than half the workforce today. Failure to enable workplace productivity through digital experiences makes it harder and harder to run the business. Businesses of all sizes are creating a digital workspace, delivering anytime, anywhere access to all applications. Thus, reinventing our companies through digital technologies which includes services and resources across all devices including desktops, tablets and smartphones has become more important than ever before.

“A digital workspace can give IT a more efficient, simplified way of managing users, devices and applications. It can provide end-users with a consumer simple way to seamlessly access all business resources regardless of device type and provides line of business a secure and powerful platform on which to build and rebuild business processes that enable a more effective mobile workforce to compete in the market. The digital workspace is emerging as the new end-user computing platform, securely delivering anytime, anywhere access to all apps, services and resources across all devices,” says, Ramesh Vantipalli, Director EUC – Systems Engineering, VMware. (Read Full Article here)

Millennials have grown up with digital capabilities adopted by Google, Apple and Amazon.com. and expect the best technology when they endorse a job or else they may prefer switching to other job which gives them the choice of advanced technology.