In this 6 part series, we will explore what the digital workplace is, why you should care and how Microsoft technology can support your quest in enabling a digital workplace.
Before we get started, let me tell you a story of my own. A few years ago I worked for a client that had no digital workplace. Every day I had to travel for an hour and a half (one way) to get to their offices. There was no remote access to their IT environment, no taking work home without permission. Almost zero flexibility to support my needs. A bit over half a year in, I woke up one day, trying to get out of bed for my journey to the office. All I had in my head was rushing back and forth to make it home to meet friends later on. I didn’t want to be late or cancel on them again. Working from home was no option, and that is when I decided to quit my job. There was no way I was going to endure a lifestyle that was all about work anymore. More importantly a work environment that did not support my lifestyle.
Hopefully you can see a good reason to why a digital workplace is important and how it could have helped both, the client and myself. But let’s break this down.
What is a digital workplace?
I haven’t found a simple definition of a digital workplace that I am happy with, so let me give you my view:
The digital workplace is the virtual equivalent to your office desk
The digital workplace can be split into 5 distinct areas.
- Communication – The majority of today’s workforce prefer a different style of communication, specifically instant messaging compared to email and the likes. Instant messaging is a quick and effective way to communicate. Not just limited to Skype/Lync but also Whatsapp, Twitter, Facebook etc. Work related conversations are no longer restricted to one or two communication channels.
- Collaboration – In today’s fast paced society, effective collaboration is a must. Information is coming at you left, right and center. Information which you need in order to do your job; faster and more effective. Intranets and portals have done their part, now the digital workplace as a whole will help you collaborate more efficiently.
- Find & Share – Data is the new gold and you are like a little goldminer back in the Klondike days. Only difference is…there is an infinite amount of data out there. Your quest is to find the data that is relevant to you and your task at hand. Then, make sense of it, analyse and share it with your peers.
- Business Applications – Long gone are the days where no one really cares about the user experience. Business applications need to support the needs of your business but increasingly they need to support the way people prefer to work. The toolkit should give employees the freedom to choose how they want to get their jobs done.
- Agile Working – Work is no longer just a place, it is an activity. The digital workplace has to support you and your way of working. Working today means getting your job done, anytime and anywhere.
Why businesses should care
According to Gartner there are 5 quite important reasons:
- Attracting talent – 64% of employees would choose a lower paying job if they could work away from the office
- Employee productivity – Organisations with strong online social networks are 7% more productive compared to organisations without
- Employee satisfaction – Organisations that rolled out and installed social media tools internally found that there was a 20% increase in employee satisfaction.
- Retention of employees – When employee engagement goes up, there is a corresponding increase in employee retention of up to 78%.
- Communication tools – Present day workers prefer newer communication tools specifically instant messaging as compared to “traditional” tools like e-mail or team workspaces.
Why you should care
All well and good for businesses, but why should you personally care? 2 simple reasons:
- Work on your terms: People want flexibility. Working from a place that is not your office. Working at a time that might not be your core office hours. These things are more important then ever in today’s fast paced and always online society.
- Stay relevant: Change is happening literally every minute. Take the apps on your phone for example. Every few minutes you could run an update on another app. New features, new information to digest. Staying relevant and up to date is vital in any job. Making the most of the constant stream of information, informed decisions and adopting to market needs that are ever changing. The right tool set in your digital workplace will help you embrace it.
The digital workplace is an enabler to enjoy a more social and better balanced lifestyle. Working on your own terms.
Microsoft and the digital workplace
Microsoft has done a tremendous job with Office 365, which provides a toolbox to support you in your quest to conquer the digital workplace.
There is the traditional email, SharePoint, Office Groups, OneDrive, Office Planner and Skype. Also Power BI to make sense of the waste amount of information floating around you, day in day out. And the newest additions, Flow for personal task automation as well as PowerApps to interact with information and data sources. All this in mobile versions and apps that provide a great toolbox to build with.
The focus for the next few blog posts will be on:
- SharePoint Mobile App
- Office Planner
- Office Groups