A connected environment is our present reality. It is now the age where we live in; effectively ousting our once common, outdated environment where everyone lacked exigent access to whatever they need, wherever they are. This connected environment that we now enjoy is certainly conducive, but it does blur the line which distinguishes the tangible office and the actual place where the work materializes. It also dims the barrier in distinguishing the personal and professional lives of those involved.

One of the many benefits of a connected environment is the transformation of the workplace into a digital one. Communication amongst employees, management, workforce and the like have drastically improved and collaboration has become easier among all parties. Manifestations of people working together, partaking in knowledge are more evident because they are able to mesh their productivity with those from other groups.

Impediments to communication has been quashed by the digital workplace as well. This was achieved by shrewdly bringing together the technologies countless businesses employ. By doing so, the employees experience a shift of a once inundated culture to one fostering efficiency, growth and innovation.

This shift was accelerated by the emergence of 3 trends in the last decade:

  1. An ageing manpower: As employees born between 1946 and 1964 (commonly referred to as baby boomers) continue to retire, they bring with them their experience without effectively passing on their expertise to their replacements. Their knowledge is an important building block upon which future professionals can build on and utilize.
  2. Strain from too much information: Big Data. Innumerable bytes of data are created on a daily basis because they are increasingly gathered by cheap and numerous devices such as mobile devices, software logs, cameras etc. This makes it a challenge for businesses and other sectors to find what they want in their time of need mainly because information continues to grow exponentially.
  3. Need for Speed: It makes perfect sense for the digital workplace to thrive in a culture that espouse a fast-paced work environment. It’s a culture where employees are encouraged to work and collaborate efficiently to accomplish their goals on time. Intranets continue to play a pivotal role in the success of such an environment, and digital workplaces are the next step to sustain that success.

These trends contribute in reshaping the work environment, which many say has been a transformation long overdue. Under a digital workplace approach, the new focus shifts to how the business can help their staff work more efficiently and how the hundreds of enterprise tools can fit together as a singular, cohesive unit.

Like any type of change in an environment, there are notable challenges that accompany the digital workplace. Businesses in general have struggled as the demographics of the workplace continue to transform. They mostly find difficulty in meeting the varied needs of a multi-generational workforce.

It’s also noteworthy to mention that the usage and dependence on smart mobile devices and the internet grows unabated while the pace of change advances. These changes are aggravated by continuous demands for increased productivity and cutting of unnecessary costs which makes it hard for businesses to meet market expectations.

The key to succeed boils down to competent management within industries and organizations. The change to a digital workplace requires this. Businesses and governments alike have imposed a digital workplace strategy to adapt accordingly. To succeed, however, depends on the implementation of a blueprint that is able to influence and enforce a true and lasting change.

We’ve discussed the effects of the digital workplace and how it drives change in work environments. We’ve also touched on how it continues to drive a wide range of projects across many industries. It is now time to define it and describe its framework.

Definition of a Digital Workplace

The very concept of the digital workplace is still raw. Its definitions vary from encompassing to laden with specifics. One thing is sure though, it is considered the natural evolution of the system.

A prime definition of the digital workplace states that it is comprised of comprehensive sets of platforms, tools and environments enabling work to be delivered in a usable, coherent and productive manner. This definition works best because it provides focus on the experience of the employee and the individual, as well as the ecosystem in which they work together.

It boxes all of the required technology needed to accomplish deliverables. These technologies include HR applications and core business applications to e-mail, instant messaging, enterprise social media tools, intranets and portals.

But while a digital workplace does cover a lot of ground, it is not immune to traps such as an overly focus on a current set of technologies. A favorable digital workplace can and must be fit to what your organization wants it to be.

Framework of a Digital Workplace

Deloitte Canada is credited for creating a framework for the digital workplace in the year 2011. It is a highly endorsed read because what it advocates are still in use today.

Based on their digital workplace framework, they featured 4 layers covering the following components:

  1. Connection, Collaboration and Communication

    Workforce (people) and culture are the two most critical components of any organization. They both ordain the success or failure of any business or institution.

    Culture serves as the driving force behind the behavior of employees. It is also the reflection of the quality of their work. The organization’s culture will show how and to what extent the workforce will use the digital workplace and available platforms to collaborate, connect and communicate to their advantage.

    It is imperative for the organization to understand how the workforce prefers to work. After doing so, the organization can then formulate a change management plan and strategy to coordinate the digital workplace with prevailing framework that includes platforms and the culture of the organization.

  2. Technology is The Digital Workplace Toolbox

    The digital workplace defines the goals, strategy, job functions and management of all organizations. By virtue of this, they adopt their own digital toolbox which are broadly defined into categories to support how you communicate, connect, collaborate and deliver daily services.

  3. Governance, Compliance, Control and Risk

    In the creation of a digital workplace, a standard in governance must be put in place to enforce compliance and risk mitigation. It must also encourage correspondence and participation to overcome present and upcoming challenges.

  4. Measuring Business Values through Business Drivers

    The digital workplace empowers. It focuses the employees’ efforts by establishing commonalities of interests. This method drives knowledge management and collaboration to deliver measurable business values that employees can understand.

    This is incredibly significant because the digital workplace must address challenges within the organization in order to provide authentic business value and for the organization to achieve beneficial returns.