Traditionally, businesses and companies have adopted one model of the workplace – employees sitting at desks during the working day, going home, and then coming in again to repeat the cycle. Not only can this feel repetitive and demoralising for some employees, it may not be the best work environment for your organisation.
Increasing numbers of companies are adopting truly digital workplaces. With the advances in technology, the generations of new workers who have integrated this technology into their everyday lives, and the changing demands placed on staff due to global connectivity, businesses are tending to adopt new ways of promoting workplace productivity. Embracing a digital workplace is one of these, which is showing marked improvements on the engagement, agility, and productivity of employees in these new environments.
What is a digital workplace?
A digital workplace doesn’t just mean working from your laptop at home. Instead, it represents a whole new approach and philosophy within an organisation, which is providing employees with freedom and flexibility. By basing a working model around technology, and the instant communication the internet provides us, a digital workplace can be employee-centric, offering more innovative working practices.
By initialising a digital workplace strategy, many companies have felt significant benefits. Employees are offered more flexibility when working, allowing them to work at their most productive times and rest when they need to, ensuring that the standard and quality of work is always high. It also increases productivity, resulting in numerous benefits to the company. Equally, by being able to access information anywhere at any time though cloud technologies, employees can quickly and easily check files and projects at the moment where they have a breakthrough or a flash of inspiration. Studies have shown that certain types of people will naturally be more innovative in environments outside of the workplace, so it is well worth companies capitalising on this.
The bring your own device model (BYOD)
One of the best strategies to enhance both productivity and mobility within a digital workplace is the BYOD model. This strategy is proving to increase workflow efficiency by allowing employees to use their own digital devices for company purposes, at any time. If an employee is travelling, or working remotely, then this gives them the opportunity to continue working, having real-time conversations and sharing information quickly regardless of where they are, increasing the work flow and facilitating operational continuity.
Of course, this model relies on company files being accessible to employees from remote locations – usually this is made possible by cloud technologies, which allows for instant access of this material. However, if companies really want to adopt this model, then they need to go further than just uploading files to the cloud. Employees need to be able to communicate with each other in real time, while also collaborating on documents simultaneously. Being able to achieve all of this, from any location and from the comfort of one’s own device allows employees to turn any moment into a productive period.
By adopting a digital workplace, companies are also seeing environmental benefits. Not only do employees save energy and reduce emissions by not commuting, but businesses are also able to reduce the amount of money they spend on basic utilities within the physical office space. Fewer people in an office building means reduced water consumption, less electricity being used, and less energy spent on regulating temperatures.
These changes impact positively on a firm’s corporate social responsibilities, allowing them to increase their environmental credentials. With increasing numbers of customers becoming aware of firms’ energy usages, and making decisions on using companies based on this, any reduction in energy usage is going to be highly beneficial to brand reputation, as well as the environment overall.
For any business attempting to adopt a truly digital workplace, one of the key considerations is security. With the increase of new technologies that helps to facilitate this new model of working, there are new security challenges – however, it is possible to give employees increased access to company files from anywhere and any device while also creating tenable solutions to the inevitable security challenges.
One of the main areas that needs to be secured initially is network security. Increasing security here can be relatively simple, through the creation of a holistic security policy, increasing the visibility of the traffic within the network, keeping records of past engagement, securing the WAN (wide area network), as well as increasing basic security training for employees.
Digital workplaces are becoming the future
By following a digital workplace framework, companies are finding that the productivity, efficiency and innovation of their employees is increasing. Companies benefit from greater and higher quality output from their workers, while also enjoying positive environmental changes, helping them to meet their corporate social responsibility targets. As such, this trend towards truly digital workplaces is unlikely to slow down, with increasing numbers of businesses adopting this model.
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