Open space or digital workplace? How the virtual workplace came to replace the office
When it comes to the future of the workplace, the digital workplace is always in the spotlight. In this material, we’re looking into what this concept includes, why 75% of companies around the world are actively increasing investments in the development of a digital workplace, and what technological solutions can improve your business processes in a hybrid work environment.
What is a digital workplace?
This is a virtual form of the traditional office environment, including technologies for efficient work and interaction of employees. The introduction of digital workplace components allows companies to speed up the work process and make it more flexible. Especially when it comes to the hybrid work format.
The term digital workplace was coined in 2009 by Digital Workplace Group CEO Paul Miller. He used the term to describe the workplace technology ecosystem that was rapidly expanding.
Evolution of a digital workplace
The process of workplace digitalization, along its way, was stimulated by changes in 3 main areas: technology, data and people.
In recent decades, new technologies have developed at an ultra-fast pace, creating almost limitless possibilities for work processes. The emergence of the Internet with related tools, and later the forced transition to remote work, radically changed the idea of work. It turned out that the office is only a physical space. Everything else can be transferred online.
The amount of data available to us as a result of humanity’s use of new technologies – from mobile phones to artificial intelligence algorithms – has changed the way we work. Today’s workplace requires new and fast ways to analyze and use this information.
The digital workplace is also being driven by the changing needs and new values of a young and promising workforce. While baby boomers have separated work and home life, later generations are seeking more flexibility in work processes, which is leading to the introduction of hybrid work models.
Besides, external factors such as the pandemic and the trend towards freelancing have become the impetus for the transition to remote work and the accelerated development of the digital workplace, which has made it possible to hire people all over the world.
Elements of a digital workplace
The digital workplace strategy involves the use of technologies and tools that create convenient conditions for the interaction of employees wherever they are and contribute to the achievement of business goals. These include:
- Communication tools
- Corporate knowledge management and storage systems
- Platforms for collaboration and social interaction of employees
- Cloud services for sharing and storing documents
- Documentation archives
- Mobile access
Digital transformation should take place depending on the needs of an individual organization and focus on the overall experience of employees. Digital workplace solutions should simplify communication and collaboration by providing employees with centralized access to data and tools to perform business functions, regardless of place, location, device or time.
Benefits of a digital workplace
- Improved collaboration and communication
Digital workplace programs simplify both horizontal communication between employees and vertical communication with management. This contributes to the emergence of ideas that otherwise would not be heard. Digital interaction tools also allow you to get quick feedback, which has a positive impact on the pace of tasks.
- Better performance
Having structured corporate information in the cloud allows employees to quickly access the data, files, and instructions they need, saving time for other work duties. Clear tools for simple IT requests, like resetting a password or getting permissions, free up the technical department for more productive tasks.
- Employee loyalty
Employees with a more flexible work environment = loyal employees. The availability of digital tools and the ability to work from anywhere also helps attract young talent.
- Cost cutting
Digital workspaces related to remote work are shifting the spending vector towards technology and SaaS subscriptions. This will reduce the cost of expanding office space and related offline tools in the event of an increase in staff.
- Building corporate culture
Thanks to the tools of a corporate social network in the digital workplace concept, the connection between employees, regardless of position, becomes stronger. A sense of belonging for everyone in the company reduces employee turnover, and satisfied employees become ambassadors of your HR brand.
Corporate portal as a basis for digital workplace
As you already understood, a virtual workplace is a collection of all the digital tools of your company. The digital workplace strategy is based on their gradual expansion and systematization. Today, there are digital workplace solutions that can combine most of the virtual workplace tools into a single platform and ensure their further scaling. A striking example of such a solution is a corporate portal. Using the example of SmartPoint Intranet, we suggest taking a look at the capabilities of a virtual environment:
- Each employee has a personal account with:
- information about payments and vacation balance
- access to corporate knowledge base
- corporate and personal calendar
- Personal services of an employee with access to:
- operational tasks
- statuses of submitted requests
- statuses of assigned tasks
The available tools allow employees to independently get a day-off, submit a request to the document management department for access or password change.
- Company structure and contact search:
- access to organizational structure
- employee directory
- office maps
- Corporate interaction tools, including:
- corporate news feed
- calendar of events
- photo and video gallery
- Collaboration within teams:
- co-authoring of documents
- the ability to track the history of changes to documents and provide secure access to them to colleagues from another department
- use of different site structure templates for the needs of the team
- Additional capabilities
If we talk about integration between services and the overall ecosystem within the digital workplace, SmartPoint Intranet can be built into Microsoft Teams. This allows you to create a digital and communication space in a single window.
In addition, the solution is complemented by a chatbot, in which you can check your current tasks and monitor the latest news in selected categories. Chatbot is available in Teams and Telegram.
How does the digital workplace improve employee experience?
A digital workplace strategy helps organizations build deeper relationships within the company and strengthen corporate culture. The flexibility of work provided by technological tools is converted into productivity and employee loyalty.
As practice shows, collaboration and communication tools in the digital environment improve relationships within individual teams and the “employee – management” hierarchy. Knowing that they will be heard, people share new ideas with great enthusiasm. And the opportunity to always be aware of the corporate life of the company contributes to the involvement of employees and the strengthening of corporate culture.