How to go about building a high-performing and lasting digital workplace
Over the past two years, there has been a sea change in our relationships with work, while the digital workplace is becoming an ever more central part of our daily lives. The pandemic accelerated changes in the way we work and the digital workplace is widely seen as an asset to build a high-performing and resilient organization. How can we pursue the transition that began during the pandemic? It is important to both continue investing in the deployment of digital workplaces and make sure they are built to last.
The foundations of the digital workplace
A digital workplace brings together the various applications and digital solutions provided for employees, whether they are in the office, in the field, or even on a boat. They enable employees to do their work and to do it well, while providing them with a satisfactory work environment. Beyond efficiency, well-being is an integral part of the digital workplace: it is important to have the right tools and resources to be able to complete tasks in the best possible conditions.
The challenge of the digital workplace is to rapidly and efficiently deploy new communication and collaboration methods, in order to bring people together and connect skills. For the first time in the history of work, the digital workplace provides employees with a single, easily accessible place to come together and share. Previously isolated or hidden skills can now be brought together, wherever they are located, within groups of experts and communities. This enables proximity, mutual help, and sharing of information, knowledge and news.
The digital workplace facilitates work, improves well-being and enhances experiences, for both employees and the company as a whole.
The digital workplace concerns everybody
The Information Systems Department (ISD) plays a central role in the digital workplace, in various respects: providing the tech vision; supplying the hardware, software and solutions, while helping to build and deploy them in the existing ecosystem; providing support for users; managing risks related to cyberattacks and responding to new threats that companies are exposed to through digital workplaces; and the list goes on. Despite the varied role it plays, the ISD should not be left alone to manage this change.
The HR and Communications teams also have an important role to play: the former to define the change and the latter to provide support. Implementation of a digital workplace is an organization-wide project that will radically change the way employees work. It involves a variety of stakeholders to define the scope, effectively manage change, and ensure compliance with the company’s agreements and regulations.
Promoting total inclusion of employees
People are at the core of the digital workplace. This new approach to collaboration should promote the inclusion of all profiles, by taking into account cultural, technological and organizational specificities within the company.
Concern for inclusion is reflected in the level of support and assistance provided for users, according to their abilities, to help them learn to use tools without impeding their work, as they will not have the means to grasp new technologies on their own. Everybody must be brought on board in the modernization process, including management and operational teams, which can be equipped with powerful applications that offer automation and intelligent management features. A digital workplace should also take into account regional differences, whether they are specific regulations, uneven network coverage or cultural attitudes to work. As you can see, this is no small task!
To be user-centric or not to be
When considering modernization of the work environment, it is crucial to look at things from the point of view of employees and understand their needs. The digital workplace is above all for employees, the aim being to provide them with solutions that make their day-to-day work simpler, more open and more efficient. If they are to be useful and used, tools provided must be designed for the right purpose and the right people, while including all the necessary features. Employees must be involved in the definition of intelligent services.
In order to facilitate access to technologies and speed up digitalization of work, one of the approaches to the digital workplace involves the use of low-code platforms and turning to citizen developers. The low-code method makes development more accessible to business teams. As experts in their respective fields and sectors, business teams now have tools to build applications themselves that specifically meet identified needs, while avoiding technical complexity.
The need for continuous improvement
While the pandemic made it possible to take great strides forward, technologies continue to make exponential progress and change the way we work. One of the pitfalls of the digital workplace that companies may fall into is to rest on their laurels. The evolution of technology means that it is necessary to industrialize innovation around the digital workplace, in order to continuously draw benefits from technological advances for employees.
While experts are needed to monitor developments and implement them, this continuous improvement approach also involves the provision of support, awareness-raising and training for employees. Do they realize the presence and importance of AI in their daily lives, for example? How about background blurring in video-conferences, text suggestion in emails and calendars, and search filters? It is easier to take on board AI and build intelligent services when we are aware of the full potential of tools and technological developments.
Inventing the hybrid working of tomorrow
While the digital workplace continues to make remote working more convenient and effective, it is also aimed at reshaping hybrid working, by providing efficient means of collaboration between scattered employees, whether they are present on site, working from home or living on the other side of the planet. It should enable each individual to get the same powerful experience, wherever they are.
Innovations such as the metaverse are entering the scene to create an immersive, high-performing work environment, independent of geographical location or connection. The future of the digital workplace is taking shape in the metaverse, or rather via space computing technology. A revolution is underway.