In my previous posts on the digital workplace I have covered ‘Must have digital workplace principles’, ‘5 steps to a great digital workplace strategy’, 7 ways to engage people in a digital workplace, 4 factors critical to good governance in a digital workplace and HR policies to encourage a digital workplace.
To have a successful digital workplace (my definition is ‘work is what you do, not where you go to’) organisations must have the right strategy, culture, environment and infrastructure to exploit the benefits fully. It becomes the natural way of working so everyone is more productive and your organisation more efficient with:
- people work from any location as well as their office workstation
- IT infrastructure for the same or similar experience
- everyone can read news, collaborate, search and complete tasks
- individuals choosing tools – RSS, mobile, etc. – that help them
- organisations measure benefits and encourages digital workplace
Follow these ‘must have’ principles including strategy, engagement, governance, HR policies and IT infrastructure and you will have a great digital workplace.
These digital workplace principles won’t work without the right IT infrastructure in place. This will include:
Making sure people have the right kit to take advantage of the opportunities digital working offers. Organisations need to fund and provide laptops, smart phones, broadband and/or wifi, tablets like iPads and monitor screens for homeworking. All these are needed for individuals to do their type of work effectively. The aim must be more productive workers who are happier because their work/life balance is better.
Access to the digital workplace when employees need it is the most critical thing to get right. Get it wrong and digital working won’t happen – simple as that. The network needs to be reliable for speed and availability. If it is frequently down for a hour or so people won’t trust it and be reluctant to change their behaviour so the digital workplace strategy works. If it is slow then people also will vote with their feet and stay in a physical office where the people they need can be contacted.
People must be confident they have secure access to the digital workplace and the organisation needs to be confident it will not be abused by anyone not in that organisation’s buildings. For example if you want to check your pay record online you want 100% confidence only you can do this. Likewise if you need to access sensitive information online the organisation also needs 100% reassurance only those with the right permissions, like you, can use it.
Organisation must have developed and have available the things people need to do their work. Research may be needed before digital workplace is implemented:
- What is the information needed?
- What applications are needed for their work?
- What collaborative tools for sharing?
- Are there mobile versions?
All of these need to be available when they are needed. And don’t guess what they are – invest the time, effort and money to research fully what is needed. It will be seen as an investment in the months afterwards when you see people using the digital workplace because it has all they need for their work.
Make sure these meet the needs of people using. THEY MUST BE USABLE! If not, you will waste a lot of potential benefits in time taken trying to use unsuitable tools.
All of these help create the confidence needed to encourage everyone who is able to, to move to a digital workplace. This may need up front investment but the business case should show the savings made in office space, travel costs, time saved quickly justify the costs.
More on the digital workplace in my next post.