Category Archives: benefit

Big property savings examples in digital workplace

This is the fourth in my series of posts showing examples of the savings organisations have made by shifting work to a digital workplace.  It draws on my previous posts on how you need to plan your strategy, governance, and management of content, tools, and services for a digital workplace.  This is essential to transform your intranet into a digital workplace.  The previous posts covered productivity savings, reduced absenteeism, and lower staff turnover.

I will be using examples from the Digital Workplace Group‘s report ‘What is the financial value of investing in digital working?‘ that show what organisations taking the right approach can achieve.  This example covers how less, better utilised, physical workspace can save large amounts of money and impact on your organisation’s financial bottom line.

How to make the savings

  • Transform the physical workplace into a digital workplace where employees can take advantage of its benefits.
  • Dedicated versus flexible workspace – do you need the same workspace every working day?
  • Reduce the number of buildings you need if more people are working at home or away from their dedicated workspace more often.
  • Increase occupancy rates by matching the workspace to the people who actually use it rather than have empty desks while people are working elsewhere.
  • Lower your costs by accurately forecasting your physical workspace needs based on trends in digital working.

What can be achieved

  • Traditional offices are expensive, inefficient, inflexible, and difficult to scale (particularly down).
  • About 60% of a company’s desks are vacant at any time.
  • The average business could save $2,500 to $5,000 a year in property and related costs for each half time teleworker.
  • Savings from real estate reduction through new ways of working programmes are making the headlines globally: Cisco ($1.1bn), BT (£60m), Deloitte ($30m),
    IBM ($450m), US Patent & Trademark Office ($19.8m), GlaxoSmithKline ($50m) and more.
  • Investment in the digital workplace is a prerequisite for enabling employees to work effectively while reducing office space.

Examples

  1. BT’s Agile Worker programme saves approximately £6,000 a year for every full-time homeworker at BT. In 2009, with 10,168 homeworker par ticipants, BT saved approximately £60m, largely based on reduced estate costs.
  2. On any given day, more than 115,000 IBM employees around the world work in a non-IBM office. 40% of the IBM workforce operates without a dedicated office space. The employee/desk ratio is currently 4:1, with plans to increase the ratio to 8:1 in field locations. IBM calculates that it saves $450m a year in reduced facility infrastructure and associated initiatives through agile working.
  3. By transforming its sales team from office based to mobile, YELL reduced its property costs by £1.5m ($2.5m) a year and drove efficiency through reduced downtime.
  4. Through its Global Workplace Initiative, HP has increased its office space utilisation from an average of less than 40% to nearly 80% in just three years. The ratio of employees to desks ranges from 2:1 to 20:1 and varies by job, location, and other factors.

There are more examples and details in ‘What is the financial value of investing in digital working.  My next post will cover the environmental benefits.

Reduced staff turnover savings in a digital workplace

This is the third in my series of posts showing examples of the savings organisations have made by shifting work to a digital workplace.  It draws on my previous posts on how you need to plan your strategy, governance, and management of content, tools, and services for a digital workplace.  This is essential to transform your intranet into a digital workplace.  The previous posts covered productivity savings and reduced absenteeism.

I will be using examples from the Digital Workplace Group‘s report ‘What is the financial value of investing in digital working?‘ that show what organisations taking the right approach can achieve.  This example covers how reduced staff turnover can improve engagement save costs impacting on your organisation’s financial bottom line.

How to reduce staff turnover

I posted on ‘How an engaged newbie can become a top performer‘ which showed that:

  • Performance management where you are measured on outcomes rather than time spent at work
  • Having the right collaboration tools in place with a good governance framework in place is needed
  • Having the right tools to connect from a hub, home or while on the move keeps you in touch with everyone

What organisations can achieve

  • Recent studies have found clear links that show new ways of working have a positive impact on staff turnover.
  • The value of reduced turnover from people telework for half the week is estimated at an annual $3,350 per teleworker.
  • If a quarter of a business’ workforce leaves each year, and the average pay is $35,000, it could easily cost a 1,000-person organisation $4m – $10m a year to replace employees.
  • Employees with flexible working arrangements are more likely to be satisfied, productive and committed – and stay with their employer in the long term.
  • The digital workplace is a key component in reducing absenteeism through flexible work options.

Examples

  1. More than 91% of Cisco’s 2,000 survey respondents say being able to telework issomewhat, or very, important to their overall satisfaction.
  2. In a 2009 survey by the Society for Human Resource Management, 80% of HRprofessionals felt that flexible work arrangements have a positive impact on employee retention. Some 75% felt it helps them attract employees. And 86% felt it improved employee commitment.
  3. In Accenture’s 2012 Women’s Research – The Path Forward, 64% of respondents said that they stay in a job longer if offered flexible working.
  4. Canada’s Top 100 employers competition has found that employees who are given the option to telecommute report greater loyalty.
  5. 82% of Fortune Magazine’s 100 best companies to work for in 2011 offer telecommuting opportunities to workers.

If I was working in Yahoo! or Google I would want to consider how this evidence stacks up with their policies on homeworking.  Wouldn’t you?

My next post in this series will be on property savings.

Great examples of digital workplace savings:absenteeism

This is the second in my series of posts showing examples of the benefits and savings organisations have gained by shifting work to a digital workplace.  It draws on my previous posts on how you need to plan your strategy, governance, and management of content, tools, and services for a digital workplace.  This is essential when transforming your intranet into a digital workplace.  The first post ‘Great examples of Digital Workplace productivity savings‘ covered productivity.

I will be using examples from the Digital Workplace Group‘s report ‘What is the financial value of investing in digital working?‘ that show what can be achieved if your organisation can take the right approach.  My second example is how reduced absenteeism can lead to savings in your time working and show on your organisation’s financial bottom line.

How to make the savings

I posted on how to encourage people to be more engaged with their organisation:

  • Policies that encourage you to move to a digital workplace
  • Recognise and reward the right behaviours that make a DW succeed
  • Working styles that encourage productive and effective working

What can be achieved

  • Studies indicate significant costs to employers from absenteeism. For example, average direct and indirect costs of all categories of absence are estimated at about 35% of payroll.
  • The value of reduced absenteeism from half-time telework is estimated at an annual $1,900 per teleworker.
  • Improvement in overall work-life balance, and reduction of stress, are key factors in reducing absenteeism enabled by new ways of working.
  • The digital workplace produces significant and sustained reductions in absenteeism and the direct and related financial gains from this are dramatic.

Examples

  1. A study showed 63% of BT homeworkers take fewer sick days than office-based people
  2. And 74% of BT homeworkers have a “good” or “very good” work-life balance
  3. Surveys showed 4% of US people have called in sick to work because they couldn’t face their journey to work
  4. US Dept. of Labour estimated 3% to 5% of the workforce was absent on any day in 2010.  So, any slight improvement means large sums of money saves.

There are more examples and details in ‘What is the financial value of investing in digital working.  My next post will cover declines in staff turnover.

DW Trends 2013: ideal for DW and intranet practitioners

I have recently been enjoying reading through Jane McConnell‘s latest Digital Workplace Trends Report for 2013.  It is a feast of appetising information on the latest trends in the digital workplace.  It gives great hints and tips.  It is also very topical in view of the news about Yahoo! homeworkers and the known benefits of the DW that I have posted about recently.

The Digital Workplace Trends Report 2013 is very helpful for anyone who is involved with the digital workplace, whether you are starting to think about it, already planning how to transform your intranet, or wanting to check if what you have implemented is along the right track.

The real beauty in this great treasure trove of DW information for intranet practitioners will be:

  • Trends – seeing how areas have stalled, accelerated, and the reasons why
  • Layout – key findings shown as bullet points, graphs and bar charts to easily see key data
  • Case study examples – a great addition and fascinating to read about real examples
  • Dip in and out – choose to read one section, many, all sections.  Whatever you decide this report will suit your needs.

If this was a printed instead of a digital document it would already be well-thumbed through with the corners bent by the times I have been reading sections again and again to learn more each time.

Don’t miss out on this unique research about the digital workplace.

Great examples of Digital Workplace productivity savings

This is the first in a series of posts showing examples of the benefits and savings organisations have gained by shifting work to a digital workplace.  It draws on my previous posts on how you need to plan your strategy, governance, and management of content, tools, and services for a digital workplace.  This is essential when transforming your intranet into a digital workplace.

I will be using examples from the Digital Workplace Group’s report ‘What is the financial value of investing in digital working?‘ that show what can be achieved if your organisation can take the right approach.  My first example is how improved productivity can lead to huge savings in your time working and show on your organisation’s financial bottom line.

How to make the savings

I have posted on what you need to do to make productivity savings:

  • Usability: clearly labelled content that’s easy to find
  • IT capability: right tools to make best use of digital workplace
  • Security: confidence in privacy of sensitive content
  • Involvement: contribute to plans, make your needs known

What can be achieved

Organisations that have implemented these successfully have found:

  • Improved productivity is the benefit that will have the most impact with senior management
  • Work that happens in traditional offices is often inefficient
  • Employee engagement is stronger with flexible working
  • Engaged employees work harder and better
  • Increased productivity through people working half the week from home
  • Flexible work programmes improve productivity
  • Investment is needed to increase productivity through new ways of working programmes

Examples

  1. BT now has 15,000 homeworkers out of 92,000 people who are 20% more productive (I know!  I have been a homeworker for many years)
  2. Microsoft improved productivity by 28 minutes per person per day ($86m) through use of unified communications technology
  3. UPS homeworkers increased productivity by 17% and job satisfaction by 86%

There are more examples and details in ‘What is the financial value of investing in digital working‘.  My next post in this series will cover declines in absenteeism.

How to be more productive in a digital workplace

OK, so you now have a digital workplace strategy showing the direction you need to move in; a governance framwework to show who is responsible for what with standards, etc, to give you a fantastic online experience; policies and values that encourage you to use a digital workplace and benefit from them.

Now I will show how you can be more productive using a digital workplace:

Usability

It is critical that the time you use in a digital workplace is not wasted.  That means having clearly labeled information, direct route to the information, able to use the information whatever device (laptop, tablet, smartphone) you have, and be able to edit the information as well as read it.

And it’s not just information, you need to find people who can help you or you want to share some knowledge with.  Having an easy to use people finder helps as well as finding collaborative content in discussion groups with other people with similar needs or interest.

Finally if you are mobile your time is limited.  You need fast access to apps and services you need to use e.g. booking travel, hotel room, invites for meetings, hire care.  The list is long but you need to get to each task in a short time and complete each task quickly.

IT capability

You need to have the right tools and access to gain the full benefits from a digital workplace.  Your organisation needs to fund and provide laptops, smartphones, tablets as well as an internet connection and monitor screens for homeworking.  Having the right choice of devices means you can always use the digital workplace whenever you need to – checking people finder, completing tasks, sharing information.  This means you can be more productive and aim for a better work/life balance.  No more waiting to get to an office before you can do your work.  And with the right device you can do your work better, maybe faster too.

You need reliable access to your digital workplace when you need it.  If your organisation gets it wrong then you probably won’t use the digital workplace so much.  Your IT network needs to be reliable for speed and availability.  If it is frequently down for a hour or so you won’t trust it and become reluctant to use it.  If it is slow then you will vote with your feet and stay in a physical office where you can contact people and work better.

Security

You must be confident you have secure access to your digital workplace.  Your organisation needs to be confident it will not be abused by anyone away from their physical workplaces.  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.

To be fully productive you need to use these services with confidence about how secure they are in a digital workplace.

Involvement

Your organisation needs to develop and have available the things you need to do your work.  Research will be needed before your digital workplace can be used.  You should be involved and asked questions like:

  • What is the information you need?
  • What applications do you need for your work?
  • What collaborative tools do you to share?
  • Will any device work in your digital workplace?

All of these need to be addressed before you need them.  It may take your organisation time, effort, and money to research fully what is needed.  However it will be seen as an investment in the months afterwards when you start using your digital workplace because it helps you to be more productive.

Please contact me if you need my help or leave a comment on this post.  My next post will cover how the weather can help your digital workplace.

How a digital workplace can engage people

In my last two posts on the digital workplace I talked about how you need a strategy with a governance framework to help you create a great digital workplace.  In this post I want to cover how a digital workplace can help the engagement of people working in your organisation.

Encourage

It is vital your Human Resources policies encourage and make it easier for you to work in a digital workplace.  You need a culture where the values include sharing of knowledge, openness, and trust.

You need policies that help encourage you achieve your own, your team and overall business goals.  You need to show how the digital workplace helps engage everyone more to the business.  This can include:

  • Allowing access to social network tools like Facebook and Twitter.  Common sense policies balance the risks with the rewards of engaging and sharing knowledge and help with people in your organisation and with other organisations with a similar interest or problem.
  • Having a new ideas scheme to encourage your suggestions to improve your business and recognising and rewarding you for successful ideas.
  • Building a more informal, less hierarchical structure, and management style so you feel you can approach any person (no matter what their seniority or role is) to ask for help or offer helpful information and advice.
  • Encouraging feedback.  You should feel confident you can raise contentious but relevant issues and get a helpful response that takes your views seriously.
  • Treating you as a responsible adult and trusting you will behave online accordingly,

Recognise and reward

What’s in it for me?  That’s a typical response to any policy decision made especially when it is an HR policy affects you.  You need to see how digital working benefits you.  This can be achieved by:

  • Recognising positively your move to a digital workplace e.g. making sure team meetings become team calls with you staying at home
  • Incentivising your knowledge sharing using digital workplace tools e.g gamification, measuring your activity with blogs, wikis, discussion group comments
  • Performance framework rewarding your output not your time spent working in a physical or digital workplace e.g quality of work not just quantity
  • Having simple guidelines saying what you can say (nothing slanderous, etc) and encourage the right behaviours through a common sense approach e.g. gentle reminders not formal disciplinary action.

Working styles

You should be encouraged to work in a digital workplace.  This can include:

  • Paying for your equipment (desk, chair, etc.) and your phone/broadband service from home.
  • Making sure you have a laptop and/or tablet and/or smartphone so you can connect to your digital workplace when you need to.
  • Training managers to manage employees remotely.  Just because you are out of sight doesn’t mean you are not working effectively!  A facilitating rather than directing management style helps.
  • Flexible working hours to fit a sustainable work/life balance e.g. not 09:00 – 17:00 but maybe split to fit yours and your organisation’s needs.
  • Having confidence your personal information is secure and always available whenever you need it with the right permissions.

Please contact me if you need my help or leave a comment on this post.  My next post will cover how your digital workplace can make you more productive in your organisation.

Tips to help you achieve a Digital Workplace

When you are proposing a Digital Workplace to your organisation you need to decide how to present this to your senior managers as well as what the benefits will be.  Here are a few tips I have found have helped me and my clients to succeed:

1. Don’t use any technical terms

Find out who you will be presenting, meeting, or discussing your proposal with.  Use the language that your audience understands best.  Don’t use technology terms or abbreviations.

2. Really understand what your organisation needs

What is the overall strategy for your organisation?  What are the key priorities?  How can a digital workplace support them?

3. Find a quick win

Try to identify something within your control, needs little time or money to achieve, but will make your senior managers look up and take notice because of the difference it will make when achieved.

4. Find something which will have a big impact

Maybe a difficult and inefficient process?  Maybe an activity that can make a big saving in money?  Maybe something which affects everyone?  It has to make a difference that will get everyone’s attention.

5. Show slides with before and after scenarios

You need to make sure you explain clearly with examples of what is happening now and how it will change afterwards.  Your examples need to show money saved, time saved, extra revenue, better productivity, etc.  They can be shown words or graphic but they must be clear and easily understood.

6. Be honest about timescales

Senior managers quickly get turned off from a project if the reality is different to the expectation you have set.  Make sure you can justify what you are showing.

The financial value gained from shifting to a digital workplace

For the past two years I have posted about why it benefits organisations who move from a physical to a digital workplace for their employees to use.  Many organisations have dipped their toe in the water but few have grasped the full potential benefits that can be gained.

Work is shifting from the physical to the digital workplace. Offices are not disappearing, but they are reducing in size. Their configuration is also changing, and their role in the workplace is being adapted. Work itself is becoming increasingly portable, mobile and flexible.

This fundamental shift represents a huge opportunity for organizations to achieve multiple benefits including reducing costs, improving productivity, increasing employee engagement and even environmental improvements.  Yet, many organizations are not taking action and reaping the rewards. This is partly due to a lack of awareness of the opportunities at hand, and also due to some skepticism about the benefits amongst senior and middle-management in many businesses.

The Digital Workplace Forum has researched the financial value organisations have found from shifting to a digital workplace.  You can get a FREE copy of this great report here.

The six distinct areas detailed in the report where results from investing in digital working can be achieved are:

  • Real estate reductions (ability to reduce costs on office space)
  • Productivity improvements (employees are often more efficient when working away from the office)
  • Absenteeism declines (staff are less inclined to have a day officially away from the office if they are working flexibly)
  • Staff turnover decreases (employees who work flexibly are more engaged, happier and less likely to leave)
  • Operations continuity (a good digital workplace infrastructure is key for successful operations continuity and disaster planning)
  • Environmental gains (by reducing employee travel there are significant reductions in organizations’ carbon footprint).

I recommend you ask for a copy and use it to benefit your organisation.

Has work changed since the London 2012 Olympics?

It’s now one month since the London 2012 Olympics closing ceremony.  Most people found it was a fantastic event and the London 2012 Paralympics has helped changed people’s perceptions about disabilities.  But what is the legacy these events have left for how we work?

I posted a year ago about the high expectation the Olympics and Paralympics could help make the digital workplace become less of a buzz phrase and more a reality for how people can work.  Organisations with workers commuting or living in London needed to think and act differently while these games took place.  People would not be able to commute to work at normal times with the strain on the transport network.

Many organisations did allow their people to work from other locations or stagger their hours travelling to work or the number of days each week they needed to be in their normal workplace.  I pointed out it was an opportunity to change how people worked and benefited their organisation.

But I wonder how many organisations are reviewing the impact, assessing the benefits, and deciding that temporary arrangements can become permanent.

Can you help me to find out how The London Olympics and Paralympics has affected your organisation if you have anyone working in London?

  1. Are your employees were more engaged because they didn’t commute?
  2. Are your employees happier with a better work/life balance?
  3. Did employee productivity increase because they could choose how they worked?
  4. Did the digital workplace enable new and better ways of working?

Please let me have any details or your email for me to follow-up with you.

Thanks, Mark