Category Archives: research

The Digital Workplace in the connected organisation

I have recently been reading Jane McConnell’s report ‘The Digital Workplace in the Connected Organization‘.  You will have to go a long way and use a lot of effort to find another research report that will be as interesting, insightful and better value for money.  If you haven’t bought a copy then please consider seriously doing so.

What is new this year?

The Digital Workplace Scorecard

The main innovation is the Digital Workplace Scorecard, which is based on the nine dimensions of the digital workplace model described in this report. The Scorecard works from self-assessment: scores are calculated based on several hundred data points from the responses to the online survey questions.

All participants receive (privately) their own scorecard and can compare themselves to others in their industry by looking at the industry-specific scorecards or to the Early Adopters. All industry scorecards are published in the report.

The digital workplace in the context of the organization

This year’s report represents a major step forward in understanding how the digital workplace impacts and is impacted by organizational processes, structures, leadership, culture and mindset. The survey covered these points in addition to the traditional questions about people capabilities, mobile services, finding expertise, sharing knowledge and so on.

Twenty-three “In Practice” Cases

“The Digital Workplace in the Connected Organization” contains 23 “In Practice” cases that are developed in more detail than in previous years. The organizations selected for these cases stood out during the data analysis process, either because of high scores or because their comments and examples are relevant to challenges many organizations are facing today.

There are so many great insights and highlights that I was spoilt for choice on what to write about.  Three highlights for me are:

Mindset

Jane identifies this as a critical factor defined as ‘the values, expectations and ways of thinking that determine how people and organizations act’.  My experience with intranets successfully transforming into digital workplaces requires senior managers to lead and encourage employees to change their way of working.  Even more important is for senior managers to demonstrate by example how they are using it to help themselves for employees to follow.

just starting

Many organisations have just started to adopt digital workplace ways of working.  Many of my clients are in this position.  Factors like access to real-time information, finding out information from people you don’t know and resilience when bad weather or other problems can affect service.  Adopting the digital workplace can help to remove these major business issues with benefits of improved customer service and productivity savings.

mobile

As Jane says in her report ‘People are increasingly deciding how they want to work and which tools suit them best regardless of corporate policies.’ with organisations recognising this as becoming the new reality with many employees saying they are ‘discouraged but accepted’ when using personal devices for their work.  To me that feels like a major shift from a year ago and one of my 2014 predictions.

Overall this research can be referred to many times as you continue your jouney to a fully integrated digital workplace for your organisation.

The Digital Workplace Trends 2014 survey is now open!

The 8th annual survey – Digital Workplace Trends 2014 – is now open.  It will close mid-October.  You are invited to participate in the survey and in return you will receive:
  • A free copy of the “Digital Workplace Trends 2014″ report on 31 January 2014. (This report is commercialized at US$ 530 for non participants.)
  •  A customized Digital Workplace Scorecard. The scorecard is calculated based on responses to a selection of questions in the survey. It gives a sense of where the organization is at compared to other similar organizations. (Available in the first part of February.)
The survey will take you from 45 to 60 minutes to complete.  You can exit the online survey platform at any time, and return later to where you left off.  Just sign up to get started.
Themes covered this year:
  • What makes up the digital workplace
  • Impact on the physical workplace
  • Social collaboration
  • Enterprise social networking
  • Video and e-learning
  • Information discovery
  • Mobile
  • Business impact of the digital workplace on the organization
  • Leadership involvement
  • Strategy, governance and decision-making
  • Change and challenges
  • Preparation for the future workplace

Vendors, agencies and consultants can also be involved and get a free copy of the final report by bringing their clients to the survey.

The DW 2014 Quick Reference Guide can be downloaded and  there is a frequently asked questions page with a lot of information about how the survey works.

Information about the survey’s purpose and past survey participation is available.
Please get in touch with Jane McConnell if you have any questions or comments.

How to help people to find your content

One of the areas that I get asked for help with is how to make it easier for people using their intranet to find the information they need for their work.

How people are able to find your information or site is critical to how good their experience of it is.  It’s no good having this fantastic source of knowledge on your intranet if no one can find it!

If you are making a major change to your intranet or maybe a smaller improvement to it e.g. launching a new site, it is very wise to test it with some volunteers who can feedback and influence any refinements so it gives the best experience when launched.

One way to help you is to create an information architecture – a structure and menu to help people find their way around your intranet easily – to test with people who could benefit from this new information to be launched.

An online testing tool can take the guesswork out of information architecture and help you check where the right place should be as well as the most suitable headings.

I have found ‘tree testing’ – a usability technique for evaluating the findability of information – is a good way with a simple text version of your intranet structure and hierarchy.  You can also use it to test the structure of a new site to check the content and headings are shown in the best way.

A small amount of funding for online testing can save you the time and effort second guessing where people may expect to find your content.  It will also help people who need to use your information having a better experience.

Can you recommend a tool that has helped you?

Why you need a mobile strategy

In my last post ‘Letting the mobile genie out of the bottle‘ I said mobile is one of the key drivers for the transformation of intranets into digital workplaces which could become mobile workplaces but progress is patchy.  I asked how do you manage this so it benefits your organisation and people while managing the risks of bring your own device (BYOD), intellect property, consuming and contributing content, and using apps that are available anywhere, anytime?

It is no surprise if I say a mobile strategy to set you in the right direction is a good start to make.  Setting the right direction for your organisation with mobile is critical.  To do that you need to know why is your organisation considering mobile access to your intranet.  You need to develop a strategy aligned to your overall business strategy and other strategies that may conflict, support, or overlap with your mobile strategy e.g. IT, Communications, Security.

Your mobile strategy will need to show how it will help to improve the performance.  You need to first research how productivity can increase with people more mobile.  You need to find out which content and apps are most needed while people are mobile.  Ask people what tasks need doing most or have the biggest impact if done with a mobile device.

Without a mobile strategy, with clear priorities shown, there is little chance of creating a successful business case that can help people and your organisation.  But who should be responsible for sponsoring the implementation of your mobile strategy?

You need to find a senior manager who will champion this or, better still, a group of senior managers from across your organisation.  Consider who will have the biggest influence on your mobile strategy.  Check out who will be most affected by your strategy.  Lastly, who has the biggest interest in a mobile strategy being adopted.

Involve these people and any people they nominate in developing your strategy and working out the best way to get your organisation to adopt.

When you have achieved this you will need governance so your mobile strategy sets out and continues in the right direction.  More on this in a future post.

Digital workplace environment benefits examples

This is the last in my series of posts showing examples of the savings organisations have made by shifting work to a digital workplace and new ways of working. 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.  My previous posts in this series have covered productivity savings, reduced absenteeism, reduced staff turnover, and property costs savings.

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 changing to new ways of working can improve your organisation’s green reputation and have a good impact on the environment.

How to reduce the environmental impact

Governments, organisations, and people are realising more what their impact on the environment can be.  More importantly there are options we can take which can reduce the impact we have by changing our behaviour to work.  Simply we can now bring our work to us more rather than have to travel to it.  So, as well as striking a better work/life balance we can also reduce our impact on the environment by:

  • not commuting to work
  • video and conference calls with other people instead of every meeting being face to face
  • less office space to be heated and lit
  • when travelling is necessary, doing it outside of peak commuting hours if possible
  • using collaboration tools that replicate what used to happen when people were in physical workplaces

What organisations can achieve

  • Reducing environmental impact is a key factor of an organisation’s Corporate and Social Responsibilities commitments.
  • If US employees with compatible jobs and a desire to work from home did so half the time, it is estimated the nation could cut its Persian Gulf imports by 47%. The greenhouse gas impact would be equivalent to taking the entire New York State workforce off the road. (Wow!)
  • Reducing an organisation’s liability to environmental taxes and penalties by changing behaviour.
  • Significant savings can be achieved through reduction in business travel. For example: Ernst & Young (£2.5m a year) and Cisco ($10.3m a year).
  • Digital workplace technology has the potential significantly to reduce the negative environmental impact of organisations.

Examples

  1. During 2010, consolidation enabled Hewlett Packard to close 16 data centres and 447 computer labs and reduce floor space by around 12,000 square metres, while maintaining HP’s presence in all the world’s major regions and their ability to support customers worldwide. In turn, HP estimates that this consolidation avoided 260,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2) emissions.
  2. Through its award winning flexible working programme, in 2009/10 Ernst & Young avoided 6.8m air miles from using video-conferencing facilities. And in 2010/11, it achieved a 24% reduction in distance travelled by road per head, and a 15% reduction in CO2 emissions per head, compared with 2006/07. It also achieved a 5% reduction in distance travelled by rail and CO2e emissions per head in 2010/11 compared with 2006/07. Its flexible working strategy has been supported by a £650,000 initial investment while the potential annual direct cost savings from business travel avoidance is £2.5m.
  3. In its 2010 CSR report, Cisco makes an explicit link between using collaboration solutions internally (principally WebEx and telepresence) to host a staggering 19.3m hours of virtual meetings. This represents an annual saving of 47,000 tonnes of carbon emissions a year and a general reduction of 12% of Cisco’s output in greenhouse gases since 2007.
  4. Capgemini’s carbon emissions have fallen by 12.6% since 2008 as a result of its TravelWell programme, which included providing technology alternatives to non-essential travel. It has also achieved WWF UK’s ‘One in Five Challenge’ (reducing business flights by 20% in five years). A founder sponsor of the challenge, Capgemini achieved this in the first year, reducing flights by 4,508.

I hope these posts have made you pause and think about how you can help your own organisation.  You can contact me if you want more help.

There are more examples and details in ‘What is the financial value of investing in digital working.

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.