Tag Archives: research

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?

A great mobile experience needs….

In my previous post in this series on mobile ‘Good governance signals right mobile direction’ 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.  It is no surprise if I say setting the right direction for your organisation with mobile is critical.  Having some good governance principles helps you to continue in the right way and underpin your strategy.

We also need to give people a great mobile experience.  But what exactly does that mean?  Here are my thoughts on what is needed to achieve this in my last post in this series.

Mobile audience

Firstly, you need to make sure the people who will benefit the most are able to use a mobile device.  You need to be clear who will benefit from having a mobile device.  It probably will not be everyone.  Even if it is, you will need to prioritise who has the greatest need.  Factors like the number of people involved, time spent away from their place of work and what contribution they can make, will help decide the greatest need.

When you have the right people then you can find out what information and which services they most need, when they need to use them and how they need to use them, to be able to design and test for a good mobile experience.

Mobile devices

Secondly, you need to choose which mobile devices are the best tool to help people with their work.  For example, is it a laptop, tablet, or smartphone, or maybe a combination of more than one of these that is needed?  Will you let people bring their own devices to work or will your organisation provide them?  These decisions are critical and will depend on your organisation’s corporate values, type of employees, security, funding and speed of adoption.  Once these decisions have been made you can then focus on how you start to create a good mobile experience.

Once you know how to support the type of devices and size of screens being used, and the main purpose people will be using their mobile device for, you can start to create a good mobile experience.

Mobile platform

Lastly, you need to make sure you have the right infrastructure to support the needs of mobile workers in your organisation.  This means access to the information and tools needs to be 24/7 and not just normal working hours.  It means business continuity plans must include how people will still have mobile access to what they need for work.  Your organisation needs to consider the different mobile operating systems and devices it will support; what is the cost; what should be the limit; which systems and devices will have most overall benefit?

You also need to give a fast connection when mobile workers need it for their work to the information and tools.  Why would you want a mobile device if you find it takes ages to connect to any content or services you need to use?

Good mobile experience

So, what is needed for a great mobile experience?  These bullet points help summarise the posts on mobile:

  • A mobile strategy aligned to business needs
  • Supported by a governance framework
  • Helping meet the needs of people using mobile devices
  • Research and test with mobile users
  • Get the infrastructure in place
  • Have a policy on using mobile users for business purposes

If you need any more information please contact me.

Good governance signals right mobile direction

In my previous post in this series on mobile I asked ‘Why you need a mobile strategy‘ and showed that mobile is one of the key drivers for the transformation of intranets into digital workplaces which could become mobile workplaces but progress is patchy.  It is no surprise if I say setting the right direction for your organisation with mobile is critical.  Having some good governance principles helps you to continue in the right way and underpin your strategy.

Mobile governance principles

You need to have the following in place:

  1. A champion who will sponsor your strategy and the direction you take
  2. Stakeholders who represent your organisation’s key business areas and functions with the right decision-making authority
  3. Roles and responsibilities that include meeting the needs of mobile users
  4. Standards for owners of content and tools to follow so mobile devices can easily use these

Mobile standards

You need to have standards consistently but appropriately applied for mobile content and apps.  This may mean a change of focus to how your publishing standards are applied to how content is already used.  I will focus on three standards which are most important to a good mobile experience:

Security

It is critical to protect the intellectual property and commercial interests of your organisation.  It is also important to make the method of accessing content and apps from a mobile device secure and easy to do.  It is no good having several logins with different passwords just to quickly look up a person’s contact details you need to quickly check something with just before you enter a meeting.  People just won’t have the time and patience to follow this method.

But you do need some intelligent software working in the background to ensure you know who is accessing content with a mobile device.  Getting the balance right between these two needs is sometimes delicate to achieve but essential for the benefits of mobile use to be achieved.

BYOD

Bring your own device is increasingly seen as important to employers and employees.  It offers businesses opportunities and productivity benefits if it can be successfully introduced.  It manages the threats from wider security systems by having processes to monitor these.  You need a BYOD policy for mobile devices coming onto the network that may not have been checked.  By a combination of tools to implement it and educating and building trust with employees on how to use mobile devices this can help.

Usability

This is even more important than usual because of the smaller and different screen sizes for mobile devices.  Think about the difference in size of screens between a smartphone, tablet, and laptop.  Yet you will need mobile workers to be able to use the device that is best for their needs.  You need to get your content editors and apps developers to think about mobile first when designing how people need to use their information or apps for their work.  This may be some mind and culture change for some people!

The interface for each device needs to be clean, simple, with any key functionality easy to find and use and unnecessary links, extra content, and functionality stripped out.  Always test with mobile users at each stage of development and before launching to check it will meet their needs.

My last post in this series will focus on the mobile experience.

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.

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.