Digital Workplace or digital working?

In my last two posts about the digital workplace I have covered an example of how field-based people use the digital workplace.  I then covered how people’s perception of the digital workplace should be more than just considering it is for office-based people only.

But is the digital workplace the best term to describe the new ways of working that people are adopting?  Is a term like ‘digital working’ a better description than ‘digital workplace’?

Firstly I don’t get too bothered about terms.  As long as there is a common understanding between me and the people I am communicating and working with then that is fine with me.  But it does help if that understanding can be easily achieved using a term that is meaningful.

Digital workplace

I describe this simply as ‘Work is something you do, not a place you go to’.  In a digital workplace you can:

  • Work from any location or while mobile
  • Have the same or similar online experience
  • Collaborate, search, and complete tasks online
  • Choose what tools you can use to do this
  • Feel comfortable whenever you are using it
  • Be confident you can use it when you need to
  • Have a better work/life balance

There are other, more detailed, definitions that describe the digital workplace.

digital working

But isn’t that explained as well by the term ‘digital working’?  It removes any ambiguity about it only referring to office-based rather than field-based or mobile people’s ways of working.

Is it better and maybe more meaningful to use the active term ‘working’ rather than something passive like ‘workplace’?  Does the increasing use and influence of mobile working also mean we should consider using ‘digital working’ now?


What are your views on these terms?  What best suits how your people in your organisation now work?  Is it ‘digital workplace’ or ‘digital working’ that we should be using?  I would love to hear from you.

4 responses to “Digital Workplace or digital working?

  1. Some great points raised there Mark, and I think this poses another question, which isn’t really to do with how people this *currently* applies to perceive it.

    I think this is going to be a major challenge to describe what this truly is, as such services and ways of working become more and more applicable to people that aren’t familiar with the terms. The job of ‘making that connection’ in the minds of those it applies to, in *terms* they can relate to, is not going to be straightforward – maybe it needs something completely abstract that people become cognizant of through mass adoption and turn into a new verb. Sounds a little crazy, but who would have thought ‘Google’ would become a globally accepted verb 10 years ago?!

    Thanks for an interesting read 🙂

    • Thanks Sukh. I wonder how long the term ‘digital ……’ will still need to be used to show something different to how people are working now in a physical workplace? My normal way of working is to have my laptop and smartphone with me wherever I am for most of my engagement with clients and work. It can be in an office, home or while travelling (even 30,000 feet on norwegian airlines last week!). To do something different would feel wierd to me! I believe more and more people are adopting similar ways of working.

      I like the phrase ‘making that connection’ because it is open and flexible so it can be adapted to the work people do and how they do it. Change is happening more and more quickly. That’s why I feel digital workplace may need something different now……

  2. Mark as you know I am a proponent of agile working but like you dont get hung up on the semantics of definition – albeit clarity and understanding of the terms of the dicussion are important. The activity of work is for many not place dependent and whatever the prefix -agile, smart or digital etc -I agree the term should be “working” rather than “place”. However increasingly these prefix descriptors are becoming less relevant as agile, digital etc are becoming normal rather than new ways of working.

    • Hi Paul,

      Thanks for your comments. I agree with you especially your last point about it becoming less relevant as it is the normal rather than new way of working for more and more people.


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