(By Sanjay Bajaj)
Since the last decade industries have been witnessing the shift in the workforce and workplace strategy. We are living in an era where technology has enabled organizations to capitalize on the work from home, work from anywhere policies which successively has obliterated the distinction between professional and personal life. Rapidly changing working group of employees across different demographics and cultures with different skillsets have been proven beneficial for the organizations to grow and keep abreast of the changing industry practice. Employees and organizations are becoming nimbler with the way they work or collaborate, with the multiple device strategy playing a pivotal role in the liquid workforce.
The COVID-19 digital push
The Covid’19 pandemic has been a stress for digital workplaces. Most experts agree that the pandemic has only accelerated trends that were already in place years before the pandemic arrived. This trend has placed a drain on numbers of applications, tools and platforms, failing to work intuitively together. Hopping from one platform to the next several times every hour, trying to dig out information trapped or lost in this new tech maze. Enterprises now realize what their weak links are in the digital workplaces and adapting accordingly. The pandemic has given a sort of sneak peek into the future of remote work and enterprises that had been preparing their digital workplaces have been able to make a relatively seamless transition to WFH. For enterprises that were not well prepared, this is an excellent opportunity to learn where they can improve and implement the lessons learnt today to be better prepared for the future.
So, what’s a digital workplace?
Many people today think that the terms intranet and digital workplace are synonymous. The intranet is just a private internal network within an enterprise that is used to securely share company information and provide uniform access to business applications to its employees. Today, however, intranets are increasingly used to deliver collaboration tools, CRM and Project management tools etc. Just as with any concept in technology, the definition is constantly changing, and this is what causes some people to confuse it with the digital workplace.
The term digital workplace conjures images of employees working through augmented reality glasses in a highly automated environment in the typical tech enthusiasts mind. However, the digital workplace has been around for quite a few years and has been steadily evolving. There is no standard definition of a digital workplace, but a good one would be ‘a digital workplace is the virtual equivalent to the physical workplace, which is purposefully designed keeping in mind the employees and all the digital tools and systems they use that make it easy for them to seamlessly connect with people, ideas and expertise within and outside and empower them with any service, anytime, anywhere with any device.
Collaboration with agility and security
With the organizations becoming more and more liquid it is also in the constant flux to accommodate the changing roles of employees across all the domain, contribution to the team by multiple stakeholders, way of accessing and processing the data, sharing the data, making decisions based on the data, communication challenges in the digital workforce, usage of the multi-faceted platform via multiple devices. While addressing these needs can be done with the already invested resources and infrastructure.
Modus operandi of a collaborative work needs to be well defined and structural while agile enough to adhere to the changing demographics of the workforce. Consolidating the offline and online communication amongst the employees, sharing the data and resources, providing flexibility and choices for the personalization, enhancing employee experience can reduce the discord in the multi-device experience.
The collaboration of the workforce via multiple devices entails the need for data security, protection of devices from several threats. Even though modern-day IT infrastructure has debunked the apprehensions of collaborating using a multi-device strategy, it is essential to set guiding principles and policy training to leverage from multi-device collaboration.
Measuring success of a digital workplace
Adhering to the KPI’s organizations can measure the core business value. Organizations need to set the measurable and experience centric XLA for tangibles and intangibles in the early stages. Such as employee satisfaction, sentiment analysis, reduced operational costs, accelerated go to market plan, agility, DIY index and innovation metrices. To enhance the collaborative workplace environment multi-scenario approach would not only help the organizations to establish strong collaborative governance but also help to accommodate ever-changing industry practices to keep up with the future. Agile and easy to adapt the approach of governance would be a persisting endeavor for the organizations.
(The author is the Senior Vice President, BFSI, Birlasoft)