“The office is a 200 year old embedded DNA routine and despite having the capability, it took a pandemic to change our ways and drive a new Method of working. As is the saying, “you never go back”. We should be looking to permanently integrate the benefits of old and new to forge agile ways of collaborating and being productive which will reap greater rewards for work and life.
Viva la Digital Workplace.
We live in a data driven society. We crunch numbers and analyse data sets to gain greater understanding of our market, audience, and performance. We then use what we’ve learned to reshape our responses in the pursuit of better outcomes. It’s efficient, productive, and effective, which is why digital workplaces are the future of working.
Covid-19 has played no small part in encouraging the shift to digitalisation. With many of us forced to work from home and adapt to a new way of working, digital transformation was a necessity. It needed to achieve the same outcomes office working did. It needed to allow people who couldn’t just turn to their colleagues for help a means of doing so online. It needed to encourage the same productivity in a home environment that was notoriously considered a privilege, and it needed to adapt to a world that made going outside less than ideal.
Yet, despite the naysayers, this new way of working succeeded. Employees reported a better work/life balance, while companies reaped the benefits of a happier workforce due to the provision of remote working equipment and subsequent flexibility.
So, what does this mean for the future of digital workspaces?
Greater data analysis offers measurable management
Being able to measure performance, usually in the form of key performance indicators (KPI’s), has long been a favoured method for defining success. However, when it comes to digital working, data is infinitely easier to acquire. The trick is setting up the right infrastructure and technologies from the start. These can include devices such as people analytics, AI productivity assessments, multicloud-based environments, videoconferencing (such as Zoom), product management boards (such as Monday.com), and workplace social media platforms that invite collaboration, creativity, and community. Identifying and troubleshooting what works will help measure and manage outcomesmore effectively, while organising in this way will help employers gain workplace insights, identify patterns, make predictions, mould behaviours, and nurture better performance outcomes.
New ways of working will emerge
As with any new way of working, it evolves over time. To improve processes, collaboration, productivity, employee well-being, and engagement, digital working will need to recognise and learn to optimise outcomes. Doing so will require a greater understanding of the data that links workplace success with employee behaviour. Being able to personalise an individual’s work experience through a responsive and agile model will foster higher levels of engagement, job satisfaction and performance. Furthermore, using the digital workplace to connect managers with their team is a good way to identify burnout, emotional stress, and fatigue. Creating an online environment that fosters shared experiences and easily identifies employees who are struggling with motivation (through psychographic data) allows managers to support or challenge behaviours in a healthy and productive way.
Digitalisation also makes way for customisation. It helps foster data-driven experiences based on individuality, taste, goals, and ambitions. For example, understanding what motivates an employee (benefits, experience, training, progression, pay etc.) allows a company to engineer a personalised experience for each employee and reap the rewards of the resulting loyalty and productivity. This same data will also encourage collaboration by mapping worker interactions. Virtual connections through channels like Slack, Workplace by Facebook or Trello are great for matching skills, developing cross-disciplinary working, and driving innovation. Nurturing a happy workforce who connect with their peers is a sure-fire way to promote productivity.
Digital technologies will augment workplaces
Remote working is the future. However, office working isn’t dead. Instead, a likelier outcome will see a mixture of both, where the digital and physical office join to become a symbiotic hub that fostersboth in-person and virtual connections. The lure of a face-to-face meeting, especially in a lonelier pandemic-based existence, is still a priority for many people. So, although the office – at least as we know it – might be dead, get ready for an environment shift, where colleagues meet to socialise, collaborate, and connect.
Expect to see smaller offices that cater for the progressive technologies we’ve all come to rely one, and assume that organisational AI will help maximise the workplace experience for each individual. Data will lead and shape us, but the unquantifiable human experience will persist and require fostering.