What is a Digital Workplace? Definition and Examples

A digital workplace goes beyond the limits of a physical office. It’s the digital ecosystem of our everyday work. High quality digital workplaces facilitate knowledge sharing, collaboration and create a connected environment providing access to everything employees need with the help of digital technology.

Your Digital Workplace with LumApps
What is a Digital Workplace

How to define a digital workplace

The term digital workplace has been used for several years now. Back in 2009, Paul Miller, founder of digital workplace Group (DWG), introduced the term to describe the wide ecosystem of workplace technologies. Since then, the digitalization of the workplace has evolved constantly. Defining what makes a successful digital workplace company is always challenging. There are dozens of definitions. Some of these definitions focus on specific concepts, while others encompass multiple aspects of digital workplace trends. It’s a broad term and as the concept grows in popularity its definition will continue to develop.

 

“The Digital Workplace enables new, more effective ways of working; raises employee engagement and agility, and exploits consumer-oriented styles and technologies.”

Gartner, leading research and advisory company

 

Ultimately, digital workplace solutions represent the natural evolution of the workplace, which gathers a set of technologies, platforms, and tools digital employees need to deliver business results.

This includes multiple aspects, such as:

  • Social and collaborative tools
  • Communication and messaging apps
  • Cloud storage tools
  • Corporate intranet platforms
  • Knowledge management systems
  • Documentation sharing and storing
  • Content management systems
  • Internal and external content sharing tools
  • Mobile device integration
  • …And many more

The digital workplace creates a centralized hub for employees to access information and perform their work responsibilities, regardless of their location or which device they use.

Technology has changed the way people work. The workplace is no longer just a physical workplace. Instead, companies can operate through cloud-based digital workplace platforms. Employees can access their work from anywhere as long as they have a laptop computer and an internet connection.

Examples of a Digital Workplace

The following digital workplace business cases demonstrate how a digital workplace applies to different business models.

 

— EllisDon Construction

EllisDon is a world-class construction company that completes more than $5 billion in building and building service contracts each year. The firm employs 3,000 employees in 12 offices. It is an employee-owned company that embraces the principles of being transparent and mutually accountable.

The company’s digital workplace components include a Lessons Learned Community for sharing important lessons, successes and mistakes, a place for employees to connect and ask questions, and an Executive Portal for messages from key leaders.

 

— Essilor Group

Essilor Group is an international company that has been in business for more than 170 years. Its focus is on designing, manufacturing, and distributing lenses and optical equipment. Essilor operates under several brands, including Bolon®, Crizal®, Eyezen™, Foster Grant®, Transitions®, Varilux®, and Xperio®. The company serves customers from 490 prescription laboratories and edging facilities, 32 plants, and 14 distribution centers worldwide.

Essilor uses a digital workspace to connect all employees, including those in the field. The platform hosts business applications, tools, local and company news.

 

— Stacks Law Firm

Stacks Law Firm is a network of independent Australian law firms. Collectively, it has more than 21 offices and 250 employees. The Firm’s strategy, marketing, digital transformation, and IT is handled through the Sydney head office.

Communication and collaboration are important to Stacks. Partners and associates need to access research memos and other information collected by the Firm regularly. The Firm launched a platform that could handle migration of its existing content as well as new content being developed by attorneys.

 

Stacks Law Firm Digital Workplace

Why is a digital workplace Important for Companies

Creating a digital workplace involves implementing multiple business processes and strategies to give employees the right tools to perform their core job responsibilities. For a digital workplace to enhance employee experience, it should:

  • Be holistic and provide full integration with existing work applications
  • Provide for easy information sharing and collaboration
  • Deliver a harmonized user experience in the work environment
  • Be coherent and make remote work easier
  • Provide mobility and accessibility no matter the location

The digital workplace is not just the introduction of work technologies. It’s a change in the working mindset and structure of the organization. In the last decade, organizations are coming to realize that work is no longer simply a place we go everyday. Today, work comes to us.

Here are some of the benefits:

 

— Improved Transparency in Internal Communication and Collaboration

Using the Digital Workplace, companies are opening new flows of communication. It grants the opportunity to keep in touch with peers and management at all times. Employees can’t afford to miss out on important news only because it got lost in the inbox. The Digital Workplace provides newer and faster communication tools, like instant messaging, video conferencing, real-time collaboration tools, community or information intranet boards. All this reduces the time people spend looking for information and increases transparency among the organization.

 

— Boosts Employee Experience and Engagement

Companies must build a strong work culture to increase employee productivity and improve business performance. Today, employees are the internal customers of the digital workplace, which places them in the center of any business transformation strategy. With the help of the digital workplace, companies can listen and act on employee feedback allowing them to shape healthier business relationships.

Each organization needs to find the right way to boost employee engagement and satisfaction, as disengagement has a high price tag for organizations that fails to acknowledge that. Delivering a great employee experience through a digital workplace strategy is a combination of physical, technological and cultural changes, that can impact positively employee recognition and engagement.

 

Why employee engagement is important :

 

— Better Knowledge Sharing and Accessibility

Employees spend countless hours in search of information since all documents are scattered over different drives, emails, PC folders, USB sticks, and even printed copies. Over time this struggle can amount to days of lost productivity.

With the help of a centralized source of information, like the corporate intranet, all this documentation can be organized and easily accessible by employees at any time. With easy access also comes the ease of sharing. Knowledge is no longer limited to individuals, job seniority, or departments.

 

— Customer Satisfaction Improves

Customers reap the benefit when employees are engaged and productive. Employee experience platforms make it easier for team members to find customer account information, including previous orders, purchase order numbers, and delivery dates. This information allows them to provide better customer service. Customer satisfaction rates improve. Satisfied customers are more likely to become repeat buyers, which boosts company profits.

 

— Increased Remote Work Capacity

Employees can access the company data and apps from anywhere with an internet connection. Employees can work remotely, which is appealing to more than 99% of workers at some point during their careers. The vast majority (90%) want to adopt the remote work model permanently.

Companies that implement a digital workplace experience and make remote working an option have higher employee satisfaction rates. They also find it easier to attract top talent.

 

— Potential for a More Agile Workforce

Digital platforms give a company the advantage of having an agile workforce. Employees can be encouraged to learn new skills to respond to changes in customer demands. They can earn higher salaries as they obtain more skills.

Employees can move from one workstation to another to gain experience with different jobs within your organization. This step gives your team members opportunities to learn and makes their work more interesting.

Digital tools, like knowledge management systems, allow professionals to document experiences, best practices, and know-how, which can be stored and shared with all current and future employees. This knowledge can lay the foundation for a much more efficient and productive workforce.

How to Create a Digital Workspace?

How would you create a digital workplace transformation for your employees? The steps involved look something like these:

 

1. Consider the company needs

The company must consider its needs before implementing a digital experience for employees. How does communication flow within the company? The main groups are likely knowledge workers, non-desk workers, and process workers :

  • Knowledge workers are the primary consumers in a digital workplace.
  • Deskless workers may make up the majority of the workforce. They include factory workers, warehouse workers, and outside sales representatives.
  • Jobs in human resources, accounting, purchasing, etc. do not tend to require collaboration with team members. Instead, they follow routines to perform their duties.

Non-desk workers can use mobile devices to stay connected. All employees need to be able to communicate with their fellow workers. Non-desk workers will not need an assortment of collaboration tools since they are not working on projects with other employees. They do need access to internal communications.

Process workers also need access to internal communications. They want access to their pay stubs, as well as requests for vacation and personal days.

 

2. Determine the best digital workplace solution

Some companies see the digital workplace as a concept. They add digital tools as needed. The digital workplace grows with new apps. Other ones see the digital workplace as a platform. The employees log in and do their work from one environment. The platform manages several functions, such as onboarding new employees, processing vacation requests, sharing the CEO’s latest blog post, sales reports, and more.

 

3. Is the solution easy to deploy?

The solution you choose must be easy to deploy. Some businesses have many employees working in an office and warehouse in a single location. Others have several offices in multiple countries. All employees want access to personalized and relevant content. No matter how much or how little real estate the company takes up.

 

4. Does it create a collaborative suite integration?

The solution you choose should connect your workplace in three distinct ways:

  • A social network that allows employees to get to know each other outside of their work duties.
  • A collaborative function allows teams and departments to share ideas and documents easily. Physical location is not a barrier.
  • A modern intranet is a place for storing and retrieving relevant company-wide forms, documents, manuals, and other types of content. It is accessible from a single portal.

 

Discover LumApps, the Modern Intranet :

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How to Improve a Digital Workplace?

Consider the following suggestions for improving your digital workplace.

 

1. Use a BYOD policy

Some companies provide devices for their employees to use at work. A BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) policy, with security protocols and mobile device management (MDM) ensures that sensitive data is protected. Employees use their own electronic devices to access company information while at work. Taking this step lowers your technology costs and increases productivity.

 

2. Choose a reliable internet service provider with high-speed capability

A successful digital workplace requires a reliable and business-ready internet connection. Employees have to run multiple cloud-based tools. Colocated offices can accomplish this through a local provider. For offices with remote workers, organizations should consider allowing employees to expense their internet bill so they can have reliable service. Make sure employees are satisfied with the current internet provider, and if not, it’s time to upgrade.

 

3. Create multiple layers of security

Security is necessary to protect your business. Protecting data from threats is a constant task. Create layers of security by introducing appropriate technology and ensuring accountability through the IT team or an individual. The security team is tasked with system monitoring, preventing unauthorized users (internal and external), and helping employees maintain a secure network no matter their location. Set policies about what types of information employees can share outside the company.

 

4. Gather feedback from employees

Conduct employee surveys to determine whether they feel positive and engaged at work. There may always be some employees who are disgruntled no matter how you try to engage them. Look for patterns in the survey answers. If you conduct surveys every few months and the same issues repeatedly come up, you have something you need to address.

Ask for help to address the issues in the workplace with a virtual suggestion box. Make the suggestions confidential to encourage more workers to participate. Let employees know that all suggestions received will go directly to the CEO’s desk for consideration.

 

5. Consider your team first before adopting digital tools

There are many types of tools offering all types of functions available on the market. It does not necessarily mean that a particular tool is right for your business. Look at the types of jobs your team does before adding any digital tools to increase productivity and collaboration. It will make it easier to decide which ones you actually need.

Read More: 5 Essential Steps for Your Digital Workplace Strategy

 

The future of work lies within the synergy between people and technologies. If the barriers dividing the workforce are torn down, everyone will be empowered and work as one within the organization. Don’t make the mistake of limiting your vision of the digital workplace, as it is constantly emerging: you need to be aware of the evolving practices and smart technologies that can transform your organization.

Your Digital Workplace with LumApps

A Digital Workplace goes beyond the limits of a physical office. It provides for knowledge sharing and collaboration in many new and effective ways.

See the full definition

  • Internal Communication
  • Internal Collaboration
  • Employee Engagement
  • Employee Experience
  • Knowledge Sharing

See all the benefits

  1. Set a clear vision
  2. Foster communication, collaboration and connection
  3. Provide the necessary training
  4. Be transparent throughout the process

Discover all the steps