In times of crisis, the very nature of our daily working routines tends to change, as we witness a worldwide re-evaluation of how digital components fit into our working ways. We mainly see how important technology is when the need to be connected remotely and have access to a digital workplace is a matter of urgency.
Companies have talked about the importance of going digital for years, but no one could predict how great the need for a digital workplace strategy would be in 2020. Apart from those who are already operating with online remote working platforms, many companies now fear that the forced adaptation to this new paradigm may be a bit too late. The fear of not being digital enough (if that’s a thing) is overwhelming both big and small companies. With migration towards an online work environment accelerating worldwide, digital disruption is affecting nearly all businesses. This article will cover both the causes of the disruption, as well as ways to proactively fight it.
Disruption: rushed migrations that impact your digital workplace
“Digital workplace initiatives cannot be treated exclusively as an IT initiative. When initiatives are executed as a series of technology rollouts, employee engagement and addressing the associated cultural change are left behind. Digital workplace success is impossible without such.”, says Carol Rozwell, research vice-president at Gartner.
Disruption results from the lack of digital leadership and the absence of a focus on employee engagement, as these two are threats to digital technologies and business models.
In this case, digital leaders should understand the need to implement best practices and integrate tools and platforms needed to enforce a digital working culture. According to CMS Wire, preventing disruption means showing more appreciation for the experiences employees have within their company and recognising it as the key to productivity. Another key aspect is the assessment of infrastructure and digital transformation potential that needs to empower the organisation’s digital workplace.
Main 6 disruption factors for the digital workplace
We've seen this frequently: companies that rush their migration processes without a clear strategy and don’t know how to leverage modern tools and platforms for transforming a workplace into a flexible and productive work environment. Our experience shows that we can cluster all these disruption factors into 6 main categories.
The need for company-wide modernisation is clear for companies with high volumes of manual, time-consuming and error-prone work. Some companies are in a rush to go digital, so they choose to implement tools that only solve remote communication and basic processes. This results in the disruption of day-to-day workflows that tend to end up being done manually as an overhead to the employees' normal tasks.
Lack of valuable insights
Due to prioritisation, tools like analytics can be overseen. If the company does not opt for a fully digitised and automated process, the frequency with which the company benefits from accurate project reporting drops. Not having accurate reports leads to lack of clarity in reporting, KPI validation, or improvement needs.
When everything needs to be done remotely, employees must get used to many new platforms and tools, sometimes all at once. This leads to frustration and decreased efficiency.
If the employees can’t accurately manage incoming data and changes in just a few clicks, bad user experience is a threat to the company's overall work efficiency.
Challenges like simultaneous document collaboration on one or more documents and the simplification of both local and international communication flows are crucial for good user experience. Simply performing the migration to online tools as a technology rollout without improving collaboration and data-exchange ends up in the disruption phase.
Lack of employee satisfaction
The partial digitisation and automation of one or more tasks can lead to more effort for the employees, making them unable to turn their attention to value-adding tasks and finally, creating frustration.
A critical business process that is not documented and digitised makes onboarding and knowledge transfer difficult. Having everyone on board with using a certain technology or platform makes the difference between a successful digital workplace implementation and a failure.
Plan more efficiently to prevent disruption
Having in mind main business objectives, your digital workplace strategy should combine the company’s needs, target groups and available technologies.
When dealing with the shifting demands towards a digital strategy, business visionary leadership should be at the core of the company's digital workplace strategy. Digital workplace leaders shift from their role as enforcers of change and move towards a co-creative path where employees are active participants in strategic decision-making.
As digital workplace leaders start being more and more people-oriented, they should involve key-employees from departments like IT, management, HR, and other stakeholders to jointly create a digital workplace strategy capable to support the company's specific needs. According to Gartner, engaging a cross-disciplinary “A-Team” will enhance the overall employee experience. Investing in employee experience gets companies up to 10% improvement in employee engagement scores.
With the help of the right people, digital leaders understand that a successful digital workplace is less about technology and more about making necessary changes to the work environment.
In the context of digitisation, Business Units are first-hand change identifiers as they know the desired business outcomes and can establish measures to determine success.
For creating an efficient digital strategy, we at Accesa start our projects with a kick-off involving BU Leaders and relevant stakeholders. During these meetings, we obtain a shared understanding of the client's initial situation and we manage to discuss and define requirements for the target scenario.
Accesa’s strategy when planning the digital work environment is to develop a comprehensive migration plan, leaving nothing up to chance.
Only then, we can make the necessary arrangements to create an online environment of tools and platforms specifically tailored to our clients' business needs without forgetting the importance of user experience. Based on our experience so far, our strategy includes:
- A pre-migration assessment of the existing infrastructure
- A dedicated team for content migration that will make the transition run smoothly
- The management and administration of digital workplace tools and platforms
- Governance, risk and compliance of the project
Accesa’s years of expertise in working with customers from all industries show that following this strategy guarantees easy-access communication channels, intuitive means of collaboration and a smooth overall working process that helps employees become more engaged. To guarantee this result, we recommend ensuring all stages of migration and consolidation, management and monitoring, steps that will enable your company to prevent disruption.
To overcome disruption, companies should assess their resources and determine if their digital workplace project can be sustained in-house or working with an outsourced team is the way to go.
Don’t forget that the result of a good digital implementation strategy avoids disruption in the digital workplace. Having a clear and significant digital upgrade of the communication infrastructure and vital business processes allows optimising infrastructure in a way that would successfully meet the business needs and support desired business outcomes.
New technology is constantly improving the way we work, but in these changing times we face, the digital workplace can bring benefits, along with some challenges.
A well thought strategy helps overcome challenges like decreased efficiency or inefficient collaboration, ensuring easy communication and smooth processes.
The digital workplace strategy should be focused on not only on managing the rapid digitalisation as an IT initiative, but rather focus on employees' engagement and culture shifts by involving key-roles in the decision-making process.
Effective companies should keep their employees happy even when change emerges quickly, and new working ways take over. To do so, digital leaders must rethink the norms and processes before undergoing into migrations and prepare a strategy that will prevent disruption.