75% of organisations plan to invest in their digital workplace. So what do we need to take into consideration when investing?
Why? Well, for starters it is essential to increase employee engagement and productivity. You’ll find plenty of articles covering this subject (or call me and I’ll be happy to brief).
I’d like to look further ahead. What’s coming next? What are the main trends that will affect the user needs in a modern digital workplace?
By now most companies are maturing and adapting well to the “new normal”, adjusting for the hybrid workplace and finding new ways of collaborating digitally. To support this transformation, 75% of organisations plan to invest in their digital workplace1. So what do we need to take into consideration when investing? And what do companies need to prepare for?
The last two year’s transformation towards more flexible and agile ways of working is just the beginning. Our employees are becoming more self-helped and autonomous. Business agility requires team empowerment and autonomy, rather than the traditional management steering. In fact, Gartner predicts that within two years 30% of our employees will work in teams without a direct manager2. And according to HBR research, 65% of current management tasks have the potential to be automated3. These managerial tasks can be automated away, creating space for managers to focus more on valuable actions to attract and retain their employees.
This means that your digital workplace needs to support the shift from central decision making toward network-based way of working. For example integrating HR processes and trivial management tasks in our employee’s digital workplace, enabling faster decisions and reducing bottlenecks in a hybrid working environment.
Employee turnover will continue to increase as hybrid and remote work become the norm for knowledge workers. This adds to the already increasing Gig Economy. A large number of employees work several part-time jobs, or as an independent freelancer juggling assignments. In the US, more than 35% already work gig jobs, and this is expected to double within the next 2-5 years. This may provide companies with more hiring flexibility going forward, but the overshadowing concern is the hardened competition for talent.
How then, can the digital workplace meet the needs of a growing Gig Economy? Employers who want to attract the best talent will need to put the end user at the focus of their strategy. Flexibility around where, when and on what device people can work is no longer a differentiator, it is expected! The key going forward will not just be a digital workplace that is constantly modernized and improved. But also making sure that the end user is aware of the direct and positive impact of these improvements.
Focusing on the End User Experience is a key factor to succeed with a modern digital workplace. Measuring the service performance and the overall employee experience enables us to proactively work on improvements and increase productivity. However, great employee experience is just the first step. Imagine the powerful effect if you manage to directly connect your people’s daily work to the customer value. Connecting the user experience for our employees with the user experience for end customers, brings a whole new level of meaningful workplace to our employees.
For example, enabling customer support personnel to solve issues more proactively has a positive impact on their user experience and performance. If you also tie this to the overall effect it has on less workload, improved customer experience, and customer value, you will connect our employees to the bigger picture. Aiming towards a holistic multi-experience, will not only bring more awareness, but also a sense of higher purpose to our work and services delivered.
There is no modern digital workplace without focus on sustainability. Thankfully, I see our customers and partners increasingly weighting sustainability more in requirements and expectations. In a digital workplace, it needs to be implemented in every step of the delivery chain. For example, tracking the level of reusage, recycling or sustainable decommissioning of your PC’s and devices.
Going forward, such targets will be more centrally managed. Making it easier to calculate the total cost of environmental impact, both short and long term. What impact, for instance, will increased workplace flexibility and digital collaboration have on our employees travelling? What difference will it make to keep a mobile phone for three or four years, instead of two? Calculating and visualizing the impact of these choices on an individual basis, not only brings awareness to our employees, but also empower each one of us to make conscious choices and proudly contribute to a better future.
A final piece of advice: No matter what you choose to focus on in your workplace transformation, your first priority should be to get the necessary insights. Three basic steps:
|Implement capabilities to measure and analyze the impact of your workplace investments.|
|Set a baseline and clear targets for productivity, user experience, sustainability and talent retention. Or other goals relevant for your business strategy.|
|Measure and analyze the development, and adjust your course when needed.|
It’s the only way to know if you are on the right track, and stay ahead in game. And I promise, you’ll be better prepared for the next big trend.