Digital workspaces reimagined
For the digital nomads of today’s workforce, the world is their oyster. They work best when they work unfettered, from their choice of device, to their choice of place.
Digital workspaces have emerged as the added dimension to meet this new normal. And moving the workspace beyond physical boundaries, into the digital realm, can also embed greater agility, productivity and innovation in an enterprise, across workforce generations.
Top management now needs to look at democratizing access to intelligence and productivity tools, while balancing security and the anytime-anywhere work culture.
Today ‘digital’ is no longer about technology. It has become the way we think.
From the manual typewriters and programmable calculators of yesteryears, to the intelligence embedded workspaces of today, technology and automation have evolved over centuries.
We are now in the middle of the next step in the evolution of the relationship between workforces and technology. In fact, in our opinion, seeking better and more efficient ways to use technology, rather than being satisfied with its power and potential, is driving this latest iteration.
And we are seeing these changes take shape all around us.
Take for example the way we consume apps like Uber, Airbnb and Zomato; interfacing with our daily lives, almost imperceptibly.
Similarly, co-working, gig-economy, remote access, work-from-home, etc. are some of the many phrases that have started defining today’s work culture and workplace.
Back in 2015, Satya Nadella, Microsoft CEO, was quoted as saying - ‘"Work is no longer a place you go to. Work is about making things happen where you are and having the experience you need to get things done available on every device wherever. You need to be able to bring people together in networks that are no longer confined to organizational hierarchy ".
Fast-forward to today, we have moved even farther ahead in that reality. It is that same philosophy, reimagined, that is shaping the digital workplaces of today, and tomorrow.
With the shift in focus from “where you work” to “what you do”, employees and teams want the freedom to work according to convenience and efficacy, from any device, at any time, and anywhere they choose.
As we see it, secure, seamless and fully functional access to data, apps and services is now the cornerstone of employee productivity. And at the core of this lies intelligent workplace systems, which are human-centric, focused on user-experience and intuitively attract employees for their ease of use and the enhanced outcomes they deliver.
Collaborative, conversational and networked
However, even this empowered, more efficient and agile vision of work environments is limited, in comparison to the truly revolutionary aspects of the emerging transformation.
Digital workplaces are now essentially enabling a complete rework of how we interact with our organizations, colleagues and resources, in pursuit of outcomes. With the ubiquitous access to digital tools, the collaborative model digital workplaces are helping establish is a reflection of the impact technology has had on our personal lives.
It isn’t hard for us to see parallels between the way we use our smartphones to order taxis, food, an endless choice of products online, or the way we stay in touch with friends half way across the globe and our working lives. From cost arbitrage to gaining access to a colleague’s insight and experience, instant and effective access is just as empowering in our professional lives as it is in our personal ones.
Therefore workers are demanding the adoption of the employee-centric technologies that comprise a digital workspace.
But new digital workplaces will need to work hard to be able to support environments that not only focus on the user experience, but also encourage innovation and collaboration, while improving the interaction between teams, management and clients.
Empowering workforces by enabling employee experiences
Perhaps the most influential aspect is the employee experience. Creating an employee experience roadmap, to empower them with tools based on preference, experience and use case, is one of the most powerful strategies an organization Can have to optimize the effect of its digital transformation.
A progression of the BYOD model, Mobility also stands at the core of the digital workplace. The new generation of employees want to be able to turn any place into a "workspace”. We believe businesses will have to embrace such focus as a matter of course, especially if they are to attract the best of the millennial generation.
An optimal digital workplace
In the data-driven and AI empowered world of the future, digital workspaces will not remain merely strategic initiatives. They will become a natural habitat for the digital native workforces.
But with technology becoming so accessible and transformative, the organizations of the future will be compelled to focus on ease of collaboration and creativity as their competitive advantage.
We are reminded of the words of author Paul Miller on the subject, in his book ‘The Digital Workplace: How Technology is Liberating Work’. “If we could actually see the current digital work world encircling us, it would leave us breathless, given its reach, depth and moving parts; it would be not just a new continent but a new planet (only digital)” .
And we certainly agree. Individual employees within organizations are already privy to this vision of the digital workplace. Organizations would ignore it at the own peril.
As enterprises realize the benefits of the digital workspace – the tightrope balance between security, trust will need concerted buy-in from top management backed by a confluence of systems, intelligence and on-demand models to deliver lasting value.