With very few exceptions, there are not many people with work patterns that Dolly Parton would recognise. The days of making a living by working 9 to 5 seem long gone. The previous working world was as much dictated to by the technology available as it was by popular culture. Workers were tied to the office fax machine as a way of transmitting documents. Mobile devices that could access work emails and open attachments were so unimaginable as to be beyond even a pipedream.
That’s all changed. We have devices in our pockets that are infinitely more powerful than the hulking desktop PCs that were commonplace only a couple of decades previously. IT security has progressed to the point where large enterprises are comfortable for employees to bring their own devices to work. It wasn’t that long ago that some organisations were banning USB sticks because of concerns over their vulnerability. Ubiquitous devices. Cloud-based storage. Two-step authentication. All here and all constantly evolving. The Digital Workplace is the new reality.
The Digital Workplace – what’s in it for me?
That depends on who you are. If you’re an employee it provides you with an unrivalled level of flexibility for how, where and when you discharge your work duties. Respond to emails on the commute home? Check. Review a presentation deck whilst attending your kid’s school play? Easily done and possibly even a welcome distraction. Need to grab that bargain holiday offer but it’s the weekend? No problem, just log on remotely to the Intranet and book your annual leave. And it can all be done through a device you already own and already look at a hundred times a day anyway.
For the employer, the potential benefits are vast too. Your employees can be productive whether they are at their desk or not. Indeed, your employees who don’t have a desk can have access to the same resources as those who do, enabling you to democratise and unite your workforce. Collaboration between workers across multiple offices and geographies becomes second nature. As fewer workers need to be in the office each day, you can switch to a hot-desk model and reduce your real estate costs. Work becomes a flexible extension of your employees’ lives and they become increasingly engaged and increasingly loyal.
What could possibly go wrong?
Well, as with all elements of modern life, not everyone is ready for it and not everyone will welcome it. You can probably be confident that your Millennial employees will be fine but what about your older, more experienced workers who bristle at the perceived unchecked advance of technology into their working and personal lives. These are workers who were around when Dolly Parton was releasing vinyl. They might see some of the benefits of digitalisation and some acceptance will occur through osmosis, but how do you stop them being left behind? How you manage the introduction of new practices without incurring casualties along the way? The answer, we believe, is Evolution not Revolution. Recognise the existing work practices and don’t ditch them wholesale in the name of digital progress. Identify the concerns of those who feel threatened and provide them with the support and guidance they need to understand the new way, for example, the new etiquette for the “always on” workforce. Give them a way to voice concerns just as you would give employees a voice to make suggestions around improvements and efficiencies.
In essence, organisations need a comprehensive, holistic digital strategy that includes all employees. The digital workplace needs to be much more than just flexible working and remote access. It needs to incorporate tools that enable collaboration, that connects workers in disparate locations, that enables the organisation to do things better and that fosters inclusivity so that all employees, no matter their life stage or attitude to technology, are engaged and united behind the organisation and its goals.
How can StaffConnect help?
StaffConnect delivers a powerful mobile employee engagement platform that can sit at the heart of your digital strategy. It increases internal communications, encourages collaboration and transforms the employee experience by enabling large enterprises to connect, communicate and engage their entire workforce. It also comes with our expertise as to how to successfully implement and assimilate the new way of working. We work with clients to on-board the platform and ensure successful adoption. We’ve built in tools that allow you to gauge how messages are landing and then deliver tailored additional content to any employee showing signs of being left behind. It will drive the evolution of your digital workplace by revolutionising the way you engage your employees. We’d love to tell you more so why not check out our short video here.