Building a Digital Workspace: 6 Strategies to Empower Workers and Support Innovation


Tech Insights for ProfessionalsThe latest thought leadership for IT pros

Thursday, May 6, 2021

Digital workspaces will be the future for many businesses, but how can you be sure your strategy stands the best chance of success? Here are a few key steps you should be following.

Article 4 Minutes
Happy IT professional smiling because she has successfully developed a digital workspace strategy

How we work has changed rapidly since 2020, and a return to the old days of nine-to-five, office-based practices are likely gone for good. But in order to effectively support the new, more agile environment, effective digital tools will be essential.

These days, every workspace needs to be a digital one. Employees now expect to work how, when and where they want and will demand easy access to technology tools that can help them achieve this. As such, it's vital you're offering the right solutions to make this a practical reality - and this means a clear digital workplace transformation plan.

Defining the digital workspace

It's important to start by making sure you have a thorough understanding of what the digital workspace involves. This isn't exactly the same as the digital workplace - although there’s a lot of crossover.

A digital workplace covers the entire environment you create to help individuals do their job and streamline day-to-day processes. Meanwhile, the digital workspace focuses more closely on the tools themselves and how they integrate them to make it possible to work effectively wherever a user is.

This can include end-user devices, such as laptops or smartphones, connectivity and collaboration services like videoconferencing and instant messaging and cloud software to give secure, complete access to key data and applications in any location, on any device.

In short, the digital workspace is about giving people the tools to work seamlessly wherever they are and switch between locations and devices with no disruption to how they work. Combine this with strong unified communications and collaboration tools to keep people in touch and you'll be well-equipped for the new era of flexible and remote working.

6 strategies to boost success

However, putting this into practice can present a range of challenges. For many businesses, embracing digital workspaces will signal a major change in how they operate, away from inflexible desk-based working practices. Therefore, it's important the project is handled with care and planned with precision. Here are a few key factors you should be including in your digital workspace strategy.

1. Have the right people involved

An important first step will be to identify the most suitable people stakeholders of the project. Crucially, these shouldn't only come from the senior ranks and those with the power to sign off on any investments. Instead, people from all areas and levels of the business need to be involved. These end-users will be better able to explain their pain points and determine how any new solutions will fit into working practices.

2. Understand the needs of your workforce

Having the right people puts you well on your way to the next step - identifying the unique needs of the workforce. There's no point in investing in new technologies that solve issues your employees don't have, so be sure to conduct surveys and other listening exercises like focus groups. This should uncover how people currently work, what barriers to efficiency exist and where any gaps in capabilities lie.

3. Identify key goals

With this knowledge of your business in hand, you can set a few key goals for the project. These should follow SMART principles to ensure they’re practical and can demonstrate a provable return on investment. For instance, do you want to improve flexibility or reduce the overall costs of your operations? Is there a specific problem such as a lack of key functionality in your software that needs to be addressed?

4. Look for quick wins

As well as longer-term goals, you can get your digital workspace project off to a good start by identifying some quick wins. Fast, small-scale projects can be used as proof-of concepts and build confidence in the new strategy before larger plans are rolled out across the enterprise. These trials can also help spot any potential issues that’ll have to be overcome as the project moves forward.

5. Keep feedback channels open

As pilot schemes and trials are rolled out, it's vital to get constant feedback from end-users on what's working and what isn't. A good way to do this is to use your end-user stakeholders and champions as focal points, so employees know exactly who to bring any suggestions or opinions to.

6. Repeat, iterate and improve

Once small-scale projects have been successful, major rollouts should follow. But this doesn't mean the work is done. Technology is always evolving, so you need to be constantly looking for ways to make adjustments and improvements. Use the feedback gained from stakeholders to tweak and iterate your solutions in a continuous cycle. If you believe the work is done and bring the strategy to a close, you're likely to be quickly left behind.

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