Right now, most businesses find themselves at a crossroads--how can they establish an equilibrium between the virtual and physical requirements of their diverse workforce?

As the number of remote employees and satellite offices grows, employers are recognizing the ever-increasing importance of a digital workplace. Since not every employee works remotely and physical offices are still in use, businesses must ensure each staff member has what they need to perform their jobs, regardless of time zone or physical location.

Here are the essential elements employers should consider when balancing virtual and physical needs in the digital workplace.

Virtual

Mobility

Flexible hours and the ability to work remotely are not bonuses--they're what employees expect. A digital workplace cannot thrive without a focus on providing staff members with instant access to information wherever they are. When employees can easily see the data they need in real time, it helps teams work as one cohesive unit, improving efficiency.

Connectivity

Connectivity is complementary to mobility in that employees can communicate with their colleagues and customers no matter the circumstances. In addition to increasing productivity, being connected helps maintain the community aspect of the workplace. Even in a digital workspace employers cannot ignore the importance of preserving person-to-person interactions.

Data Security

Though critical to the digital workplace, allowing employees to access information remotely does open the door to security risks. Managed cloud computing is one way to combat these risks. Managed cloud services give companies the benefits of cloud computing (specifically, data security and reliability) without having to hire in-house system administrators. Managed cloud computing also helps provide peace of mind to employees and clients, while still enabling on-demand data access.

"Businesses that will be successful in the future will be those that break down the barriers between people, workplaces and technologies and empower their employees to be productive and creative wherever they are." --Klaus Holse (CEO, SimCorp)

Physical

Bürolandschaft (Translation: Office Landscape)

Originally, an open-plan office layout consisted of installing rows of identical desks with the goal of packing as many employees into one place as possible. In the 1950s, Quickborner, a German design group, introduced the concept of Bürolandschaft ("office landscape") to foster a more interactive workspace.

How does this relate to the digital workplace? Using space management software, organizations can quickly see up-to-date information on space availability and utilization, allowing them to build an environment optimized for employee engagement--for example, creating collaborative workspaces. Furthermore, if a facilities manager (FM) notices a space is often unused, they can investigate the cause and adjust the design to make it more appealing.

The Internet of Things

The Internet of Things (IoT) is a system that links people, places and things and enables the exchange of data over a network. Digital workplaces can use IoT technology to determine employee locations, giving employers insight into which spaces are in use and helping them to schedule tasks for the times that will be the least disruptive to their employees.

For example, if you notice a particular area is consistently vacant at the same time each day, cleaning services can be scheduled for that time. And you can send someone to a currently unoccupied area to identify which supplies need restocking or equipment needs servicing. In both instances, operational tasks are completed without disturbing employees, improving productivity.

IoT technology also allows employees to find out the availability of their colleagues. If an employee sees their coworker is in a meeting or out of the office, they'll know how to contact them and not waste time calling their desk phone or trying to find them in the office.

Technology is essential for the digital workplace, but it is not the only element. Creating an efficient digital workspace also requires a thorough understanding of the individuals who are actually using the technology. By using this article as a guide, employers can build an environment that fosters employee empowerment and engagement by ensuring the right information is delivered to the right person at the right time.

Published on: Sep 19, 2016
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