Digital workplaces are no longer a thing of the future. Although many companies were already on the track to go digital, pandemic has accelerated this process. In 2020, Gartner’s research revealed that 82% of company leaders planned to incorporate remote work into their policies well after the pandemic.
However, switching to completely remote or hybrid work models has a prerequisite: building and maintaining strong digital workplaces. This is easier said than done - because a digital workplace is not about having a myriad of online apps.
📚 Read on to find out what are the biggest benefits of digital workplaces, what aspects to be mindful of when building them, and what are the best apps to add to your digital workplace suite.
What is a digital workplace?
Let’s start with defining the digital workplace first. In simple terms, the digital workplace is a natural evolution of the physical workplace. It enables employees to work from anywhere while ensuring they have the same level of access to the materials, applications, and resources they need to do their work.
Digital workplaces have many advantages, among which are high employee productivity, attractive employer brand, and increased employee satisfaction. However, employees also need to have easy-to-use apps and frequent communication with their teams to make the most out of digital workplace.
6 benefits of digital workplaces
For many companies, digital workplaces are already a reality. In fact, the trends towards digital workplaces preceded the pandemic, as the number of people working remotely increased 159% between 2005 and 2017. Moreover, the number of employees working from home during the first months of 2020 has increased from 33 to 61% in the US only.
Therefore, it’s safe to say that the future of work is digital. Considering its many advantages, we can only expect companies to adapt more of the remote work trends.
Here are the top 5 benefits of digital workplaces.
When talking about flexibility, we are talking about being free to choose where you work and when you work. In fact, 40% of people think that a flexible schedule is the greatest benefit of remote work.
When a digital work environment is implemented, employees save time they would spend on commuting, resulting in more free time. Therefore, their work-life balance is improved.
Moreover, working remotely allows people that want to travel to work from anywhere in the world. This allows many Millennials and Gen Z workers (who now comprise more than 50% of the world workforce) to travel while maintaining a stable income.
It’s obvious that digital workplaces minimize or fully eliminate the need for physical workplaces. Apart from saving money on office space rent, companies see higher employee turnover and productivity when incorporating digital workplaces. These both are financially beneficial.
How much money do companies save by going remote? According to data, work from home reduces the companies’ financial strain by $11,000 per year per part-time remote worker.
Better utilization of IT resources
Decentralized and user-friendly digital workplace solutions allow employees to easily access data, materials, tools, and more they need to do their work. With an easy-to-use approach, IT teams have less work to do with troubleshooting intricate software. Instead, IT Pros can focus on innovating or other priorities, thus claiming higher ROI.
Improved employee experience
It’s redundant to say that the ability to work remotely can significantly improve employee experience. It allows employees to work from the comfort of their homes, save time on commute, and focus on their work better.
However, not only employees profit from their digital work environment. High satisfaction with employee experience also increases employee engagement. In turn, engaged employees enable their companies to pull in 2.5x more revenue compared to competitors with low engagement levels.
Digital workplaces allow employees to reduce the amount of disturbances they face. In fact, many employees report they are able to focus better when working remotely. All in all, 77% of remote workers say they’re more productive when working from home.
Recruitment and retention made easier
According to recent research, 30% of workers would quit their jobs if they weren’t allowed to work remotely. This proves that digital workplaces are one of the most attractive benefits employers could offer.
Moreover, working remotely allows recruiters to find talent literally anywhere in the world. With that kind of freedom, it’s much easier to pick the perfect candidate!
5 ways to better support your digital workplace
As mentioned before, digital workplaces don’t only imply a cluster of apps. Yes, a digital work environment includes a lot of online tools - but the apps don’t comprise the full remote work experience. Moreover, it’s much harder to achieve cohesive company culture in fully digital workplaces. This is why every digital workplace strategy should include the following items.
91% of employees that receive effective onboarding feel strong connectedness at work compared to 29% of those that receive ineffective onboarding. In other words, the first weeks are crucial!
Make sure your new hires:
- Get access to your organization’s tools
- Have a 1-on-1 with their direct supervisor
- Understand your company’s goals, vision, and culture.
Frequent and diverse communication
How do you achieve cohesion among remote coworkers? By frequent communication, of course! Employees must have open paths of communication towards each other and their superiors.
Moreover, communication needs to be encouraged. Random communication channels asking interesting everyday questions, or bots suggesting random 1-on-1 calls are a great way to mimic conversations that would happen by the watercooler. This is why we at Rocket.Chat included these great practices into our remote work routine!
Furthermore, diversify communication! Chat, emails, videos, phone calls.. Enable and use all of them. Check out these great alternatives to Zoom if you’re aiming for high security standards during your video calls.
Good user experience
The main premise of a digital workplace are easy-to-use apps. When tools are intuitive, employees will use more of them. On the other hand, digital technologies whose features are not easy to find or use will only lead to decreased use, productivity, and collaboration.
In this area, you need to see your employees as you would see your customers. Good user experience ensures a positive employee experience and successful remote work.
There are many kinds of bad managers: the figure-it-out-by-yourself type, the micromanager type, the result-chasing type... The list goes on and on! No wonder that almost half of employees have quit their jobs at least once because of bad bosses.
In digital workplaces, it’s especially important to have active managers. Working remotely can be a lonesome experience. That’s why employees need regular feedback on their work and recognition to be optimally productive and happy. Therefore, you should utilize solutions that enable managers to efficiently manage their remote teams.
It’s of utmost importance to ensure high safety standards when introducing a digital workplace. Research suggests that there has been a significant rise in cybersecurity breaches since many companies rapidly switched to remote work in 2020.
For example, 20% of directors and C-suite executives in IT and cybersecurity roles say that they have experienced a security breach as a result of a remote worker. Moreover, 24% said that they paid unexpected expenses to address cybersecurity breaches.
Therefore, you should ensure that employees are adhering to safety standards by installing firewalls, anti-malware software, and connecting to safe networks. Moreover, the apps that your digital workplace consists of should adhere to these five security features.
📚 Learn what makes Rocket.Chat a secure messaging collaboration platform.
Digital workplace solutions to add to your tech stack
By now, you must be wondering: which solutions should every digital workplace have in place? What are the apps that ensure a smooth working experience? Which digital technologies do your employees need to be productive and aligned?
Read on to find out which are the must-have categories of digital workplace solutions.
Knowledge base platforms
In order to make digital workplaces effective, you need to ensure unhindered access to knowledge. This means all the work materials, templates, helpful guides, how-tos, white-papers, and others need to be organized and accessible.
Without knowledge base platforms like Google Drive or Basecamp, you’re blocking your employees’ productivity.
Performance management tools allow managers to evaluate their employees’ work. On the other hand, it keeps everybody informed on their progress and running tasks.
There is an abundance of tools on the market that help teams organize and monitor their work. Check out tools like monday.com, Lattice, or ClickUp.
Every digital workplace needs an HR system that allows easy navigation around company policies like vacation, benefits, or sick leave. Moreover, many of the HR solutions have additional built-in functionalities that can make remote HR’s teams’ lives a lot easier.
Collaboration and communication tools
Of all tools, team communication and collaboration tools might be the most important ones. Why? According to Buffer, 20% of workers list difficulties with collaboration and communication as their #1 struggle when working remotely. And, without these two, a lot less work gets done!
Since remote teams are operating in different time zones, it’s crucial they use asynchronous communication tools. Besides that, user-friendly apps will be used more, ensuring undisturbed team collaboration among coworkers.
In summary, the success of a digital workplace heavily depends on the tools that are provided and given to workers. The security of communication apps should uphold the highest standards.
Secure messaging apps like Rocket.Chat allow organizations that deal with highly sensitive information to stay compliant and have total control over their data privacy.
Check out why we are named team messaging solution of the year, and how Rocket.Chat can help you put all your communications under one roof.