The modern workplace often involves handling a large number of different tasks in different applications to achieve your goals. Businesses now recognize that employees need a unified experience to work together effectively and seamlessly, avoid duplication of effort, and ensure that teams can collaborate effortlessly. At the same time, the way we work and where we work has changed: a change accelerated by the pandemic, but one that few employers can now ignore.
Having a cohesive set of software tools that bring common tasks together in a single interface provides a simpler, more streamlined experience for users. Quite simply, the more complex or difficult the technology is to become familiar with, the steeper the learning curve, the greater the pain of change for employees, and the slower your adoption rate, which is where many IT investments fail.
So, what does a digital workspace solution offer? Well, it brings together a common set of tools that enable employees to work together in a consistent and frictionless manner. Not only that, but it enables greater flexibility, providing end users with the ability to work from anywhere and from any device. Of course, security is a key consideration when employees are working remotely and accessing business-critical, centralized resources. The need to keep devices and data secure and compliant has never been more important.
What does a digital workspace look like?
There are several different technologies that can make up your digital workspace solution. These technologies typically include some or all of the following.
Virtual desktops – providing employees with a consistent experience and easy access to everyday resources from outside the office or remotely from a different location
Collaboration tools – enable employees to call, chat, message and collaborate so they can easily meet, interact and share information using one intuitive tool
Connectivity – Ensures that users can securely connect to centralized data and applications using secure remote access or single sign-on (SSO).
Security – Ensure that every device used by any employee is secure, using unified endpoint management to bring all enterprise devices into one central management console for security and patch alerts.
Microsoft 365 – Empower your users with a cohesive set of productivity tools, including the Office 365 suite, OneDrive, SharePoint and Teams.
So, now that we know what the nuts and bolts consist of, what approach do you need to take to build your digital workspace?
Create the foundation for hybrid work
Before investing in any new technology, the first step is always to assess your business needs. A lot has changed in the course of the pandemic, and the expectations of both employers and employees need to be taken into account. You need to figure out how your team can be most productive.
Set your work patterns
Various flexible work models, working from home on a permanent basis or as part of a hybrid team, are all part of the digital workspace and can impact job retention and recruitment, with employees choosing employers who offer the kind of work style they desire.
If your business doesn’t consider all possible options for your employees based on your business goals, you may be selling yourself short as new hires will gravitate toward companies that offer greater flexibility.
We recommend creating a blueprint for how your team will work effectively together. Who needs to work in the office and where? How often do employees go back and forth between the office and home? How do they need to work with colleagues who work remotely?
Provide your team with digital workspace tools
Next, you need to enable employees to do their jobs effectively and remove any obstacles in their path. This is where it’s important to choose the right tools to ensure that everyone can work together effectively and securely, collaborate from anywhere and stay productive.
When deciding which set of tools is right for your business, you need to consider issues of ease of use, reliability, security and compliance to ensure that your digital workspace works for everyone.
Creating a culture of connection
It’s worth considering that while most of us have had the experience of working remotely during a pandemic, it takes more than just technology to maintain a sense of connection in a team. Therefore, a culture of connection is also important to ensure that teams feel truly connected. Employees who say their companies promote a connected culture also cite better physical and emotional health.
What to consider when planning your digital workspace
When evaluating how to move forward with your digital workspace solution, you’d be wise to consider whether it’s time to move from a best-of-breed approach to a common suite that combines all of your core business functions. Disparate tools create unnecessary complexity, not to mention cost, and often don’t provide the best experience for users. And we all know that adopting new tools is key.
Your goal should be a single interface that users can easily adopt and can be extended with other applications. Intuitive tools that are easy to use and fit together seamlessly create the kind of user experience that leads to success. Giving up single-function apps in favor of a suite of apps that can be integrated with other core tools is more likely to help you get the benefits you want from your digital workspace.
When it comes to transforming the work experience of your employees, you have to start at the top. You will need a high level of ownership to help you manage the transition to digital workspaces because it’s not just about choosing the technologies you want to use, it’s about integrating those technologies with the overall strategy of your organization.
10 Tips for Deploying a Digital Workspace
Get senior management support. Top-level sponsorship will help you manage the transition to a digital workspace.
Align your solution and business strategy. Your digital workspace solution needs to meet your needs now and in the future. By aligning your digital workspace solution with your business direction and strategy, you can meet and grow with demand.
Think holistically. Think big picture and use an integrated set of tools rather than implementing separate technologies
Create a culture of connection. Engage your users, work with your existing organizational culture, and help them see the path forward and the reasons for change
Deliver business value. Focus on how you can add business value through technology, rather than supporting your organization’s growth through technology implementation.
Research your options. There are multiple types of technologies that can be composed and integrated to create a holistic digital workspace solution. Keep an eye out for solutions that show continued innovation and the ability to build on your chosen platform, which will ensure you are prepared for the future.
Make it easy: You want your digital workspace solution to be easily adopted by your end-users to maximize their productivity and ROI on their technology investments. By introducing better ways of working for your employees and by providing a unified, consistent user experience with your solution, your implementation has a better chance of user adoption success.
Engage compliance and legal teams. Keep your data and workspace environment secure. It’s important to understand the risks and stay compliant; ignore it and you could pay the price.
Maturity. Use a maturity model to understand where your organization is in the modernization program and how your employees currently work. This assessment will help you determine the appropriate tools for your digital workspace toolkit
Manage expectations. Take a measured approach to deployment to ensure success and eliminate risk
In short, Rome cannot be conquered in a day, so for such a large undertaking, you must decide on a vision for your digital workspace and establish strategic alignment across all areas of your organization. Ultimately, the focus of the digital workspace is on delivering business value, not technology.