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Why is a digital workplace beneficial for your organisation?

January 27, 2021 / 3 min read

A man working on a laptop and two monitors.

The COVID-19 outbreak improved the ability of long-distance collaborative work as well as increased recognition of the values of digital transformation among employees all over the world. In the new reality that started over a year ago, the need for a digital workplace and an intranet has become more important in almost every organisation. This situation raises the question, what should you keep in mind when creating a digital workplace? And what can you do to create a useful digital workspace? Let’s find out!

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A poll published by IDC in 2020 showed that 65% of the surveyed CXOs had formulated plans for working from home, while 20% were implementing telecommuting. Indeed, home office is a new standard. However, because it all happened so suddenly, many organisations weren’t prepared to digitise their workplace and create an effective online environment.

That’s why we decided to tackle this issue. In this article, we are going to find out what can you do to create an efficient digital workplace for your company. But let us start with the beginning:

An intranet – the old, the new, the effective one

The term intranet was coined in 1994. At that time, it was merely an internal website used mainly for top-down communication. Employees could access corporate news and see management announcements.

In general, we can say that originally the role of an intranet in organisations was built on four pillars:

  • Communication: Intranets helped in establishing communication channels
  • Information: They were used to share information and data among employees
  • Corporate culture: Intranets aided managers in building corporate culture and image
  • Collaboration: They connected employees and helped them work better together

There has been a significant shift after some period, and the primary goal of the intranet has changed to increasing productivity. This direction was evident due to easy access to the company's documents, quicker circulation and more effective communication. At that time, intranets had to be based on one large repository of knowledge, built without a homogeneous structure or hierarchy, with too much information and, unfortunately, with many files partly outdated and duplicated.

By no means was it a well-organised approach to the content management question. It led to a situation where final users couldn't reach a piece of information they needed, at least not without solid effort. In many instances, it was downright impossible.

Example of a digital workplace

It’s important: Nowadays, the concept of a useful intranet is slightly different. Current trends show that you should treat it as a tool that supports employees in their tasks, share knowledge and reduce the amount of time spent on tracing and recovering the information they need.

Supposedly the same but different, isn’t it? Why has this change occurred?

The traditional intranet morphed into the all-new digital workspace

Today’s digital workplaces are supposed to be based on a readily-available online environment that provides instant access to everything your employees need to do their job in the best possible way.

You may think of a digital workspace as an evolution of the traditionally understood workplace. Modern digital workspaces consist of all digital technologies, tools, platforms and environments necessary to get work done.

Today, your intranet should also cover all the personal needs of the employees. It should also deliver a great user experience that can match offline staff communication and working practices. However, productivity is the main area where digital workspaces offer their most significant advantage. In other words, intranets should help your team complete their everyday tasks and projects.

Thanks to integrating all the technologies that employees use on a daily basis (emails, instant messaging, meeting tools, HR applications, applications supporting business processes and documents), the digital workspace can eliminate communication barriers and improve the employee experience.

How should you approach creating a useful digital workspace?

Step 1: Analyse you emloyees’ needs

Before you jump into creating a digital workspace in your company, it's essential to verify your employees' needs. Since they will be your primary users, it's crucial to know what they’re struggling with and how you can improve their experience.

Think of how you can make the workday of your employees more productive? What tools should be integrated? Which workflows can be simplified? Avoid redundancy. Get rid of information overload, aggregate tools and try to simplify every possible process.

Step 2: Personalise

Let your employees be at the centre of your digital workspace. Their personal preferences should be your top priority. Give them the freedom to decide on what's important and useful. Create an online space where they will feel at home, a one-stop place where they can start their everyday journey.

Step 3: Make it accessible from various devices

If your employees have a changing work environment, remember that you can create a digital workspace that’s fully available from different devices. Support mobile access to knowledge, communication, the intranet and all personal tools.

Step 4: Keep it simple!

Bear in mind that your employees already spend a lot of time using digital interfaces. Make sure that you take care enough about usability of your intranet. Focus on relevant information that they may want to use. Remember to keep your user interface design clean and straightforward. Make your employees’ lives easier and your digital workplace useful.

Keysteps in a digital workplace

Key takeaways: The advantages of digital workspaces

The digital workspace gives you a handy way to connect employees, tools and data in one employee-centred digital place. The key benefits of such a one-stop solution are:

  • Increased productivity: Less time spent on searching and discovering, improved task management.
  • Possibility to share knowledge: With easy access to necessary information and data.
  • Empowered collaboration: Digital workspaces provide an easy way to co-create and share files, organise events and group discussions.
  • Keeping everyone up to date: The company’s news and activities are always at hand and up to date.
People discussing. The photo focuses on the laptops and a cup of coffee.

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Mariola Szklarz a User Experience Designer in NoA Ignite Poland

Mariola Szklarz

Mariola is a User Experience Designer. She appreciates working collaboratively. For her diversity of mindsets, experiences and insights are key to successful products. She also values communication, building relations and cooperating on a team.

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