The past year saw many organizations forced to shift from an in-house office environment to a distributed workforce. Surveys and studies show that over 15 percent of employees will likely remain remote workers long after COVID-19 recedes. Nearly 90 percent of organizations say they expect some of their employees to continue working from home post-pandemic.
While the unprecedented volume of remote work began as a forced experiment, most employers have found the approach often works. As it becomes more the norm, organizations must ensure both remote and in-house employees are supported, remain connected, and stay productive. To encourage employee engagement and maintain workplace culture, they need to develop digital workplaces that focus just as much on employee well-being as they do technology.
What is a Digital Workplace?
The idea of a workplace that’s merely a physical space occupied during set work hours is quickly becoming a thing of the past. Adopting a digital workplace brings together the tools, culture, skills, and workstyles employees need to do their best work—no matter where they are. A digital workplace improves productivity and customer service through the use of intuitive, easy-to-use processes and tools such as:
- Mobile devices
- Collaboration tools
- Digital workspaces
- Employee recognition programs
To succeed, a digital workplace must not only include the latest technological tools, it must also account for the ways people work and incorporate the skills they must develop to stay engaged.
Enhancing Digital Literacy
Digital literacy in the workplace refers to your employees’ ability to use different technologies to find, evaluate, and analyze information. Today, it’s estimated eight out of ten mid-level jobs need a basic level of digital literacy. With the increase in remote work, the current level of digital literacy in the workplace is often not enough.
Unfortunately, many workers remain uncomfortable using workplace digital tools, usually because they haven’t needed to and haven’t received proper training on using them. Today, all employees must be equipped with the foundational skills and confidence required to tackle new tools, technologies, and processes as they arise.
Step by Step: Building a Digital Workplace That Works
Developing a digitally ready workforce is about finding new approaches to team collaboration while also providing quiet spaces for concentration. But building happy, productive teams in a virtual environment is a challenge many organizations are struggling to meet. While many businesses had already begun their digital transformation pre-pandemic, they must now accelerate their efforts to address and mitigate workplace disruptions.
Throwing technology at the problem may seem like a safe bet, but even the best technologies can’t help you head off future challenges when the workforce is split between in-house and remote locations. It takes deploying the right technologies and empowering your people to get the most out of them.
These four steps can help you get started on developing a digitally ready workforce:
- Rethink the workforce by taking a more flexible, agile, and diverse approach to the way people work and the tools they use to perform their tasks.
- Redesign workspaces so it’s easy for in-house and remote employees to communicate effectively with fewer face-to-face meetings.
- Develop an agile mindset and allow employees to take the initiative in advancing their knowledge and skills.
- Invest in training while continually assessing and developing employee skills. Online courses, coaching, and mentoring initiatives help employees develop the skills they need to be digitally ready.
One of your greatest allies in developing a digitally ready workforce can be an experienced IT managed services provider. They can guide you in choosing the right technologies to support your digital goals and make sure your in-house and remote works have the training they need. It’s a wise digital-first investment that allows your organization to stay relevant in a rapidly evolving work world.