The digital office transition was already underway before coronavirus accelerated the adoption of digital processes to keep businesses operating under lockdown restrictions. With businesses and employees at all levels and across all industries having experienced a different way of working, going back to a traditional office setup can feel restrictive and also means you'll miss out on the benefits of a connected workplace.
A digital workplace isn't a one-time fix, but rather an ongoing transformation of a business' processes and culture. Read this guide to find out what characterises a digital workplace and why implementing digital processes is necessary to keep your business competitive.
What are the benefits of a digital workplace?
Even if your employees aren't working from home, a digital workplace strategy that makes intelligent use of the latest technologies can have many advantages for a business. These include:
More satisfied employees
Employers should prioritise the employee experience as much as the customer experience. Digital processes can help employees to feel valued and to make them more engaged in their work. According to research by Deloitte:
- installing enterprise social media tools can increase employee satisfaction by 20%
- 64% of employees would choose a lower-paying job if it meant they could work away from the office
- increasing employee engagement can increase employee retention by up to 78%
Working across multiple apps can lead to confusion and wasted time every day. Streamlining apps and business processes through a central platform can make workflow easier to track and improve productivity.
You may also be able to automate mundane and repetitive tasks to allow your team to concentrate on their strengths.
Communication and collaboration
Whether teams are working from their homes, in different locations or just across the office, real-time communication tools, social media and virtual meetings can be more efficient than traditional tools such as email.
Collaboration apps and workflows can also clearly define who is responsible for which tasks and set deadlines, increasing transparency in your business and reducing errors.
Remote working was a growing trend even before the COVID-19 pandemic forced businesses to adapt before they were prepared. With remote working being here to stay, digital processes lessen dependence on a physical office by enabling your business to run efficiently across multiple locations.
What digital processes do you need?
There's no one-size-fits-all template for a digital workplace, and streamlining your business will involve more than one platform. The digital processes you need depend on the nature of your business and what areas you need to improve. Common digital processes include:
Enterprise social networks
Businesses can use conventional social media such as Facebook and Twitter to reach out to customers and grow their profile through digital marketing, but many also benefit from introducing internal enterprise social networks (ESN) for communication and collaboration between team members. These may be stand-alone apps or components of a business' intranet.
From training and virtual meetings to video marketing, video communication is now integral to many aspects of business. Video apps can improve real-time communication in your business and make for the most engaging marketing content, whether you're publishing on demand video or live streaming to platforms such as Facebook and YouTube.
Increasing reliance on technology and cloud-based services can make a business more vulnerable to cyberattacks, unless your network is well secured. As well as securing your network and data, all employees must also be educated in good cyber hygiene to prevent human error and you should control and revoke access for staff as appropriate.
Digital processes can improve how you connect with and serve your customers. Customer relationship management (CRM) software can make it easier for you and your team to access and manage data on your customers, while virtual assistants and chatbots can improve the customer experience and satisfaction.
How to set up digital processes
Your service provider will guide you in customising and setting up your digital workplace to meet your requirements. While every setup is different, Deloitte Canada has outlined a general four-step framework to help businesses understand their digital workplace and identify opportunities for improvement.
1. Use: collaborate, communicate, connect
Consider how digital processes will help you and your team to interact with each other and with others outside of your business. These processes may support your existing infrastructure and preferred ways of working or they may require a change to your underlying business culture and practices.
2. Technology: the digital toolbox
Each tool in your digital toolbox needs to be carefully selected for its relevance and benefits, based on what you need now and are likely to need in the future as your business grows. Keep in mind that new technologies may involve a learning curve or security risks that need to be taken into consideration.
3. Control: governance, risk and compliance
Any changes to your organisation must be made with care and appropriate controls, while also ensuring compliance with any policies and regulations in your industry. You should assign responsibility for who will create your digital strategy, produce user guidelines and take care of ongoing management.
4. Business drivers: measurable business value
Your digital strategy should be designed to give the maximum return for your investment, whether this is measurable benefits to bottom line revenue, productivity and solving challenges or less tangible benefits such as improved satisfaction and engagement.
Futureproofing your business today
2020 was a difficult year for many businesses that lacked the technology infrastructure and expertise to adapt to new ways of working at short notice. The upside of these hard lessons is that more businesses are now taking steps to protect themselves and their employees by investing in technologies that improve flexibility and overcome physical limitations.
Underpinned by a solid strategy and appropriate security, you can help to ensure that your business will be prepared for the next crisis.
For more advice about setting up and growing your online business, sign up to the Limecube newsletter below to get the latest digital marketing news and tips in your inbox.