10 Benefits of digital workplace solutions

eXo Platform Blog

Digital workplace solutions have become a must have tool for many businesses over the last couple of years. Teams looking to deal with challenges that revolve around communications, collaboration, productivity, among others, often face two main choices: (1)  implement a host of standalone collaborative tools and applications that deal with each specific case separately, or (2) deploy a holistic digital workplace with built-in collaborative add-ons that can also unify any tools that are already in place.

Although the choice depends entirely on unique business and team needs as well as the existing IT infrastructure, IT buyers and decision makers agree that digital workplace solutions are important. In fact, according to a research study conducted by CMSWire, 95% of  respondents believe that a digital workplace is an important pillar of their digital transformation strategies. But what makes these solutions so appealing to businesses?

In this blog post we will make the case for digital workplace solutions and walk through the various benefits of digital workplace they bring to your business.

 

  1. Create a robust corporate culture

The very essence of a successful business is a robust corporate culture. We often hear this term thrown around a lot when companies want to showcase their brands and offerings and appeal to potential clients and job candidates. But what do we mean by corporate culture exactly? And how a digital workplace can help create or convey it?

In its simplest form, think of a corporate culture as the identity or personality of a given business. It represents the shared vision, purpose and values that define the overall working environment and how – and more importantly why – operations are conducted in a specific way.

In an article published on HBR, John Coleman went through the six components of a successful corporate culture which are: Vision, values, practices, people (obviously), narrative and place.

Examining each component individually, we can quickly understand that a corporate culture mainly revolves around people.

As any CEO, HR or Communications specialist will tell you, establishing a vision (what we want to achieve), values (what we stand for) and practices (how to achieve our vision and put our values into practice) are all aimed at shaping employees’ behaviours and creating the perfect working environment. However, if the first three components are poorly communicated, then employees won’t know what, how and why they do things in their company.

This is when a digital workplace comes into play. In order to properly convey the company’s narrative and create a transparent working environment, businesses need a central hub that can act as the place from which employees can get the latest corporate information, stay updated on the latest news and simply feel part of the company.

The most essential digital workplace feature that can help you effectively convey the company culture and perfect the art of corporate storytelling is “News”. With a built-in “News” feature, your HR and communications specialists will have a medium through which they can easily create, post and share news within specific communities or the entire company. The news article can later be liked, commented on and/or shared by employees thus giving them a direct communications line to voice their opinions and participate in various company wide topics and discussions.

Another digital workplace feature that can help deliver the company policies and practices are wikis. Specifically designed to act as a rich knowledge base or a point of reference to employees, wikis allow employees to easily access a variety of content specific to the company as a whole (such as policies and procedures) or teams (roles, responsibilities etc).

  1. Eliminate communication silos

Disconnected teams and communications silos are among the most recurrent challenges facing businesses and for a good reason. The impact of poor communication in the workplace can be devastating to the team dynamics and eventually the performance of the entire organization.

Additionally, the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic made matters even more challenging. With remote working becoming the norm for many, the potential for communication silos have become even greater especially for businesses who lack the tools and policies to deal with such crises.

Digital workplace solutions have been among the tools that many businesses adopted to deal with communication issues in the workplace. Whether through native messaging or video conferencing functionalities or an integration with third party communications platforms, digital workplace solutions act as the central communication hub within which employees can communicate in real-time and hold meetings whenever and wherever they are and from any device. This obviously helps businesses maintain their operations away from the office and ensure their workforce is constantly connected.

  1. Enhance the onboarding process

Effectively onboarding employees is key to help them understand their roles, know their peers and get off to a good start. It is also the first step towards ensuring their short and long term engagement and avoiding any voluntary turnover.

According to an Equifax study, 40% of employees leave their jobs within the first month, with a further 10% leaving during the first year. These findings show the importance of a clear and tailored onboarding process and digital workplace solutions might be your best bet to get this right.

Through their social and collaborative nature, digital workplace solutions provide new hires (whether those who work in the office and especially those who work remotely) with detailed steps to follow in order to familiarize themselves with the platform and their surroundings.

Within the people directory, for example, a new hiree can search and connect with his/her peers and get to know who is doing what in the company.

The spaces directory, on the other hand, is where a new hiree can access and join spaces designed for teams, corporate news, communities etc. Examples of spaces include a corporate newsroom, where employees are provided with the latest news, activities and events. For a newcomer, being a member of such spaces is extremely important in order  to integrate the culture and learn more about the company as a whole.

Wikis and dedicated training spaces are also digital workplace features that can assist employees to have a better understanding of company policies, learn their roles and responsibilities and access training materials.

  1. Boost productivity and performance

Enabling teams to collaborate effectively is among the most common use cases of a typical digital workplace solution.

More often than not, teams that witness a lack of collaboration and eventually productivity issues tend to implement a variety of specialised solutions to rectify the situation.

However, as many studies have found, deploying too many solutions to deal with the same problem often backfires. According to RingCentral, an average worker uses approximately four apps to communicate in the workplace, with a further 20% using six or more. This will eventually amount to 32 working days and billions of dollars in lost productivity. But you may ask why?

Well, the simple answer lays in data or ,more precisely, the time to access it. If an employee has a tool for instant messaging, another for video conferencing, an additional one for project management and the list goes on, then the time spent toggling between these apps will get higher thus lowering the time spent on productive tasks. Additionally, having multiple data sources might increase the likelihood of data loss and duplicated knowledge.

To prevent these issues and effectively foster collaboration in the workplace, businesses have started to lean towards digital workplace solutions for two important reasons.

First, a modern digital workplace often comes equipped with a multitude of built-in applications that generally cover the whole collaborative scope from instant communications and video conferencing all the way to project and document management, shared calendars etc.

Second, depending on the collaborative and productivity tools that are already in place, digital workplace solutions can be thought of as the added communication and social layer that integrate all these apps together through APIs. For example, upon logging in, users can have a snapshot of the different apps they use within a tailored dashboard in their digital workplace homepage. This way they can have direct access to critical information and they won’t have to access every single third party application separately to get what they need.

  1. Centralize access to business apps

As mentioned above, having too many separate apps in the workplace may lead to more harm than good in the long run.

Among the most important benefits of digital workplace solutions bring is their  ability to centralize and unify different apps in one single location.

An applications center or library is the place where regular end users can search, locate and access the different tools they need to communicate, collaborate and perform different tasks.

Platform administrators, on the other hand, can have greater control over the creation and management of these applications through advanced visibility and permissions settings.

This way, booth end users and platform admins would have a convenient tool at their disposal to quickly and efficiently integrate the many tools they use on a daily basis.

  1. Increase revenue while reducing IT and operational costs

The decision to deploy enterprise software in general and digital workplace solutions in particular is often driven by the need to increase productivity and performance thus the bottom line.

The key aspect when taking such decisions is to put in place a series of KPIs that will help you predict the return on investment (ROI) of the digital workplace and the potential revenue growth. Examples of such metrics include adoption, engagement and retention rates, potential operational and IT costs savings, customer satisfaction scores, etc.

For example, deploying a cloud based digital workplace instead of a series of separate apps and platforms may help you reduce software license fees as well as improve overall productivity (as employees will have more time for their productive tasks).

Another potential for revenue growth lays in the type of hosting: whether cloud or on-premise. Hosting on the cloud can help businesses significantly reduce IT costs related to maintenance and upgrades. Although, it is worth noting that on-premise deployment has its fair share of advantages but it comes with IT cost and expertise.

Last but not least, a digital workplace that effectively engages employees is ideal to build long lasting relationships and eliminate the costs associated with disengaged employees and a high turnover.

  1. Facilitate knowledge sharing and the exchange of expertise

One important pillar of a modern digital workplace is knowledge management. Briefly, we refer to knowledge management in general as the process of acquiring, storing and sharing different types of information from multiple sources and making it readily available to exploit and evolve in a simple way.

Digital workplace solutions that come with native knowledge management systems can bring a host of benefits to teams and businesses including but not limited to: increased productivity, effective onboarding and continuous learning & development, reduced duplicated knowledge, improved customer service and support etc.

For a knowledge management system to be effective, it has to combine collaborative and social dimensions, focus on usability and findability and be fully integrated with other digital workplace components. Users need to be provided with a string search engine that will assist them with finding what they are looking for in a quick and timely manner.

  1. Facilitate remote working

Long before the global spread of Covid-19, remote working started to make its way to many businesses regardless of their size or industry. The trend took hold and slowly became the new reality for many in the last year or so. As a result, even the most skeptical of businesses didn’t have a choice but to embrace remote working and make it part of their daily working habits.

The demand for Instant messaging, video conferencing platforms and of course digital workplace solutions has been on the rise lately as teams wanted to find new ways to get together, collaborate and hold meetings.

With data stored mainly on the cloud and easily and securely accessed from any device, employees can maintain their productivity levels away from the office. At the end of the day, all you need as a typical office employee is your laptop/mobile device and instant connectivity to your apps which the majority of digital workplace solutions provide nowadays.

In addition to maintaining productivity, providing the adequate tools for remote working also significantly improves engagement rates and helps you attract and retain highly talented individuals. Both millennials and Gen Z who already make the majority of the modern workplace stated that they favour companies with flexible working arrangements in place.

  1. Engage and reward teams

It is fair to say that employee disengagement is a global challenge. According to Gallup’s State of the Global Workplace report, 85% of employees worldwide are not engaged in their jobs. This strategring statistic reveals that businesses are failing to understand their employees needs and acting accordingly.

There are multiple reasons for employee disengagement. Probably the most obvious is the lack of communication and the limited flow of information between employees and their company as a whole. A misinformed workforce wouldn’t have a clear understanding of what it means to work for a given company, what is expected from them and especially how to perform their jobs.

Another reason is the lack of constant feedback and recognition from managers. In fact, employees who received frequent feedback from their management reported higher levels of engagement whether while working from the office or remotely. A Gallup report found that 63% of employees who work remotely most of the time were engaged when managers often communicate and hold regular meetings with them.

So how does a digital workplace help in putting the best practices for employee engagement and rewards?

First, within a digital workplace, information whether shared by regular employees or the C-suite is visible for everyone within the company. With the addition of social features, the information can travel faster to reach more employees which obviously is a better alternative for traditional communication tools such as email newsletters for example.

In terms of employee recognition and rewards. Some modern digital workplace solutions contain and/or integrate with recognition and gamification systems. First, The objective of a tailored recognition system is to allow users to publicly praise and recognize their peers’ work through customized kudos and thank you messages.

On the other hand, a gamification system fully integrates with various digital workplace components and even external applications to reward users for their contributions. For example, posting an article, creating tasks or simply liking a post can result in gamification points. Based on their points tally, users will be provided with badges and classified into leaderboards. This is aThis a clever way to encourage employees to contribute more often and provide the basis of a healthy competition within the workplace.

  1. Turn employees into brand ambassadors

Transforming employees into brand ambassadors is a process that requires the involvement of multiple teams such as HR and internal communications. These different parties are responsible to put in place the right tools and techniques that will drive employees to speak positively on behalf of the company.

As mentioned in the first section of this article, a digital workplace can help to build a strong corporate culture and community which is the backbone to win over your employees, establish trust and create a transparent environment. All are essential ingredients to provide a positive working experience that will later be translated into voluntary advocacy.

Additionally, to better communicate with your workforce and establish tailored employee advocacy programs, it is important to have a digital workplace that help in analyzing internal usage behaviour (such as engagement rates, top users, etc)  and classify employees based on the content they are most likely to resonate with and share.

Digital Workplace Types

 

What is a digital workplace?

A digital workplace is a next generation of intranet solutions or intranet 2.0 that is based on three pillars: communication, collaboration and information. In a way this definition is true but it doesn’t cover the whole spectrum of the term.
Here are some definitions of digital workplace:

  • An evolution of the intranet
  • A user centric digital experience

See the full definition of digital workplace


What are the digital workplace benefits?

Here are some of the benefits of digital workplace solutions:

  • 1. Create a robust corporate culture
  • 2. Eliminate communication silos
  • 3. Enhance the onboarding process
  • 4. Boost productivity and performance
  • 5. Centralize access to business apps
  • 6. Increase revenue while reducing IT and operational costs
  • 7. Facilitate knowledge sharing and the exchange of expertise
  • 8. Facilitate remote working
  • 9. Engage and reward teams
  • 10. Turn employees into brand ambassadors

Find out 10 Benefits of digital workplace solutions


What are the common digital workplace challenges?

Here are 5 Challenges to a Digital Workplace and How to Overcome Them:

  • Challenge #1: Develop a digital workplace governance model
  • Challenge #2: Manage change
  • Challenge #3: Low adoption rates
  • Challenge #4: Find the perfect balance between UX and UI
  • Challenge #5: A drop off in engagement over time

Find out Top 5 Digital Workplace Challenges


How do you secure your Digital Workplace?

Here are some best practices to minimise security threats in digital workplaces:

  1. Develop a cybersecurity policy
  2. Continuous training
  3. Control access to information
  4. Be sure to update regularly

Find out how to secure your Digital Workplace

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Product Marketing Specialist

I am a product marketing specialist at eXo. My role is to assist marketing and sales teams in their operations and present our digital workplace solution to the world. I mainly blog about the latest tech trends, digital transformation, internal communication and how to navigate through eXo Platform.

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