Posted by Bojana Lazarevska on 21 Oct, 2019
The pace of digital transformation is showing no signs of slowing down, and workspaces are catching on to the new opportunities presented.
Digital workspaces have become much more commonplace in recent years as digital is fast becoming a critical component of successful businesses.
What is a Digital Workspace?
A digital workspace is one where technology has been integrated in the office – either in the physical building space or through software installed on employees’ devices – to improve the lives of workers and businesses.
This can be done in a number of ways. The most common includes allowing employees the option to access the systems and tools they need to do their jobs from any device, regardless of their location. The digital workspace, however, is becoming more than just a tool that enables remote work.
Technology is starting to unlock more possibilities to transform office buildings. These include technologies like apps, internet-of-things (IOT) devices, web, chatbots, wearables, and more. We have previously outlined five innovative ways businesses can integrate emerging technology to improve building spaces.
The Rising Popularity of Digital Workplaces
The recent Digital Workplace Market report stated that the digital workplace market is predicted to grow from USD 13.4 billion in 2018, to 35.7 billion by 2023. This significant increase is likely due to improved employee experience and productivity, and an enhanced digital culture (an environment shaped by the use of digital technologies) in the office space.
And yet, 60% of organisations, including large corporations, don’t have a digital workplace strategy in place. This means enterprises are not taking full advantage of emerging technologies and the benefits that they can provide. Here, we list the main benefits of incorporating digital technologies in the office, including:
Collaborative tools presented by new technology – such as video conferencing and messaging apps like Slack, and file-editing applications like Google Docs – allow teams to stay connected, and able to communicate and collaborate with others, even if they’re not in the office.
In Forbes’ The Impact of the Digital Workforce report, employees stated that collaborative tools were an essential part of their working day. They ranked editing and file-sharing, virtual meetings/collaboration, and project management apps as the most important in their day-to-day working lives.
Furthermore, the flexibility presented by technological solutions creates a more positive mindset among employees, as it presents a lifestyle that includes more work-life balance.
This in turn improves employee productivity; the happier workers are in their jobs, the more they’ll try to exceed expectations and invest effort on the tasks they are associated with. A meta-analysis of 339 independent studies, accumulated by Gallup, showed that higher employee wellbeing is associated with improved productivity and firm performance.
Smarter Data Analysis
Digital technology allows work places opportunities to collect more data, whether that’s gathering information about employees or the building itself.
Building owners can attain analytics on employee working conditions, which helps monitor morale. Technology that helps employers do this include automated feedback surveys sent through workplace team messaging platforms, which then provide enough data to gather statistical insights into employee satisfaction and engagement. These include tools such as OfficeVibe, which is designed to capture data from feedback that is anonymously submitted by employees, and then shared with HR and management departments.
How does this help business? Well, this Gallup Employee Engagement study shows that engaged employees are 21 percent more productive than those that aren’t, meaning company performance increases in return.
Other technology, such as building sensors, can also collect data on energy consumption, keeping the office green and saving on costs. Building owners can recognise where energy is not being consumed effectively and make necessary adjustments. This provides potential to reduce energy consumption by up to as much as 35 percent.
Using data gathered from these sensors removes the need to rely on guesswork and building owners can make informed decisions based on facts.
Improved Safety Features
A building security breach can be costly for businesses, and it can also increase stress and friction among employees who are worried about working in unsafe conditions.
Technology can provide safety features that go beyond what we can achieve with a simple lock and key system. Biometrics, for example, can increase security in buildings. Biometric security is a mechanism used to authenticate and provide access to a building or system based on verification of an individual’s physical characteristics. This is seen as secure because a person’s characteristics are unique and hard to steal.
A study by Grand View Research predicts that by 2025, the biometrics market will reach USD 59.31 billion. The most commonly used biometric techniques include fingerprints and facial recognition. These are physiological identifiers that aren’t affected by stress, like behavioural identifiers – such as voice or signature – are.
Fingerprint biometric recognition is widely used and has become commonplace in certain smartphones, such as the iPhone Touch ID feature. Biometric access means that building tenants don’t have to worry about forgetting their PIN numbers, or losing their keys. This provides peace of mind for both tenants and building owners.
Some schools, such as the international Montessori school, have embraced biometric fingerprint access to provide access only to authorised personnel during school hours. Locally, even all the way back in 2012, the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) reported that 30 percent of high schools in England were using biometric data for recording attendance, borrowing library books, or access to certain buildings.
Just like with every new implementation, however, there can be downsides. Some of the most common concerns include digital workplaces resulting in a loss of cohesiveness. If workers are logging in from different locations, there is the risk that teams can become more fragmented or lack team spirit. Social interactions help to create camaraderie, so a lack of face-to-face interaction may work toward creating a sense of distance and discourage effective team work.
These concerns can be easily managed, however, with the right team encouragement and motivation. If the teams are well organised, they should keep up communication regardless of where they are located.
A lack of workplace distractions (such as impromptu conversations), which are lessened through the use of digital apps, means that team members are able to focus more on the task at hand. Therefore, digital communication tools actually help in keeping employees on track.
The important thing is to find a balance for using technological tools to speed up processes, workplace flexibility, and spending time in the office.
There are several workspace benefits that smart technological solutions can provide, including improved employee satisfaction and productivity, increased security, and cost-saving opportunities. In today’s digital age, it’s important that buildings keep up with technological advancements.
The Future Platforms team has designed a business framework that can analyse your company’s digital service needs and show you how to implement them successfully. Book a free consultation with one of our team members today.
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