The idea of the Digital Workplace was first conceived decades ago when the internet was first introduced to the public. Upon being conceived, people thought that the digital workplace would replace the traditional office based workplaces in no time, but this has yet to happen. Although the use of digital tools within the workplace has opened up instantaneous global communication and collaboration capabilities, people still travel to offices when they go to work. The traditional office based workplace is still the norm, but some progressive companies are popping up that are opting to make use of the digital workplace instead.
The digital workplace leverages technology in order to make it possible for employees to adequately carry out their work anytime, anywhere. Companies are investing in creating tools for their employees that allow them to complete their tasks on laptops, tablets, and mobile devices. The reason for much of this investment is that there is a large shift in the technological savvy among the workforce. Most of the workforce now has grown up with technology so the knowledge that previously acted as a barrier to entry is no longer a factor. Having the most high-tech tools will also attract the most desirable candidates to fill open positions. Companies also look at the benefits in terms of productivity since their employees will have access to their work at all times.
This access raises an issue that companies are going to have to navigate with caution. It will be easy for companies to think that since their employees have access to their work at all times that the expectations for the amount of time they put towards work should be raised. This could prove to be a problem for companies when they work their employees harder and see a larger burnout rate. Companies are going to have to find the balance between overworking their employees and making good use of their new access capabilities. The new access caused by a transition to the digital workplace will cause managers to manage their teams differently. A weekly or daily task based approach might work for some companies since it allows employees to fit their work around their lives while still adhering to deadlines. This approach would also give employees the ability to work best based on when they know they are most productive-say one employee is a morning person and they other is a night owl, the time of day they choose to do their work would be based on that.
It remains to be seen if a digital workplace yields more productivity than the traditional office based workplaces. One thing that the digital workplace definitely yields is a better experience for employees because of the comfort of working from anywhere, the ability to choose when to work, and lastly and most importantly the ability to live life without the typical 8 hour block of time designated for work. This overall better experience will cause employees to be happier when “at work” which does actually cause them to be more productive. If the digital workplace is shown to create more productive employees, then its adoption among companies will surely hasten.