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Optimize Your Digital Workplace for Future Work

How to Optimize Your Digital Workplace for the Future of Work The COVID-19 pandemic dramatically accelerated digital transformation and remote work over the past few […]

How to Optimize Your Digital Workplace for the Future of Work

The COVID-19 pandemic dramatically accelerated digital transformation and remote work over the past few years. While some initially saw these changes as temporary fixes, data clearly shows that many are here to stay for the long haul. This article takes an in-depth look at the most important emerging digital workplace trends and explores how organizations can optimize their digital strategies to prepare for the evolving future of work.

Optimize Your Digital Workplace for Future Work

Optimize Your Digital Workplace for Future Work

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Use Cloud Computing to Enable Workplace Agility

The pandemic forced many companies to rapidly shift to remote operations. According to Gallup's State of the Global Workplace report, 48% of employees are now working remotely at least part of the time, up from just 9% in 2019. With distributed teams becoming the norm, cloud computing platforms are essential to enabling workplace agility, productivity, and collaboration regardless of employee location.

Popular cloud services like Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), and Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) empower organizations to:

  • Support seamless collaboration through cloud-based productivity apps, video conferencing tools, and more
  • Provide secure 24/7 access to critical data, workflows, and business applications
  • Rapidly scale computing resources up or down to meet changing needs

According to a McKinsey survey of executives, companies that strategically adopt cloud technologies grow revenue over twice as fast compared to competitors and achieve profit margins up to 20% higher. Migrating legacy systems and processes to the cloud is no longer optional - it is an essential step for building an agile, future-ready digital workplace.

Cloud Implementation Best Practices

When transitioning to the cloud, keep these best practices in mind:

  • Take inventory of all existing apps, services, systems and map dependencies
  • Prioritize migration based on business criticality and resources required
  • Validate security, compliance, and access control policies before deployment
  • Provide training and support to help employees adopt new cloud tools
  • Start with a pilot to test effectiveness before organization-wide rollout
  • Monitor performance metrics and user feedback post-implementation
  • Continuously optimize architecture and workflows based on data and learnings

Connect Distributed Teams with Collaboration Software

With employees spread across locations, effective collaboration is more critical than ever for keeping teams engaged, aligned, and performing at their best. Modern digital workplace strategies leverage powerful collaboration software to enable:

  • Seamless video conferences, screen sharing, and messaging
  • Real-time document co-authoring and file sharing
  • Streamlined task and project management
  • Persistent chat channels, groups, and knowledge bases

Look for a comprehensive, integrated platform like Google Workspace or Microsoft 365 to provide a hub for team communication, collaboration, and productivity. Slack, Asana, Wrike and other tools can then supplement with capabilities like workflow automation.

Proper implementation empowers distributed employees to collaborate and work productively from anywhere while strengthening company culture. Be sure to provide training and workshops (both live and self-paced online) to drive user adoption.

Collaboration Software Implementation Tips

Follow these best practices when rolling out new collaboration software:

  • Survey employees first to understand needs and preferences
  • Start with a limited pilot group to gather feedback before expanding access
  • Seed content like templates, playbooks, and design assets to spur adoption
  • Identify power users to provide training and mentorship to peers
  • Monitor platform analytics to identify adoption gaps and opportunities
  • Develop governance for access controls, security policies, retention rules
  • Continuously optimize and refine based on real-world usage data

Offer Workplace Flexibility to Boost Productivity

Study after study shows that employees with increased schedule flexibility are significantly more engaged, satisfied, and productive in their roles. Consider policies like:

  • Hybrid remote/in-office work options
  • Flexible working hours based on individual needs
  • Unlimited PTO or minimum vacation time requirements
  • Occasional "mental health days" or "focus Fridays"
  • Remote work stipends to offset home office costs

Per a 2021 Accenture survey, 83% of workers prefer increased workplace flexibility compared to pre-pandemic norms. Organizations that embrace flexibility will be rewarded with a more motivated, productive workforce. It also supports better work-life balance and mental health.

Implementing Flexible Work Policies

When transitioning to a more flexible workplace, be sure to:

  • Be transparent about policy changes and gather employee feedback
  • Train managers on supporting and leading remote teams
  • Establish core hours for meetings and aligning schedules
  • Monitor employee sentiment and engagement levels
  • Refine policies based on data trends and feedback
  • Maintain open channels for employees to voice concerns
  • Document policies and have employees acknowledge them
  • Lead by example - managers should champion flexibility

Leverage BYOD to Improve Employee Experience

With the proper security policies and controls in place, organizations can consider implementing bring-your-own-device (BYOD) programs to provide employees more technology flexibility. Potential benefits include:

  • Increased convenience and productivity by using familiar personal devices
  • Reduced hardware costs by limiting corporate device purchases
  • Seamless experience across personal and work applications
  • Better employee experience and satisfaction through BYOD freedoms

According to a Forbes study, employees with BYOD flexibility are an average of 43% more productive than their peers. Enabling personal devices enhances experience while optimizing hardware budgets.

Implementing Secure BYOD Programs

If implementing a BYOD program, be sure to establish strong security policies including:

  • Multifactor authentication for access to corporate apps and data
  • Data encryption, especially for sensitive information
  • Mobile device management (MDM) to configure and lock down devices
  • Acceptable use policies outlining employee responsibilities
  • Limiting access rights based on user profiles and job functions
  • Regular cybersecurity training around handling corporate data

Proper precautions allow organizations to enable BYOD without compromising security or compliance.

Optimize Processes Through Hyperautomation

One of the top digital workplace trends is hyperautomation - the combination of technologies like robotic process automation (RPA), artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), and more to rapidly automate manual, repetitive tasks across the business.

Driving hyperautomation provides numerous benefits including:

  • Increased efficiency by eliminating repetitive administrative work
  • Improved agility by significantly streamlining processes
  • Higher accuracy and consistency by reducing human errors
  • Cost savings from automating labor-intensive activities

Per Gartner, hyperautomation enables companies to digitally transform their operations at scale, driving tangible ROI. It should be a core part of any future workplace strategy.

Hyperautomation Best Practices

Follow these tips for successful automation initiatives:

  • Identify processes ripe for automation through waste analysis
  • Calculate potential ROI and set measurable targets pre-implementation
  • Start with contained pilot projects to demonstrate value before expanding
  • Layer AI/ML to augment automation with intelligence over time
  • Develop governance models to manage bots enterprise-wide
  • Continuously monitor and optimize automated workflows
  • Reskill employees to focus on higher judgment and creative work

Support Dynamic Teams with DaaS

Many modern organizations leverage dynamic, distributed teams like contractors, seasonal hires, and external business partners. For these users, desktop-as-a-service (DaaS) solutions provide secure, managed remote desktop access. Key benefits of DaaS include:

  • Improved security over BYOD with controlled access
  • Simple scalability to instantly add or remove users
  • Reduced endpoint hardware costs by eliminating physical devices
  • Quick onboarding and offboarding to align with project timelines
  • Consistent experience across devices and locations

By streamlining provisioning of apps, data, and tools, DaaS optimizes the digital experience for non-traditional workers. Leading platforms like Microsoft Windows 365 take advantage of cloud scale and intelligence.

Implementing DaaS

Follow these leading practices when deploying DaaS:

  • Integrate DaaS platform with existing identity provider for access controls
  • Customize virtual desktop configurations based on user profiles
  • Provide self-service portals for dynamic worker onboarding/offboarding
  • Monitor usage analytics to right-size resources and licensing
  • Establish strong data policies for security and compliance
  • Train help desk staff to support remote users
  • Gather feedback from users to continuously improve experience

Prioritize Security Awareness Training

Despite investments in security software and tools, human behavior remains a major vulnerability - according to IBM, 95% of successful cyberattacks have some kind of human error involved. Ongoing security awareness education is critical for empowering users to:

  • Identify sophisticated phishing and social engineering schemes
  • Create strong passwords and properly manage credentials
  • Spot unusual activity that may indicate malware or breaches
  • Follow protocols around sensitive data usage, storage and sharing
  • Use collaboration tools, email and internet responsibly

According to research by Proofpoint, trained employees are over 4 times less likely to click on malicious links or fall victim to phishing scams. User education must be a top priority to strengthen human defenses against modern cyberthreats.

Developing Effective Security Awareness Training

Follow these strategies to maximize the impact of your security awareness program:

  • Keep training content engaging with real-world examples, quizzes and rewards
  • Deliver ongoing microlearning modules instead of just annual training
  • Tailor training content based on user profiles and risk levels
  • Gamify programs and tap into human competitiveness to boost participation
  • Combine computer-based modules with live sessions for deeper interaction
  • Track detailed metrics to identify knowledge gaps and refine approach

Key Takeaways

The digital workplace continues to evolve at a rapid pace. To prepare for the future of work, organizations should look to:

Digital Workplace Trend Key Benefits
Adopting cloud platforms Enables workplace agility, collaboration and business scale
Improving collaboration tools Connects distributed teams and drives alignment
Supporting workplace flexibility Boosts productivity, satisfaction, work-life balance
Enabling BYOD options Improves experience and reduces costs
Driving hyperautomation Increases efficiency, agility and accuracy
Leveraging DaaS Supports dynamic teams and simplifies management
Prioritizing security training Strengthens human defenses against threats

By proactively embracing these digital workplace best practices and trends, organizations can enable greater productivity, agility, experience, and security as business needs continue to evolve in the years ahead. The future will reward those who take steps today to optimize their strategies and tech stacks for what lies ahead.


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