Creating digital workspaces – the impact on internal communications

We all know that the pandemic has changed how we work and collaborate. Over the past two years, we have had to adjust rapidly to working in a digital environment connect, engage and support our co-workers. As a disruptor, COVID has seen us accelerate our technology use; what we had anticipated using in 10 years, we are using now in the ‘new’ hybrid working environment.

Research from around the globe on the hybrid working environment shows us that :

  • 20% of the Australian workforce feel engaged at work (Gallup)
  • 34% report feeling burned out by their work (APS employee census)
  • 44% of Australian ‘flexible location workers’ prefer hybrid working (Deloitte)
  • 15% increase in engagement in modernised workplaces (Microsoft)

What the research uncovers is that if we want to engage our staff, we need to allow them to work in a way that suits them.

Employee experience shapes a workplace environment that in turn amplifies the potential of its people, overall optimising their positive impact on customers’ experience and organisational outcomes.

Through better connected, personalised, digital workspaces, we can greatly improve employee experience. This sees us saying ‘good-bye’ to the intranet and hello to collaboration.

When developing digital workspaces, we need to be considering our experience outside of work. Social media and Google have built a personalised culture in how we receive and send information in our social environment. This experience of targeted and tailored information and connection is now infiltrating our work environment.

Staff want to be connected, and the digital workspace can help them find and connect with the right people more efficiently. So too do staff want information that they need to do their jobs. Digital workspaces can pave the way for having access to information that is relevant to their job, and share it with those that most need it.

An issue that needs highlighting is how we govern content and make sure staff have the most current and relevant information. Unlike the good old intranet, the newer digital workspaces have the capacity to achieve this.

However, we don’t need a new or bespoke product, Digital workspaces can be built using existing tools, which are then customised to the experience of individual employees.

So, how do you get started? A couple of key points to make to influence your workplace to become more digital:

  • Start with smaller projects that will take weeks or months, not years, to build. Use them to demonstrate the value of the change.
  • Build in phases towards bigger improvements.
  • Look for low-cost, high-impact initiatives. Get the small things right, get funding for the first few stages, and then revaluate.
  • Grasp the moment of our external changes (like the pandemic!).

A lot of the features that we have always wanted as employees are already available and being used, such as:

  • Tools and information that we need to do our job
  • Chat tools so we can quickly connect with colleagues
  • Making things easier to do, simplifying processes and access
  • Creating belonging, making staff feel more connected to the organisation.

To wrap up, once upon a time we had intranets where we wanted employees to come to the information. Now we have digital workspaces where we take the information to the people that need it.

By Justine O’Brien SCMP & Melanie Gibbons


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