The Modern Workplace changes how employers and employees see their workspace. Technology opens a new world of options for a productive and enjoyable environment.
In the past 20 years, how we work with others at work has dramatically changed. I would argue that the rapid advances of technology in our personal, private lives has inspired this change.
At home, we tend to share our experiences, and upload content and news to social channels. We collectively experience things and trade our likes and comments freely.
We do these things almost effortlessly – regardless of where we are in the world and what time of the day it is.
This effortless communication at home has given rise to employees’ clamor for like tools at work. In some cases, employees’ needs are met – with cross-over products like Box and DropBox.
Although organizations may tacitly support the use of these products, with many other products, there is serious concern tied to risk, exposure and information protection.
The good news is within the last five years, the gap between personal tools and enterprise products has narrowed. Digital workplace technologies now look, feel and function like those used at home.
All the while, these tools have become more secure and provide ample information protection and risk mitigation.
This new set of products and tools and the space employees use them is coined the ‘modern workplace.’ That is, the modern workplace takes advantage of enhanced communication and collaboration tools, helping employees work better together.
What is a Modern Workplace Again?
A modern workplace is a space where employees can more effectively communicate and collaborate, and do so through secure, integrated, cloud-based and mobile friendly tools.
This space often helps reduce issues in finding information and people, while encouraging knowledge sharing and bridging the divide between generational differences of ‘doing work.’
A modern workplace does not exist solely by technology implementation, however. Although technology is critical to supporting the space, there are additional characteristics to the workplace that require consideration.
The Six Characteristics of a Modern Workplace
Building a modern workplace for your employees requires measured, planned steps.
Although the outcome is unique to your organization, we’ve observed arriving there is a journey, with maturity waypoints along the way.
When you reach your destination, you’ll find that a mature modern workplace has six key characteristics:
- Seamless: I can connect with anyone in my company and collaborate with them across any of my devices. For my work, I can also access the tools I need to do my job from any one of my secure devices.
- Interconnected: My team, group, division is no longer a silo. In a modern workplace, I’m able to easily communicate and collaborate across my organization.
- Always on: At home, I can access the information I need anytime I need it. In some organizations the same is true for employees, requiring best practices on how to be on/offline.
- Flexible: I don’t need to be in a physical office – instead I can work from any internet-enabled area with sufficient bandwidth.
- Enabling: I benefit from advanced algorithms to help me find information as well as bring information to me that is useful in my day-to-day job.
- Safe: My information is secure, and my workspace allows me to securely work with and for my clients through a combination of people, process and technology configurations.
How Does my Organization get Started?
Technology platforms like Microsoft 365 and Office 365 can catalyze creating and building a modern workplace.
But deploying a platform only helps you take the first step or two. Consider a few other critical considerations you need as you get started:
- A modern workplace is not an IT initiative. A modern workplace is an organization model supported by IT and many other functions. Your organization’s leaders must be committed to the change and willing to lead by example.
- Think about the resources and skills needed at the various workspace stages. For example, you will have project needs as you deploy or modernize a technology and then “business as usual needs” to support your team and optimize your investments. Establish a workplace Center of Excellence (COE) team of champions with representation from various stakeholders for maximum support.
Include change management. In our ebook, “Go Beyond Email with Office 365: How to Drive Adoption of a Collaborative Digital Workplace,” we explain how to drive adoption of Office 365 by implementing a change management strategy.
If you’re still not sure how to create your organization’s modern workplace, consider bringing in an expert that understands how to help employees work better together.