Monday, 18 February 2013

The Digital Workplace and Intranets workshop

Work is something you do...not a place you go to”
(Mark Morrell)

Today's post relates to 'The Digital Workplace and Intranets' workshop that I attended last Saturday 16th February, organised by The PR Academy and led by Intranet Pioneer Mark Morrell.

The session covered the impact of the digital workplace on employee engagement and it was a great opportunity to explore the latest thinking on the topic from an expert in the field.

Below are my marginalia, some of the notes that I wrote down during the workshop plus additional information extracted from the material that Mark Morrell himself gave participants on that day.

“What is a digital workplace?
  • Work from any location or while mobile
  • Same or similar online experience (make sure people get a consistent experience)
  • Collaborate, search, complete tasks, news
  • Choose what tools to use that help you (you need to justify their effectiveness to work)
  • Measure the benefits and encourage usage (you want encourage people to use it)

How do you implement it?

  • Align to other strategies ( overall business strategies, communications strategies, IT strategies, HR strategies)
  • Digital Workplace is wider than intranet
  • Plan for short, medium and long term
  • Who is the biggest influence? (these people need to be involved)
  • Who is affected?
  • Who will create, support and implement it?

Engage with senior managers (Steering group)

Senior managers need to endorse and buy-in to your strategy; commit time and efforts; be at the decision making level and represent the key functions of your organisation that are the first priority and/or the biggest factor in whether it succeeds or fail.

To get the authority of the steering group, they need to understand what your strategy can do to help and make a difference. In that respect, showing evidence of success is important for any business proposition to senior managers

Connect with everyone
  • Comfortable with Digital Workplace (people need to be happy with using Digital Workplace tools)
  • Adopt and benefits from new ways of workings
  • Digital Workplace is seen as good and people want it (people should not be left out but feel the benefits of something that is there for them)
  • The culture is strong on 'doing things online'
  • Easy to collaborate and share knowledge
  • Everyone is encouraged to use digital workplace
Digital Workplace must suit your organisation and culture.

  • Maximise the benefits and minimise the risks (balancing out the priorities: What is good? What is taking too much?)
  • Steering group to lead
  • Set roles and responsibilities (it is a combination of people and roles)
  • Integrated – not separate – from how wok is done (what you do as work and what you do in DW are related)
  • Publishing standards which are consistent and appropriate
  • Confidence with the digital workplace's integrity

Policies that engage
  • Engage with and support people to change how they work
  • Balance risk with rewards of engaging and sharing knowledge
  • Encourage ideas to improve the business and reward success
  • Build a more informal, less hierarchical, structure
  • Manage so people feel they can approach any person for help or offer advice
  • Criticism of policies and decision is taken seriously and positively
  • Trust people to behave online responsibly and sensibly

Policies that incentivise
  • Recognise and reward shift to digital workplace
  • Incentivise knowledge sharing using online tools
  • Performance framework rewards outputs not time
  • Pay for furniture, phone and broadband at home
  • Train managers on how to manage people remotely
  • Flexible working hours

  • People should be confident that DW is there whenever they need to
  • Provide laptops, smartphones, broadband and tablets to homeworkers (it is important to provide people with what they need to work effectively)
  • Available 24/7, 365 days
  • It must be fast (always)
  • BYOD (Bring your own device: people like to use their own device)

There are some challenges to be considered when talking about DW (e.g. security risks; barriers to investment relating to organisational culture and technology infrastructure).

However, there seem to be huge opportunities and benefits such as:
  • reaching and communicating with more remote staff
  • better use of time
  • more productivity
  • lower absenteeism (fewer people are sick, people feel better about life)
  • people turnover (e.g. if you allow flexible work people are more likely to stay in a job and knowledge can be kept in your organisation)
  • business continuity
  • environmental (e.g. saving fuel and travel costs, reduced property costs)
  • employee engagement: engage people in your organisation, encourage better collaboration, improve the culture, adapt to changing ways of working, make an impact on the bottom line.”

I find it so vast, challenging and fascinating the topic of digital workplace, the way we have been experiencing our digital working life, working relationships and engagement at work.