6 Vital Technologies for the Digital Workplace
According to Deloitte, the digital workplace encompasses all the technologies people use to get work done today. That can range from HR tools and core business applications to email, instant messaging, enterprise social media platforms and virtual meeting tools.
Fueled by new technologies and trends, the workplace is continuously changing and information technology's proliferation has changed how employees connect, collaborate and communicate.
Today, new technologies are emerging and becoming cornerstones of the digital workplace. But the pace of innovation can be difficult to follow. To understand the digital workplace, we've asked experts to name the most vital digital workplace technologies. Here are their answers:
The vital role of written communication in the digital workplace showed during 2020 when a large segment of the workforce had to retool itself to work remotely. Good communication reduced the risk of problems and decreased uncertainty by establishing detailed guidance.
But remote work comes with communication challenges. Relying on jargon or shorter messages can get misinterpreted when you're unable to rely on facial expressions and other subtle cues for context, for example. However, it is possible to circumvent these issues by adopting asynchronous methods of communication.
"At my company, we have adopted an asynchronous way of working and don't expect employees to work at certain hours or respond to messages immediately," said Jay Prassl, CEO at Boulder, Colo.-based Automox, a cybersecurity firm. "Communicating updates, next steps and progress on certain projects clearly via email or Slack allow remote teams to be more productive and efficient during their own hours."
Humans are social creatures and even though some people say that voice is enough for them, video meetings help establish and maintain stronger relationships when in-person meeting are limited or eliminated completely. Face-to-face communication, even if it's virtual, can be more collaborative, effective and efficient than group texting or regular group calls.
Video has an important role to play in company culture and employee engagement, said Prassl.
"Employees should turn their videos on whenever possible and for medium-size and larger companies, they should also have their name and position on their Zoom screen, so other meeting participants know who they are talking to," he said. "Without video meetings, it's difficult to engage team members and build an inclusive and positive culture and work environment."
Content Management System
A robust content management system, or CMS, gives workers the ability to stay afloat in the ocean of information in the digital workplace. A CMS can make workers more productive and efficient, providing access to all the material employees require on one platform, with instant messaging, data analytics, file and media content storage, organization and structuring of employee roles, and security built in.
Implemented right, a CMS:
- Helps workers understand what information is essential to their work and that of their co-workers.
- Centralizes all the information and digital experiences that are being used by internal team members and external stakeholders and customers.
- Gives workers a view of the goals the content strategy is supposed to drive.
- Helps employees know what clients and other stakeholders ask about, the answers they need to have ready and how to use the information to get what they need.
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Social Media Scheduling Tools
For some segments of the workforce, such as marketing and communications teams, the quick pace of messaging makes scheduling tools a vital component for digital workplaces. Scheduling gives workers the freedom to prepare a set of posts beforehand and set a delivery time and date. Social media scheduling facilitates asynchronous communication and increases efficiency.
Using a tool like Hootsuite or Buffer can simplify the process by which a team posts across many different properties, which ensures a company's social presence is always up to date without needing to submit content to each different platform every time there's a new post.
Modern businesses have a massive number of important documents. Contracts, business licenses, certifications, compliance regulations, HR files, accounting records and all sorts of documentation have to be kept on file and accessible.
"Without a management system, sifting through these documents for something specific would be incredibly difficult," said Pieter Vanlperen, managing partner at New York City-based PWV Consultants. "A document management system keeps this information organized and easily accessible for those who need it."
A solid document management system is key to keeping business moving, and ensuring all employees are able to access the documentation they need when they need it is vital.
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Digital workplaces face numerous challenges around protecting their data and information, so cybersecurity and good cyber-hygiene is a must for organizations to thrive in the digital ecosystem. As endpoints shift to a remote and distributed architecture, patching and endpoint hardening are often impacted. This will cause patching gaps and make the digital workforce more vulnerable to attacks.
Jacob Ansari, chief information security officer at Schellman & Company, a Tampa, Fla.-based compliance specialist, said the vital cybersecurity practices that companies need to have in place are:
- Secure remote access with strong multi-factor authentication (i.e., TOTP or NFC device and not SMS).
- Secure file storage and collaboration tools with clear data retention and disposal parameters.
- Endpoint protection with useful visibility and control.
- Clear cut messaging on appropriate security strategies for remote work.