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Top 10 Digital Workplace Stories of 2020

December 22, 2020 Digital Workplace
Mike Prokopeak
By Mike Prokopeak
It’s been quite the year in digital working. We started 2020 with momentum as companies continued to invest in the tools and technologies central to the digital transformation of work.

But things took off in early March as the massive effects of COVID-19 on work and life became clear and the World Health Organization declared the novel coronavirus a pandemic. The result? Legions of workers left the office one day, set up shop at the kitchen table the next, and a new era of digital work began.

Broadly speaking, the digital workplace refers to the set of practices that encompasses leadership, culture and technology to deliver operational goals and positive employee experience. As this past year demonstrated in dramatic fashion, it's an ever-evolving concept. With that challenge in mind, here are 10 important digital workplace articles from 2020 to bring some much-needed clarity:

1. The Digital Workplace Accelerates

Those organizations already along the path to digital transformation found themselves in a better position to cope with the challenges created by the rapid shift to remote working. Reworked’s spring 2020 study of more than 450 executives for “The State of the Digital Workplace 2020” report showed a growing level of maturity in practice and rising levels of satisfaction with the tools needed to carry it out. But significant challenges remain.

2. Designing the Digital Workplace for Resilience

Business sustainment and continuity were the themes of the first half of 2020. But as organizations began to look ahead, resilience took center stage. A resilient digital workplace strategy helps a business attract talent, increases workplace efficiency and employee productivity, and facilitates revenue growth, writes Scott Clark. Distinct from sustainment, which is often focused on keeping the lights on during a tough time, resilience is the ability to not just survive but thrive amidst disruption.

3. Who Owns Digital Workplace Strategy?

There’s a whole lot of money being pumped into the digital workplace this year and into the next. While the market continues to grow at a steady clip, some key unanswered questions remain about who drives strategy and how decisions are made. More work is needed to define roles and establish a governance model.

4. AI at Work Still a Work in Progress

The use of artificial intelligence and machine learning at work continues to grow, with a majority of organizations expecting it to play a major role in how they manage the digital workplace. But exactly how it will be used is still a work in progress. There's significant business value to be gained from the robots, and despite the hype surrounding artificial intelligence, it looks like room for growth remains.

5. The Myth of the Digital Workplace Hub

Nobody starts their workday from the same entry point. So the idea that everyone in the digital workplace will route their work through one place, like an intranet, is a fantasy. And in reality the digital workplace hub would be too limiting, too, writes Reworked contributor Sam Marshall.

6. The Pandemic Popped These Closely Held Digital Workplace Beliefs

“Whatever happens, it seems unlikely we will return to the pre-pandemic status quo,” wrote Reworked contributor Steve Bynghall back in June. The last six months have done nothing but reinforce that conclusion. Here are six observations about how things have changed and what we can do for the future. The important thing is to take what we learned and use it to build a better digital workplace and a stronger workforce.

7. How COVID-19 Has Changed Digital Transformation Strategies

COVID-19 changed how we work, but it also changed the strategies put in place to move enterprises from traditional business models to dispersed digital workplaces, writes David Roe. The days of long-term development of transformation strategies and their slow, careful implementation are a thing of the past. Transformations that would have taken months and years now get done in a matter of days.

8. Are You Ready for the New Hybrid Workplace?

In astonishingly short order, the once-unthinkable has become routine but the next step requires lasting change, writes Reworked contributor Rajan Kohili. That means organizations must reengineer how work gets done. Creating a hybrid work environment builds corporate speed and agility while boosting long-term employee health, productivity and a positive employee experience.

9. Digital Transformation Came for HR. Where Do We Go Now?

Throw out the old playbooks, writes Lance Haun. As the dust settles and your employees cope with a massive influx of change both at work and home, it’s time to put everything on the table and reconsider what work and HR look like in a new world. The pandemic is a crisis of enormous proportions but it’s also an opportunity organizations simply can’t ignore.

10. Get Reworked Podcast: The New Reality of the Digital Workplace

The acceleration of the digital workplace isn’t done yet. In November, Reworked launched the Get Reworked podcast with this conversation with Sarah Kimmel, our head of research. She unpacked the latest research into the state of the digital workplace pre- and post-COVID, and the tools and technologies that are making the new era of work a reality.

“What had been up to that point a slow and steady movement by inches towards digital workplace maturity over years became a movement of miles, practically overnight,” she said. All things considered, the transition went pretty smoothly but there’s more to come in 2021.

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