Andy Philp, EMEA Solutions Marketing, VMware
As the world becomes more closely connected, workforces have become more diverse and blended. Work is no longer confined to a place, rather it has become about making things happen – wherever you are, and however you work.
A new report from IDC ‘Becoming “Future of Work” Ready: Follow the Leaders’, highlights how only agile organisations that innovate and disrupt will survive. The rest, those that cannot adapt to global changing working practices, will eventually wither.
Central to this ability to change are three pillars: culture, workspace and workforce.
Each pillar on its own will drive incremental change but only together will organisations truly achieve the desired impact of transforming the business to compete in the era of digital. But we recognise this is not easy; the IDC research reveals that only 30% of European organisations have successfully put in plans to change the how work is done and reinvent the way their organisation engages with employees, partners and customers.
Let’s look at each pillar in more detail.
An organsiations culture can often be its biggest asset – would Netflix have emerged as a poster child of digital disruption had it not turned the traditional view of corporate culture on its head by empowering employees and asking people to take on the responsibility of policing themselves?
But conversely it can be its biggest liability. When unattended to, an organisations’ culture takes on a life of its own, often deviating further and further from its intended goal. Not only do unhealthy cultures demoralise employees; they alienate customers, ruin reputations, and destroy value.
Businesses that fail to provide employees with access to the right tools to create a more agile and creative, and thus productive working environment will be stuck breeding a culture that does the exact opposite – a workforce with little to no motivation to change the way things are done, directed by a “command and control” approach to working life. In VMware’s Digital Workspace research, empowered employees, those who are granted greater access to the applications they prefer and need to do their job, are almost five times more likely to report gains in their productivity.
By empowering employees, companies will see a shift to businesses powered by employee initiative and management trust.
This rebalancing gives frontline employees the tools, including the underlying digital platform, and the mindset freedom that they need to innovate and execute. It’s a cultural change that ultimately becomes a decisive competitive differentiator.
The concept of a ‘9 to 5’ job is history. But should that impact the physical location of where that work takes place? Employees don’t want to feel chained to their desks for seven hours day but instead want the flexibility of being able to work when and where they feel most productive.
In doing so, organisations can strive for the ideal result of what their digital workspace looks like -where ‘collaborative hubs’ emerge alongside flexible working policies in the corporate world, and where voice enabled apps and Artificial Intelligence-driven tools help workers whether they are in the office, on the shop floor, or in a hospital.
IDC believes that by 2021, 60% of G2000 companies (an annual ranking of the top 2,000 public companies in the world according to Forbes), will have adopted a future-workspace model — a flexible, intelligent, collaborative virtual/physical work environment — to improve employee experience and productivity. In fact, our own research has revealed during the workday, individuals whose firms make apps available and highly accessible said they spend nearly 20% less time on manual processes, experience increased collaboration and make decisions faster.
However, security is always core to this. As more traditional working hours and policies become obsolete, ‘borderless organisations’ start to emerge which can cause concern for IT security teams.
Past designs of security infrastructure are no longer relevant as new working environments result in back and forth data flows between multiple devices across the world. So it’s no surprise that digital security is the #1 initiative1 businesses are looking at when considering their approach to a new working strategy. Securing the digital workspace requires security capabilities to be built in at every level – users, apps, endpoints and the network, which is all achievable through software.
The makeup and nature of the workforce is radically evolving. On the one hand, demographic shifts are impacting the size, age and diversity of the workforce; on the other hand, intelligent technologies are augmenting and automating work while creating new opportunities for value creation within organisations. IDC reports that a third of organisations that are looking at new ways of working, believe that at least a quarter of their organisation will be actively using AI in their daily jobs in the next three years.
Intelligent technologies will provide new levels of productivity, accuracy and business intelligence. And that allows employees to learn and improve from mistakes – where the workforce has the ability to fail, recover, and try again – a key component of successful organisations.
Creating a truly effective digital workspace and requires a relentless focus on employee experience that ensures greater freedom of choice.
The Digital Workspace
There are many technologies that can be considered pivotal to digital transformation but the Digital Workspace certainly stands out as the most empowering. Its platform architecture, management and security capabilities and experience centric approach are a good fit for the needs of the new world of work.
At the end of the day, changing working practices, and the strategy required to do that is not a simple process. It requires time and investment. Businesses will reap the rewards of a more user-centric experience across its customers, employees and business.