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What is a
digital workplace?
How to build
a digital workplace
business case

Author: Nick Reese

For many people, work is no longer somewhere you go—it's something you do. And while many people will continue to do that work at the office, for others the morning commute may only be as long as it takes to walk to the kitchen table or a spare room. Businesses need to reevaluate their work arrangements to see if there is a digital workplace business case to be made. So what is a digital workplace?

What is a digital workplace?

A digital workplace relies on collaboration technology to provide the tools, applications and access to data needed to support a remote and virtual working environment. Now that many businesses have spent months or more with employees working remotely, they've learned the benefits of remote working for business and that business can still be conducted as usual without people going to the office.

While the switch to 100% remote work in the midst of the pandemic may have felt chaotic at the time, most organizations and their employees have had time to smooth out the bumps and make the digital workplace work for them. But now many organizations face a crossroads: Is it time to bring employees back to the office, or go all-in on remote working? As you contemplate your next steps, here's what to consider.

Why a digital workplace? Benefits of remote working for business

Here are just a few benefits of remote working for business you may want to consider when exploring if you should build your digital workplace business case and go fully remote:

  • Increased employee flexibility: Rather than work a traditional nine-to-five, employees working remotely enjoy the flexibility of a remote schedule. This makes it easier to achieve the work-life balance they need to be happy, improving the employee experience. In addition, you may find this flexibility leads to increased productivity as employees focus on getting their work done instead of just clocking in and out. According to a recent study, 44% of business leaders report an increase in productivity thanks to digital workplace investments, while 57% report increased agility.
  • Increased collaboration: While the initial fear was that employees working remotely would become isolated from each other, in fact, some employees have never been more collaborative. Cloud solutions can make it easier for employees to work on the same files, communicate with team members, and attend meetings whether in the office or working remotely. Collaborative tools such as Slack, Zoom, Google Docs and countless other tools will likely continue to be used whether in the office or working remotely.
  • Reduced costs: Think of how much you spend to give employees a place to work. From office leases, utility bills, and equipment like printers to office supplies, admin staff and coffee for the break room, having people come to work is expensive. A fully remote workforce allows you to free up significant operational costs that you can reinvest back into your business.

While the benefits of remote working for business can be significant for both the employee experience and your bottom line, building a digital workplace business case and a 100% digital workplace might not be right for every organization.

It starts with culture: Some organizations simply don't have the ability to envision the workplace as anything but a location. In addition, companies may not be able to overcome the sunk costs they've already made in their physical infrastructure. If you recently opened up a new corporate campus, you're going to want people to come back even if they are more effective working at home.

An organization also must have a certain level of technology maturity to embrace 100% remote work. Remote work can create a significant increase in network activity, while your attack surface will be spread far and wide. You'll need to ensure your network is robust and adaptable to meet the changing needs of your business, while your security needs to effectively protect employee devices and corporate data outside your corporate network.

How to build a digital workplace business case

When making the digital workplace business case, these are the questions you're going to have to answer.

Financial impact

To convince company leaders to go fully remote, you must first show how it will impact the business. Things to consider include:

  • Potential cost savings of reducing overhead
  • Potential cost savings of increased employee retention
  • Potential productivity increase of remote workforce
  • Potential costs/investments required to support remote work

Non-financial impact

If the numbers make sense, you can then support the digital workplace business case by looking at how it will impact the company culture. Benefits of remote working for business may include improving your ability to recruit and retain talent, increasing your talent pool beyond your local geography, gaining access to new markets, and increasing your ability to innovate and bring products to market faster.

Impact on each department

You'll need buy-in from everyone in order to go fully remote and build your digital workplace business case. Work with departmental leaders to understand their requirements and potential issues so you can ensure their transition goes smoothly. HR, finance, sales, and customer support are all departments that may need new technologies and processes in order to fully support employees working from home.

Necessary technology

The switch to a fully remote workplace will require an investment in technologies to continue to reap the benefits of remote working for business and help employees effectively connect, collaborate and communicate. From providing cloud-based apps to issuing employees dedicated PCs and smartphones, you need to ensure your people have everything they need to stay productive no matter where they work.

The future of work is here. Do you have everything you need to build your digital workplace business case?

Learn more about how to effectively make the switch to the digital workplace.