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It is no secret that the business environment has and will continue to become increasingly influenced (and, at times, governed) by digital technology. If they wish to succeed, it is important for start-ups and small businesses to have some form of digital infrastructure in place. Similarly, traditional businesses (with little or no digital technology) need to incorporate digital technology should they wish to remain competitive.
The benefits of incorporating digital technology go beyond ensuring businesses remain competitive. The results of a global study by Aruba – a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company – have shown that employees working in digital workplaces are more productive and motivated, and report higher job satisfaction and a greater sense of well-being. Titled The Right Technologies Unlock the Potential of the Digital Workplace, the study was made up of results taken from 7000 employees from 15 countries. The findings from this study will help your business remain competitive and attract top talent.
The benefits of digital workplaces
There are four benefits of creating and maintaining a digital workplace or, at the very least, introducing more digital technology into the workplace:
- The human benefits: Employees who work in digital workplaces (“Digital Revolutionaries”) are 51% and 43% more likely to report strong job satisfaction and a positive work-life balance than their peers working in more traditional workplaces (“Digital Laggards”). Revolutionaries are also 56% and 83% more likely feel motivated at work and speak positively of their company’s vision.
- Opportunity for professional development: More Revolutionaries (65%) report that using digital technology led to professional development and growth, compared to Laggards (31%). Additionally, compared to 58% of Laggards, 72% of Revolutionaries are better able to adopt new work skills in a digital workplace.
- Quantified productivity gains: Greater productivity and improved collaboration have been reported by the Revolutionaries (73% and 70% respectively). On the other hand, only 55% of Laggards reported improved collaboration due to digital technology.
- Better workplace experiences: Although they may be seen as a threat to job security, advancements in digital technology and automation may actually create better workplace experiences. Of all the respondents, 71% would welcome a fully automated workplace in the near future (5-10 years). Thus, enabling businesses to build more efficient, effective, and smarter working environments for employees.
The nature of the business industry is rapidly changing and so too are people’s expectations of how they want to work. People increasingly want to find work that is engaging and to engage in their work in new and exciting ways. Employers need to strive to meet these changing needs if they want to hire and keep talented workers.
The risks of digital workplaces
Although digital technology can bring many benefits to the workplace, it is not without its risks. If you are thinking about introducing more technology into your business, it is important you know what they are and how they could affect your business. In a digital workplace, cybersecurity is one of the biggest challenges you will face as an employer. Results from the Aruba study highlight why:
- Risky behaviour: 52% of the employees think about cybersecurity often, if not daily, but still take more risks with company data and devices, and 70% share passwords and devices.
- Unsafe Wi-Fi: In the last year, 25% of the employees admit to having connected to open, potentially unsafe Wi-Fi. This Wi-Fi is potentially unsafe because it is also open to hackers who may access any device through the network.
- Password management: 20% and 17% of the employees admitted to using the same password for more than one application and account and writing down their passwords to remember them, respectively.
A safe and digitally-driven workplace
If you manage it correctly, digital technology can make your business more efficient and leave your employees more motivated and satisfied; if not, it can lead to your failure. Following these recommendations will help you avoid digitally-driven failure:
- Create and implement a digital workplace strategy. It’s important to establish exactly how and when you will introduce digital technology. An IT specialist can help you create and put in place the strategy you need to make your business more digital.
- Establish a collaborative digital workspace. Consider how the digital workplace may extend to include and support remote workers, partners, and customers. If possible, strive for, plan for, and invest in a borderless work environment.
- Integrate security from the get-go. Security needs to be an integral part of the digital infrastructure you incorporate, and should be factored in during the planning, design, and implementation phases. The security should account for human error and intentional misuse, as well as be adaptable to changes and unknowns.
As your business grows, so will the number of employees you have. Your employees will have different personality types, working styles, backgrounds, and come from different generations. It is up to you to create a workplace that accommodates all of them. Employees work best when doing work they enjoy in an environment they are comfortable in. Think about how you could make your business a better place to work at.
Start-ups and small businesses that are conceptualised and established today have the potential to define the future of work. It is important to remember this as you shape and define your business.
The content in this article is based on The Right Technologies Unlock the Potential of the Digital Workplace, a global study by Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company.