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Employee Engagement and the ‘Digital Workplace’

We are living in the boom of the technological revolution and the birth of the ‘digital workplace’. With this rapid digital-advancement, employee engagement has never been more important.

The work-space has changed and offices appear vastly different to how they were years ago. Just look at the big tech-firms of Silicon Valley where snooze pods, games rooms and coffee bars now fill the open-plan office environment. These corporations wish to appear ‘young’, creating a campus-atmosphere where workers travel around on bicycles and where taking regular breaks is encouraged.

Valve, the video-gaming company, has even incorporated inflatables in to their offices. They have re-defined the open plan office – installing entirely remote desks on wheels and encouraging their employees to rotate every couple of hours. As an entertainment company, and entertainment provider, they feel their offices should be the same. Interestingly, introducing new parameters for work and play has proven to bring even sweeter rewards seeing Valve ‘outperform Google and Amazon’.

What is the digital workplace?

Businesses are using (DX) digital transformation to align employees, business and technology processes to improve overall efficiency. Technology becomes more natural, synonymous with the working environment and office space.

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Work and Play

As suggested, it is becoming more apparent, that these companies wish to explore the boundaries of work and play. By uniting creative-energy and free-thinking within this space, (by permitting certain freedoms) employers hope to boost productivity. Often these models are aligned with ‘gamification’, this idea of applying a game-model to non-game activities as a means of softening the activity.

Employers seem to be evolving, moving away from the traditional notion of ‘employee engagement’, to an all-embracing ‘employee experience’. The larger tech firms are less concerned with how engaged they are – more so with how they feel – as if the focus has moved from, “we must increase productivity” to “maybe we should be concerned with employee retention?”

Traditionally, engagement has been measured according to an employee’s commitment and understanding of the organisation’s goals. E.g. Are they working towards clearly defined objectives? However, this is becoming a less successful business model.

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Collaboration and Technology

Technology and collaboration are key.
One must reinvigorate the office space. Implementing technology into the workplace can have a hugely positive influence on employee engagement. Adding ‘gamification’ or communal platforms can promote ‘social collaboration’ as well as increase trust amongst employees.

Social Media Engagement

A platform dedicated to community-input and collaboration; entirely based on content sharing, networking and conversation, is an appropriate model for internal communications. As social media is becoming an integral part of our online lives, this is gradually becoming the more appropriate model for communication within a large workforce.

Introducing chat platform integration for employees (instant messaging) – mimicking that of WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger – and encouraging a ‘corporate’ or tribal culture that embraces technology both help to foster team collaboration and communication (even between different departments). 

"We are living in the boom of the technological revolution and the birth of the ‘digital workplace’. With this rapid digital-advancement, employee engagement has never been more important. "

Collaboration Tools & Workstream Collaboration

Though a mere file-hosting software, DropBox encourages desirable behaviours from employees. Through cloud storage, file synchronisation and live-editing, it enables ‘creative collaboration’. It is a perfect example of how technology can be used to change the way we work within the office space.

Gesture to the Future

Companies should always be focusing on adding to the ‘user experience’ for their customers. If they apply that same logic to their employees, improving their ‘user experience’ within the corporate environment, by embracing technology and creating this new digital workplace, their employees will embrace these methods within their everyday.

By Richard Parmenter - Executive Assistant