How can the workplace make you awesome?

Sep 04, 2017
  • people
  • IT
  • automotive
  • Microsoft

When it comes down to making you the best possible you, context matters. Some people thrive despite bad circumstances and some people fail even in the best environments, but the truth is usually somewhere in the middle. We cannot control how each individual responds to a given situation, but we can make sure the situation is optimized to produce better responses. Or, as the Romans used to say: “fortune favors the bold.”

One of the most important contexts that influences people is the workplace. It is by far the place people spend the most time of the week not spent sleeping. A workplace that motivates and fires up employees is crucial in getting the best from them in terms of productivity. As famed British civil servant Henry Chester once said: “Enthusiasm is the greatest asset in the world. It beats money, power and influence.”

The digital workplace to the rescue

The digital workplace can play a key role in igniting an employee’s enthusiasm. However, its implementation is not just a matter of ordering Office 365 licenses and installing SharePoint and then leaning back. Before implementation, organizations should get a crystal clear overview on their present-day systems, procedures, data and existing integration efforts.

Another element to consider is how people actually work as opposed to how management think they should be working. Sometimes, systems and tools get in the way of getting things done, or push employees into unproductive directions, such as unnecessarily duplicating data or scattering data where there should be a slimmer, more holistic place where data flows together.

Cloud-covered or too cloudy?

Once the existing processes, workflows and data channels are mapped, the next decision is about where the new digital workplace should be hosted. Many companies opt for a mixed strategy, where services and tools that need to be as widely accessible as possible (and from multiple device types) are moved to the cloud, whereas more sensitive operations remain hosted on-premise.

These decisions tie into priority setting: some operations are more important than others. Some user personas are more critical to day-to-day work getting done, while others don’t necessarily benefit much from a cloud-based digital workplace (e.g. assembly workers whose job is intimately connected to one fixed place).

Digital workplace technology: what to choose

Then, it comes down to opting for the technology that is the best fit for purpose. Needs here may differ from company to company. For instance, some workplaces benefit from an internal search engine that can cast the net really wide and deep, while others will prefer more localized search engines within the organization’s divisions.

In addition, digital workplace technology can’t just bring advantages to actual work, but to work planning as well. Why should you have to access two different apps to check your meeting calendar and traffic jams to see when you should depart for work, where you can have technology that integrates data from both apps in one neat overview? These are the small but very real things that can contribute to employee well-being.

The intelligent workplace of the future

Innovation doesn’t stop there. What if your digital workplace not only offered advice on your itinerary to work, but could also notify your colleagues of where you will be (e.g. in a satellite office or the main office) and how you will attend the meeting (e.g. in person or through Skype) with only so much as a tap on your phone?

Adding artificial intelligence to the mix can move the digital workplace to the next level. Through self-learning, your workplace will gain an understanding of what tasks, meetings and processes are crucial to you – e.g. when setting up a conference, the workplace dashboard can automatically suggest optimal times and rooms for the most important people to attend.

Dashboards, not smorgasbords

The workplace dashboard we mentioned could be tomorrow’s great asset to productivity and happiness at the office. Today’s employees often have to navigate different interfaces, dashboards and apps to get a grip on their job, and integration between these can be awkward. The intelligent dashboard integrates information from all these sources and presents itself to you in a way that makes most sense to you.

A self-learning, smart dashboard helps you optimize your planning and streamlines your focus on the things that matter. For instance, mail from people you frequently interact with is shown more prominently, or your dashboard remembers your preferences in how you want to get news from your employer – through internal social media, push notifications or e-mail, to name a few channels.

You are in the driver’s seat

All of these innovations can help an employee feel more in control and more empowered. Instead of having your enthusiasm drained by confusing procedures, scattered data or busywork, you can dive right into work, secure in the knowledge that the workplace is there to enable you to be the best possible you.

The countdown to the future

On June 13, we started the countdown to the future. During this unique event, we focused on how companies can  leverage on real time data to grow to right time companies. Wouldn’t it be great if you could look back from the future and be satisfied with the path you are following right now? 

In this blog series, you will find out how to build solid foundations today, and learn how the decisions you are currently making can lead to success.


Authors: Juan Staes. You can connect with Juan on LinkedIn