The effective next-generation digital workplace is not just a traditional workplace enabled by digital technologies.
In order to perform as a fully-fledged digital enterprise, organisations need a complete mind-set shift in terms of operations and culture.
Emerging sharing economy
As an IT-based firm, DigiOutsource harnesses all relevant new technologies to enable its workforce. “But technology alone doesn’t make a business a next-generation enterprise,” says DigiOutsource CEO David Stevenson. “The new technologies we see coming to the fore within enterprises – enterprise apps, collaborative tools, e-learning, wearables, and even artificial intelligence, augmented reality and virtual reality – all essentially support collaboration. And this, we believe, is at the heart of the workplace of the future.”
Stevenson notes that the emerging sharing economy, best illustrated by the Uber model, is built on collaboration. Thanks to high-speed bandwidth and a proliferation of connected, smart devices, people now share, swap, trade and communicate with like-minded groups all around the world. This is particularly true of Millennials and the generation that follows them: Generation Z, or simply iGen, who were born after 1995 and offer the best hope for enterprises to tap into the digital innovation potential residing within the ‘digital native’ generation.
The next-generation workplace must model itself on trends in sharing technology, breaking down siloes and actively encouraging engagement across disciplines.
The company must literally break down the barriers between individuals and departments, implement open plan arrangements that encourage collaboration, and must flatten its hierarchies and give open access to top management, since next generation employees are accustomed to having a voice and interacting at all levels.
“Interestingly, research has found that in the workplace, Millennials and iGen employees actually prefer face to face communication over tech-enabled communication,” says Stevenson. “This underlines the importance of creating collaborative spaces and an open door to management.”
The next-generation workplace must also model itself on technology’s always-on culture, moving away from rigid hours to flexitime and performance outputs, where possible. It must stay agile and retain a start-up mind-set in order to adapt to rapid changes in the market, says Stevenson.
“The next-generation digital enterprise has to maintain a careful balance between the agility and innovation of a start-up and the good governance, systems and protocols of a mature enterprise. If you lose your vision and the ability to adopt something new and change rapidly, you risk becoming outdated very quickly.”