With 81% of employees showing a preference for hybrid work schedules, the emergence of “Zoom fatigue,” and various other factors that hinder employee productivity, forward-thinking companies have recognized the necessity for more sophisticated workplace solutions. However, their objectives extended beyond simply replacing one of many off-the-box solutions with a custom-built one. They aimed to harness the most advanced possibilities of the digital transformation realm.
A digital workplace (DW) is the next evolutionary step in personalized hybrid work experience and the cornerstone for constructing a fully-functional remote work model. Although some enterprises have already integrated it to fulfill the expectations of both businesses and employees, this system remains a novelty in the realm of business.
Developing a full-fledged digital workplace is a multi-faceted task that requires thorough planning and precise execution. Let us take a look at the 4 essential steps for building a digital workplace.
Creating an effective digital workplace: A guide to success
The journey of constructing a digital workplace that aligns seamlessly with a company’s business requirements and organizational culture can be segmented into five distinct phases.
Phase 0: Company exploration and discovery
Despite its numerical designation as “zero,” this step holds unparalleled significance as it constitutes the foundation of the entire digital workplace development process. During this phase, stakeholders pinpoint their needs, objectives, and potential alternatives. The culmination of these deliberations leads to determinations regarding the necessity of a digital workplace, the methods for its integration, and the specific target audience for this adaptation.
- Identifying challenges: What are the primary obstacles impacting your company’s operational efficiency? Which aspects of your workflow experience the most significant impact?
- Determining department: Which department stands to gain the most from the implementation of a digital workplace? Does the intended department possess the requisite tools and expertise to seamlessly transition through digital transformation?
- Defining goals: Is the intention behind establishing a digital workplace centered on enhancing employee engagement or facilitating swifter and enhanced customer service?
- Exploring alternatives: Is the integration of a digital workplace imperative for resolving industry-specific challenges? Are there any off-the-shelf solutions capable of addressing your current requirements? Do these alternatives promise a favorable balance between costs and return on investment (ROI)?
Phase zero necessitates the participation of senior analysts and user experience developers to guarantee the creation of user-friendly, intuitive interfaces and designs that prioritize human-centric principles.
Phase 1: In-depth examination
Once the determination to forge ahead with the creation of a digital workplace system has been made, stakeholders are poised to delve into a more profound exploration. This entails unearthing additional data and crafting a precise vision for the digital workplace tailored to the chosen department. The essential steps and questions you need to address in this phase include:
- Researching the company environment
- Assessing stakeholder demands
- Identifying pain points
- Market analysis
- Strategic design considerations
- Thorough digital workplace evaluation
- Conceptualization of digital workplace
The culmination of Phase 1 should yield a comprehensive initial blueprint for the upcoming digital workplace. This blueprint encompasses the layout of the interface, the spectrum of features it must encompass, its capacity to accommodate users, and its adeptness in executing requisite tasks.
Phase 2: Defining priorities
Upon amassing the requisite research data, decision-makers embark on the process of delineating their priorities. This marks the juncture where the conception of a digital workshop takes form, underscoring the value of thorough brainstorming and comprehensive review.
Project scope definition
To visualize their trajectory and establish their milestones, both stakeholders and the discovery team construct a product roadmap. This roadmap encompasses all the constituents envisaged within their digital workplace, encompassing resources, budget allocations, and the experts integral to the endeavor.
The discovery team orchestrates the selection of experts requisite for each phase of the development process, architecting an approach that factors in the required skill sets and the resources essential for the completion of every design facet.
Designers and user experience (UX) developers laboriously craft the interface of the digital workplace and devise its structural blueprint. This phase is characterized by an unwavering focus on features and design choices that optimize usability.
The digital workplace possesses the potential to revolutionize facets such as data processing mechanisms, information-gathering tools, and analytical resources. However, this transformative capacity hinges upon rigorous pre-development testing and validation.
Phase 3: Product development and deployment
Within this pivotal phase, all collaborative teams embark on the construction of the Minimum Viable Product (MVP) of the digital workplace. The typical development timeline spans approximately 6 to 9 months, culminating in the subsequent implementation of the final product. Swift development of the MVP is invariably advantageous, as it permits stakeholders to assess the functionalities of the digital workplace and furnish crucial feedback. This input proves invaluable, serving to refine and fine-tune the product even further.
A cornerstone of Phase 3 is the pivotal role played by user acceptance testing. This integral exercise yields a comprehensive inventory of insights and suggestions from end users. These insights are subsequently channeled into the product backlog, serving as a reservoir of enhancement proposals to optimize the digital workplace.
Step 4. Investment assessment
Following the completion of testing and the integration of the new digital workplace within the department, stakeholders allocate approximately 3 to 5 months for comprehensive monitoring. This period enables them to assess the impact of the innovation on both employee productivity and overall company performance.
While the adaptable nature of digital workplaces renders each organization’s key performance indicators (KPIs) unique, certain concrete metrics empower employers to gauge their progress. Employee engagement, satisfaction rates, cross-sell and upsell ratios emerge as critical KPIs that facilitate a comprehensive comprehension of the benefits attributed to the digital workplace.
The potential of a digital workplace to enact transformative change within a company is profound. Businesses must approach the process of crafting a digital workplace with a thorough plan and stick to it throughout the development process. Sticking to the four steps above will increase the chances for the success of your digital workplace implementation project.