The modern workplace has undergone significant changes, with many companies blending their physical office space with a digital workplace. Staying informed about the digital workplace trends is crucial for organizations looking to stay ahead of the curve and unlock new opportunities in 2023 and beyond.
The digital workplace offers flexibility, efficiency and cost savings for both employers and their staff. Employees themselves tend to report greater work/life balance in a remote role1.
However, the advancement of workplace technologies and digital solutions means the workplace – even the digital workplace – is set for another overhaul.
In this blog:
1. AI and machine learning
The use of AI and machine learning in the digital workplace is growing rapidly, with many companies already using AI technologies to automate repetitive tasks and track metrics, such as content utility and employee performance.
As these technologies become increasingly widespread in the workplace, companies with digital workplaces could benefit from AI advancements to facilitate data-driven intranets, enhanced customer service, as well as AI-powered learning resources for employees.
The emergence of ‘chatbot’ technology is also significant for the digital workplace. AI technology designed to simulate human conversations could provide employees and customers with instant replies to support requests, without a lengthy wait from a human customer service advisor. This means an employee can resolve their question and another employee is freed from a repetitive task to focus on something more productive.
With the growing volume of data being generated and shared in the digital workplace, data privacy and security will be of paramount importance in 2023. Organizations will invest in advanced cybersecurity measures, including multi-factor authentication, encryption, and secure cloud storage solutions. Compliance with data protection regulations, such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), will be a priority for businesses across industries.
For those operating a company intranet, advanced encryption technologies and secure authentication processes will be essential to ensuring the safety of confidential data. Companies might also look to invest in cyber security training for their employees, helping them spot potential risks and taking proactive steps to protect their systems from malware.
Cloud-based collaboration is more relevant that ever in the digital workplace. Companies need to invest in robust collaboration tools, video conferencing solutions, project management platforms, and virtual whiteboarding to facilitate seamless digital collaboration and maintain productivity across distributed teams.
This offers a massive productivity boost both for companies using remote working, and companies operating from several branches or cross-country.
Cloud collaboration can also help companies upskill current employees, as the quick distribution of knowledge and AI-generated learning resources helps users learn new skills without the associated costs of re-training.
When the pandemic forced employees to carry out their work from home, there was little for employers to use in the way of task-tracking technology – remote work was based on mutual trust and self-discipline. However, this could be set to change as employee tracking technology becomes more widely available.
Employee tracking technology includes digital tools and company intranets that can track productivity, task completion and hours spent working. Companies may think they no longer have to worry about staff productivity outside the office, but they can expect some pushback from employees.
What people loved so much about remote working was the liberty of not being observed while working. Employee tracking technology could be seen as a sneaky return to the old ways of office-based working. There is a middle ground though. Organizations looking to introduce employee tracking technology can demonstrate how this can be used to employees’ advantage by helping to boost productivity and efficiency.
As organizations embrace remote and hybrid work models, prioritizing employee well-being and engagement will be critical in 2023. Companies will focus on providing flexible work arrangements, mental health support, and resources for work-life balance. Digital workplace platforms will incorporate features such as wellness apps, virtual team-building activities, and real-time feedback mechanisms to foster a positive work environment and ensure employee satisfaction and productivity.
Working in a digital workplace offers exciting opportunities when it comes to expanding employee knowledge and skills, and knowledge management is going to play a significant role in achieving this in 2023 and beyond.
For companies looking at transforming into completely digital workplaces, knowledge is crucial for an immersive digital employee experience.
Robust digital workplaces of 2023 and beyond are those that foster a knowledge culture.
Knowledge culture is a company culture that promotes people identifying, contributing and sharing knowledge. It’s a culture that prizes the effective, efficient use of knowledge and recognizes that knowledge is the key to a company’s competitive advantage.
Whether this means group video calls, more collaborative decision-making, or online group activities designed to boost brainstorming and productivity, the aim is for ‘purpose-driven’ work.
As more companies move to digital and automated processes, the spotlight is going to fall on the digital employee experience. Organizations moving to digital operations will need to consider how they run and manage a digital workplace, and what tools can be used to support the transition – and their employees.
Aside from equipping employees with user-friendly digital tools and training, the question of mental health is also at the forefront of these conversations.
After all, remote and digital working – while still largely popular with employees – isn't immune to criticism. Although studies are inconclusive (as it's still too early in the WFH experiment to say), some critics claim that working from home on a permanent basis can enhance feelings of depression, solitude, and loneliness. While this may not be true for all employees, it can be true for young people, or those living alone.
Therefore, the onus is going to be on digital companies to ensure the mental health and wellbeing of remote employees; not just for their productivity, but their overall emotional health. This could mean enhanced HR technologies, virtual support, or greater flexibility over digital/hybrid working.
As corporate organizations turn their attention towards sustainability, we can expect to see an increase in eco-friendly efforts, even from those operating digital workplaces. While the digital workplace is more eco-friendly in many ways than running a physical office – with reduced demands on lighting and heating or cooling and less commuting – there are still further gains in sustainability a company with a remote workforce can make.
Digital workplaces can accelerate their sustainability efforts by implementing environmentally friendly policies, such as using instant messaging instead of email, and using their company intranet rather than file-sharing over external platforms. Companies can also look to fully digitizing all operations, from invoices to employee training. Even storing data in the cloud is an operational area where companies can take a more sustainable approach.
The rapid pace of technological advancements demands that employees continually upgrade their digital skills. In 2023, organizations will invest in robust training programs and digital learning platforms to upskill their workforce. This will include initiatives to enhance digital literacy, data analytics proficiency, cybersecurity awareness, and other emerging technologies. Additionally, microlearning and gamification techniques will be employed to make learning engaging and accessible to employees.
The digital workplace is undergoing significant transformations in 2023, driven by the need for flexibility, collaboration, and productivity.
Embracing the trends mentioned above will position organizations for success in this rapidly evolving landscape. By leveraging hybrid work models, adopting AI and automation, prioritizing data privacy and security, focusing on knowledge and employee well-being, and investing in digital skills development, businesses can create a future-ready digital workplace that drives innovation and empowers their workforce to thrive.