The Digital Workplace: Three big benefits for business
Organisations love measurement. It helps them understand when something’s working, and it lets them capture and repeat good practice when they see it.
The challenge in a digital world, which changes at unprecedented speed, is that some of the new characteristics of a successful organisation don’t necessarily fit the old ways of measuring success.
At the 2019 O2 Blue Door Conference, John Acton, Head of Enterprise Sales at O2, opened the Digital Workplace Deep Dive session by setting out three key benefits of moving to a more digitally-enabled working environment:
- better employee experiences
- improved business operations
- better customer experiences
They all have measurable benefits, but there are softer outcomes that are arguably even more important in the long term.
Which is why John Acton and the panellists at the session all emphasised that going digital is far more than a technological process. It encompasses working practices, HR policy, property and facilities management and a whole raft of other operational and cultural issues that make an organisation a great place to work.
One of the big (and measurable) benefits of the digital workplace is employee retention. Ann Pickering, Director of HR and Chief of Staff for O2, quoted research from Deloitte which said that there is an 87% correlation between a digital-first culture and talent retention.
It’s an issue for many industries, especially technology, manufacturing and retail, not least because of the challenges around finding the right people in the first place. What’s more, recruitment costs can be punishing, so it pays to invest in keeping people loyal.
Digital breaks through barriers
The improvement in business operations that happens with a move to digital may have some immediate impact that shows quickly in your business metrics. For example, when more people are working remotely you can adopt a hot-desking policy that can make big savings on facilities and office costs.
But the real benefits unfold over time and may be reflected in numbers that are not directly related to the change. If your innovation team is bringing new ideas to market faster, it may be because they’re able to collaborate better, or they instinctively put in extra time on days when they don’t have to commute. The odd half hour here and there rapidly accumulates into a lot of extra productivity, given freely and with enthusiasm by motivated people.
Similarly, the speed and quality of decision-making within your organisation is hard to quantify. But the outcomes made possible by giving the right people the right data at the right time can be far-reaching, helping to build more agile and effective ways of working into the heart of the business.
Both of these benefits – employee engagement and operational improvement – contribute to what is perhaps the most important benefit of the digital workplace: better customer experience.
There’s a simple logic to the idea of happy employees making happy customers, but the connection is clear. Whether it’s a dispatcher on a station platform or a community care professional helping a client at home, people can deliver better customer experiences when they have access to all the digital resources they need, wherever they are.
Equally, a more efficient supply chain that leads to more availability for high-demand stock items means that fewer customers are disappointed. It works in the back office too. Faster response to insurance claims, or a better digital self-service experience made possible by process automation, can translate into more loyalty, higher spend and word-of-mouth recommendation.
The great thing about becoming a digital workplace is that it’s a self-perpetuating cycle of benefit for the organisation. When customers are happy, work is more worthwhile, employees are more motivated and operations improve.
Yes it will show in your next annual report. But you’ll probably sense it first in the buzz that comes from doing better work for appreciative customers.
If you’re wondering how else connectivity could shake things up around your workplace, there’s lots to read about in our other blogs. You can find them here.
And if you’d like more tips on how to establish your digital workplace, download our latest whitepaper.