6 Factors to Support Digital Workplace Initiatives

\Companies transitioning to a digital workplace face a long list of challenges. As Kristine Dery and Ina M. Sebastian broke it down in the MIT Sloan Management Review: “The problem is that if you try to bundle, stitch, customize, or link products and services to build end-to-end solutions within traditional hierarchical and siloed work environments, then you make working life very hard.”

Successful digital workplace initiatives require that executives rethink the way their companies work. For example, Preston Gralla, a managing editor at CIO believes that organizations need to “craft a workplace that makes it easier for people to do their work, share ideas, and collaborate with others.”

Researchers at MIT Sloan interviewed 63 executives and conducted a poll with 276 respondents to gain clarity on digital transformations. They identified four design levers that “can really simplify working life in complex, unstructured business environments” and two management levers that underpin positive change:

The ‘S’ Factors

Symbols “Symbols of change make the digital strategy visible throughout the organization and reinforce the strategic value of the workplace changes every day.”

Space  “We also see that companies who are further along in the evolution toward digital solutions for customers are bringing employees back to face-to-face working spaces as much as possible with campus-style offices, or virtual spaces that replicate co-located environments as closely as possible.”

Systems “Systems automate and simplify routine processes that are often ‘speed bumps’ in organizations and stand in the way of focusing on value-generating tasks.”

Social “Social media are about sharing knowledge, building relationships, and exploring ideas in ways that foster networks instead of hierarchies. They can play a central part in strategic digital workplace transformations when aligned with a change in behavioral norms throughout the organization.”

Sustaining Leadership “Without firmly committed, cross-functional leadership teams dedicated to constant iterations and adjustments to the workplace, efforts in reimagining work have patchy traction and become personality-dependent.”

Systemic Learning “Systemic learning means that the design levers must be adjusted all the time, instead of just once or twice a year, through real-time experimentation and feedback.”

Consider implementing these six factors as you approach digital workplace initiatives in your organization.