5 Ways to Eliminate Friction and Optimize Your Digital Workplace

Getronics Editorial Team

In this article:

The digital workplace has existed for quite some time, but it wasn’t until the coronavirus pandemic rolled around that it came into the mainstream.  As organisations were abruptly plunged into remote working, they were forced to accept what was then referred to as the new normal.  

These digital workplaces were overwhelmingly deployed as an urgent solution to a new and unexpected challenge, and it’s safe to say that most organisations were not ready for it. Consequentially, the majority of these digital workplaces were deployed without the backing of any long-term planning or well-thought-out strategy.  

This was understandable at the time. Most C suites simply didn’t have the time to flesh out thorough plans for hybrid working in the face of an emerging pandemic. After all, many thought pandemic lockdowns would only last for a few weeks—workers could then return to the office. Or not. 

Optimizing your Digital Workplace

Digital Workplaces Are Here to Stay 

Although the sudden hybrid approaches and digital workplaces that organisations adopted at the time were OK, they were—and in many cases, still are—far from optimised. They were never meant to be permanent solutions; just temporary ones.  

Attitudes have changed, though. The consensus is that remote and hybrid working isn’t going away. 48% of managers believe that remote/hybrid working has made their team more productive, and 20% of workers would be willing to give up 10% of their salary for a 4-day work week according to Owl Labs.  

If you’re one of many organisations that are looking to keep remote and/or hybrid working policies in place in the long term, you need to think seriously about whether your current setup is optimised.  

Yes, it might work—but does it work efficiently and productively? If not, you need to consider digital workplace optimisation.  

Digital Workplace Optimisation 

A digital workplace is an environment where technology is leveraged extensively to facilitate and streamline work processes, communication, collaboration, and information sharing among employees. It uses various digital tools, platforms, and solutions to create a cohesive ecosystem that transcends physical boundaries. 

Digital workplace optimisation therefore looks at ways digital processes can be improved and enhanced to reduce operational costs, streamline employee workflows, increase productivity, enable cohesion and communication, and more. Fundamentally, it involves leveraging various digital solutions to create an integrated, user-friendly, and efficient work environment. 

There are various questions you should ask yourself when trying to decide whether your digital workplace is optimised, such as: 

  • Is our digital workplace designed around business outcomes? 
  • Did we gather employee thoughts and feedback before deployment? 
  • Did we assess workforce wants and needs before deployment? 
  • Did we create different personas to assess how groups might be impacted? 
  • What do these personas need? 
  • What are their specific requirements? 
  • Have employees adopted our digital workplace, or is there resistance? 
  • Do we collect data and analytics to assess workplace usage statistics?  
  • Did we design a human-centric workplace? 
  • Are its services designed around our people? 
  • Does it help how they collaborate? 
  • Does it support and empower them? 

If your answer to these questions is no, chances are that your digital workplace was a product of pandemic-induced haste and could use some TLC.  

Approaching Digital Workplace Optimisation 

Optimisation is fundamentally a right-sizing operation that provides each employee and work role with the tools and services they need, nothing more. You don’t need to overthink things.  

That said, it’s more than an if this then that situation. Optimisation also needs to address how these tools and services are consumed and seek to promote seamless access from the devices and locations needed. In doing so, it helps to surface the right level of data and information on a role basis, improve employee experiences, reduce friction, and increase overall organisational productivity.  

In essence, an optimised digital workplace provides employees with an ecosystem of collaborative tools for working remotely—whether that’s fully remote or via a hybrid model. In doing so, it enables the following: 

  • Seamless communication and collaboration among dispersed employees. 
  • Increased efficiency and productivity driven by digital technology. 
  • Digital transformation and innovation across operations. 

There’s no single or gold-standard strategy for this. Every organisation must approach optimisation on the merits of its own digital workplace. One of its key tenets, however, is the elimination of digital friction which, among other things, prevents decision fatigue, technical vulnerabilities, employee detachment, and privacy risks.  

Here are five ways you can eliminate friction in your digital workplace:

Digital Friction describes the unnecessary effort employees must exert when interacting with technology in the workplace. This friction manifests in various forms, such as extra steps needed to complete routine tasks, the need to switch between multiple applications to access information, and complicated workflows that detract from meaningful work. 

1. Identity and Access Controls 

The primary aim of identity and access management (IAM) is to provide seamless access to your digital workplace for authorised persons. With tools like single sign-on, employees can sign on just once and access everything that they need for their role. This must be balanced with security needs, and many services converge to include conditional access to achieve this—i.e., by checking things like device location.  

2. Data Privacy and Governance 

Data privacy needs no introduction. It has been drilled into us in recent years with the emergence of legislative efforts such as the EU GDPR. That said, good data governance lends itself to eliminating frictions by removing unnecessary barriers to data and information through solutions like sensitivity tagging and conditional access rules. This ties in with role-based access controls and is a must-have for an optimised digital workplace.  

3. Employee Wellbeing 

Digital workplaces shouldn’t be all about… well, work. They act as a core touchpoint between an organisation and its employees and, as such, there are tools available that can be used to gather information about employee wellbeing. These not only enable better managerial support for hybrid and remote workers but also empower employees to manage and optimise their workflows.  

4. End-User Device Management 

IT leaders should have complete oversight of the company devices that employees are using for work. This is not only important from a security perspective for ensuring that protocols, updates, and patches are all in order, but also from an insights perspective.  

Device analytics can tell you a lot about how employees engage with the digital workplace, enabling you to optimise performance, improve resource allocation, and manage costs. Also, consider providing more IT self-service and self-heal functionality to allow employees to take ownership of their tech environment, for example, by enabling software downloads to avoid lengthy approvals processes.  

5. Training and Development 

When the world moved to remote working in 2020, many organisations assumed that their employees would take like ducks to water. This obviously could never have been the case. Not everyone is tech-savvy, and digital workplaces can be exclusionary to those who aren’t. Find ways to incorporate training and development focused on your digital workplace to help level the playing field and ensure all employees can engage with it to its full potential.  

Ready to Optimise Your Digital Workplace?  

When you think of digital workplace optimisation, it’s natural to focus on the money—which we covered in a recent article—but optimising your digital workplace on the whole can bring a whole host of long-term benefits.  

Optimising your digital workplace by ensuring it’s mobile and adaptive, regularly updated to meet the changing pace of organisational goals, and accessible by all will help to not only achieve significant cost savings but also improves the overall employee experience, engagement, productivity, and, ultimately, the customer experience.  

If you’re still not sure where to get started with your optimisation, why not partner with the experts at Getronics? We’re a global leader in digital transformation, and it’s our mission is to maximise your business potential with our powerful technology solutions. 

With a team of more than 4,000 specialists across 22 countries, we’re uniquely positioned to provide comprehensive end-to-end digital services that drive growth, reduce cost, and deliver real, quantifiable success. 

If it’s time for your business to evolve, get in touch with a Getronics expert today and kick off your digital transformation.