Adopting a digital workplace is vital, but the process comes with unique challenges. Here are 4 common obstacles and how to defeat them.

If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading.

It may sound like something you’d read in a fortune cookie, but the quote (usually attributed to ancient Chinese philosopher Lao-Tzu) is unquestionably still applicable today – particularly when it comes to how organizations approach workplace design.

Companies that have embraced the ever-changing definition of the digital workplace –one that is mobile, connected and secure – are reaping the benefits in the form of greater productivity, employee engagement and satisfaction.

Other organizations have been slower to adapt to this model for a variety of reasons. They may have the best of intentions, but find they are stifled by a resistant company culture, technology limitations or other challenges. Change is possible, however, if your organization’s leaders are willing to look beyond current limitations and commit to finding solutions.

Here are the four most common barriers to building a digital workplace and (more importantly) what you can do to overcome them.

Pushback from Employees

While some of your employees will embrace change with excitement, expect others to resist it at all costs.

Building a digital workplace is a substantial undertaking, and change-averse employees can be a major barrier to successful implementation. The good news is there are a few things you can do to gain support from the more hesitant members of your workforce.

For example …

  • Be forthright and honest about the reasons behind transitioning to a digital workplace
  • Show your enthusiasm for the digital workplace and be specific about how you believe it will benefit the company and, more importantly, your employees
  • Share frequent updates about the progress of the implementation, including what is going well as well as any setbacks
  • Ask for feedback along the way, both in person and via employee surveys or anonymous suggestions

Lack of Interdepartmental Collaboration

Adopting a digital workplace requires the involvement of three departments in particular: facilities, IT and HR.

The facilities team is responsible for design logistics – for example, where new technology such as occupancy and temperature sensors will be installed, which rooms and workspaces will need updating and what new assets, equipment or furniture will be necessary. Members of the IT team are the experts on the new technology to be implemented and how it will integrate into the existing IT infrastructure. Finally, as the owners of the recruiting, onboarding and training processes, the HR department has crucial insight into what employees want and need in their workplace.

The management teams of each of these departments must ensure their employees are communicating regularly, have access to the same information and are aligned on the primary objective: building the kind of modern digital workplace that enhances the employee experience. The hard truth is that it’s just this side of impossible to adopt a digital workplace if the facilities, IT and HR teams aren’t on the same page.

Absence of the Right Technology

Coordinating a project of this size cannot be done by email or disparate software solutions – there are simply too many moving parts. And if you have an outdated system or one that isn’t designed to accommodate an initiative such as building a digital workplace, you’ll likely run into issues that can delay implementation and, in turn, lead to the need to allocate additional resources.

Rather than realising halfway through the transition that your software is woefully insufficient, you must have the right solution from the start.

The ability to quickly share data between multiple different departments is fundamental to establishing a digital workplace. And when project and resource data exists in multiple different systems, there is a greater risk of discrepancies, which can lead to unnecessary repeat work or tasks falling through the cracks.

Because an IWMS connects to other solutions (such as Human Resources Information Systems and help desk software), it enables data to be shared between the platforms and gives members of each team instant access to this information in one interface.

Workspace Challenges

While building a digital workplace clearly requires technology, it also requires a place to implement this technology. It may seem obvious, but not every organization considers how the physical space affects the creation of a digital workplace.

A digital workplace empowers your workforce with greater mobility and flexibility. But in order to provide these benefits, physical workspaces must be designed to offer mobility and flexibility as well. This means ditching cubicles and dedicated workstations in favor of an activity-based working environment where employees are free to move around the office throughout the day – instead of being tied to a single desk for eight hours.

A digital workplace is agile, adaptive and inspiring. It supports a positive employee experience by ensuring the workforce has the kind of resources and environment it needs to be productive. If the same cannot be said for the physical workplace, attempting to adopt a digital workplace will be an exercise in futility.

Unfortunately, there’s simply no way to avoid every obstacle between you and a digital workplace. But you cannot allow the fear of failure to prevent you from undertaking a project that can have a great impact on your bottom line. To take Lao Tzo’s words about change a few steps further, consider this quote from Henry Ford: “Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.”

The above is a guest post from iOFFICE, the leading workforce-centric IWMS and the only 100% SaaS platform designed for the Digital Workplace. iOFFICE equips C-suite, CRE and facilities leaders with the real-time data and communications tools they need to play effectively for the future of their workforce and workplace. With tools like the newly launched iOFFICE HUMMINGBIRD which offers businesses a transformative and customizable set of employee-experience solutions such as wayfinding, reservations, and more, iOFFICE can truly make the workplace hum.

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