Future of work: Empowering Digital Workplaces

Like Comment

This article is part of the Forum Network series on Digitalisation

Almost half way through the year many of us will be taking stock of what we’ve achieved, and how best to tackle what’s ahead. Keeping staff positive and encouraging them to reach challenging goals is essential. This task is further complicated by market uncertainty and tough economic conditions.

Digital workplace tech is a key aspect of the solution. Almost any business leader will tell you how new technologies such as robotics and AI are changing how their business works. But the real question is whether employees are able to effectively use these technologies to work smarter.

Workplace tech has to be fit for purpose to generate a substantial ROI. Your staff need to see its value and be excited to use it. Of course, every business is different. The technologies giving SMBs a boost are likely to differ wildly from those employed by enterprise rivals. Generational differences also factor into this, depending on the age of employees. Some may be more tech-savvy and others less amenable to change.

Fortunately our recent research shows that, if anything, most employees are visionaries. 6-in-10 say more innovative workplace technology would have the most positive impact on their working day, placing this above higher pay or even free food!

Ambitious businesses can demand a lot from their staff. It’s in everyone’s best interests that the technology they use to get their work done doesn’t let them down. Yet 47% of employees still question whether their workplace tech truly enables greater productivity.

To address this, I urge business leaders to examine how their employees currently work - starting by asking questions around three important areas:

  • Collaboration - is your team making effective, collective choices? Could technology help them make more informed and better decisions?
  • Data - how quickly can staff access and analyse the information they need, when they need it? Could automation take out some of the heavy lifting in this process?
  • Flexibility - how easy is it for employees to work outside the traditional office set-up? Is there untapped potential lying outside of a 9-5 office-based organisation? Are resources set-up effectively to ease working offsite? 

With a wealth of emerging workplace technologies entering the mainstream, now is the time to start this journey. Having the confidence to question the way you, and your staff, work can be daunting but it is likely to yield profitable results. Today, I challenge you to a start this journey by asking yourself one of the questions above. Even the most marginal of productivity gains can reap huge rewards, which can make all the difference come year end. 

Related Topics

Future of Education & Skills

Javier Diez-Aguirre

Vice President, Corporate Marketing, CSR & Environment, EMEA, Ricoh Europe

Javier is a world-class and award-winning (fully deserved) international marketer on a mission to get marketing better represented in the boardroom. He is a self-confessed vessel of charisma who believes that marketers need to stop moaning, ditch the jargon and become more business-minded if they want to get the recognition they crave from the almighty board. Fluent in three European languages, he’s studied and worked in various countries around the world. This makes him a master of cultural nuance, a great travel guide, worldly beyond his youthful looks but a nightmare for his accountant. His truly global approach was recognised by Inter-National-Ist Magazine when he was named an ‘Internationalist of the Year’ in 2007. During his two decades in marketing, he’s specialised in helping businesses thrive in times of change, whether they’re growing rapidly, repositioning themselves or going through M&As. And while his work has sometimes given him a few grey hairs, helping to achieve big transformations always puts a huge smile on his face. Holding a PhD in Microbial Biochemistry (that’s genetics to you and me), Javier brings a keenly scientific approach to everything that he does. He’s regularly called on by the marketing press to share his views on how to tame data overwhelm and the role of AI in marketing. He’s also a valued speaker at the International Advertising Association, the CMO Network and the Global Digital Marketing Summit as well as at the IESE Business School in London. Today, Javier is Vice President, Corporate Marketing for Ricoh Europe where he leads a large internal team and a wide range of global agencies covering branding, sponsorship, digital and PR. Before that, he was International Brand Director for Genworth Financial, a $110 billion leading insurance holding company in the United States and formerly a division of General Electric. As a die-hard sailor, Javier tries not to think too much about the beautiful warm winds of his native Spain while he slowly freezes each weekend off the coast of Southampton.