The past year has changed our lives forever, for better or for worse, our societies will never be the same again. And a huge part of this change can be seen in the professional world and our work culture. The shift to digital workspace has been a steep learning curve for everyone.
Even for people who are well versed in computers, shifting to a fully digital working system hasn’t been an easy adjustment. Especially when we consider the fact that most offices never got ample time to plan anything.
It was fascinating to see how most of us who hadn’t always been keen on group video calls, were now having to attend one zoom meeting after another. Not to mention the digital platforms used as impromptu digital workspaces, were suddenly making huge profits in sales and revenue.
While things are far from being normal, they have started to change. Some offices have started to allow on-site work on alternate days, some are preparing to shift to offline work full time, while the majority still make use of digital workspace under work from home orders. With the vaccine being more and more available for the average citizen, and with increasing hope for normalcy, some questions arise in our minds.
What will become of the digital workspace once we manage to get an acceptable amount of control over the risk of contagion? More importantly what has already shifted in the intrinsic work culture of contemporary society and will that shift keep the digital workspace alive?
Before we move on discussing some interesting prospects of the digital workspace, I’d like to take a moment to acknowledge the fact that a lot of workers, including frontline and essential workers, haven’t been able to leave work from the field, due to the nature of their work. We owe it to them to follow safety guidelines and take the vaccine at our turn.Top 4 Factors Influencing Digital Work Space (WFH) The Employee-as-a-Customer (EaaC) mindset:
While not as commonly heard of in our part of the world, EaaC is a much-discussed thought process in many western countries. EaaC relies on viewing employees as an essential investment for the business and not as expendable and replaceable clones.
One question that EaaC urges one to ask is “how does an employee want to work?” And shifting to a digital workspace has forced a lot of employers to contemplate that as well.
When a workplace views its employees as customers, they are more inclined to constantly adapt to their needs. While it cannot be claimed that work from home has been the most employee-friendly phenomenon, it has indeed forced employers to think more about their employees' side of things.
One positive aspect of the digital workspace is the fact that it constantly requires two-way communications between employers and employees, to keep work afloat.Increased Productivity:
Studies show that working from home and shifting to a largely digital workspace has made people more productive. To be specific, experts have calculated a 67% increase in productivity overall. Most speculate that this is due to the reduced work hours and an increase in focus due to that.
Piggybacking off of the previous point, these results are making employers think more about adapting the workplace in a way that is more conducive to the employee. It makes one think: What were we doing wrong before? How can we maintain this kind of productivity even while working offline in offices? What can employers do to maintain this environment of productivity?Better Work-Life Balance:
Individuals have increasingly reported that shifting to a digital workspace has helped them improve their work-life balance. They have been able to focus on hobbies, on quality time with family, and allocate more time to winding down and relaxing. Working in a digital workspace allows people to cut down on time wasted on the commute, getting ready, strict schedules, etc.
The fact that the need to commute from work is gone, doesn’t just help the workers but is also incredibly beneficial to the environment. It prevents both air and noise pollution.Remote Working:
Now even without something like the work from the home mandate in place, shifting to the digital workspace or having that option can help bring certain employees on board who are unable to move closer to office location.
For startups, this can be extremely beneficial as they do not have to immediately think about sourcing a large enough office space. They can start slow and outsource their employees from different locations, getting maximum productivity for much cheaper.
One issue regarding digital workspace that a lot of experts are concerned about, is the fact that it can cause alienation among the employees. And they might not be able to develop or retain stronger work relationships.
In case there is strict and long-term adherence to a digital workspace, the opportunity to have impromptu private conversations, build friendships, and build a social circle might become dramatically difficult.Final Thoughts
Last year has taught us a lot. A lot of things about ourselves and our society that we took for granted are no longer available to us, or safe for us to engage in. At a time like this digital workspace was both inevitable and a lifesaver, it has helped us stay productive, and also evaluate our relationship with work.
Regardless of what happens in the future of the digital workspace, whether they become sparse, selectively used, or remain a part of regular work experience, we mustn't lose the insight that we gained from this experience.
Digital workspaces have brought to the fore, our ability to adapt and learn from tough times. They are a symbol of resourcefulness, and resilience, and speak greatly of our work ethics as a society.