The agility of mobile devices and access to the internet has contributed to a new work culture in Australia. Technology has liberated us from needing to be at our desks to work, yet with it comes challenges that span across leadership, human resources, IT and business culture.
How well does your organisation execute a digital workplace culture?
In a recent study released by Microsoft Australia, 66% of Australians consider themselves to be mobile workers who manage 20% of their time to work outside the office. Yet only 45% of Australian workers feel empowered by their organisation’s culture and management to be able to work together productively and collaboratively.
As employees demand more flexibility in work arrangements, organisations are struggling with how to manage the productivity and connection of people they might see less. More often than not, meetings are seen by many team members as a waste of time, especially where other digital options such as Slack, Trello and Basecamp can serve to replace many of these meetings.
Can apps really replace the need for human connection in the workplace?
Matt Blumberg, author of the Startup CEO, strategy blogger and CEO of Return Path, Inc. advocates “a Daily Standup (DSU) meeting in which each team member reviews progress against goals for a given period and highlights issues where he or she is blocked and needs help.” Holding a DSU 3 to 4 times a week increases connectivity between his people.
The DSU is held at a time accessible to USA team members in different States via video link. For 15-30 minutes, everyone does a quick 1-2 minutes on what they are doing that day. If project sub-teams need to break off after the DSU, then it provides a tone and framework for this to occur. Blumberg says people keep the time free because they have come to value the importance of being both agile and connected. One day a week they do a longer weekly tactical session to focus on bigger items that require more discussion.
Who is responsible for defining, implementing and maintaining digital culture?
There is no doubt someone needs to take charge of digital culture, but who? The CEO needs to define the strategy and purpose of digital agility for an organisation and is ultimately responsible for the bottom line productivity (or lack of it), that digital tools create.
In the past, the IT manager was responsible for anything technology related, yet IT departments select tools based on paradigms of efficiency and ease of implementation, not necessarily on engagement and culture.
Sharon Schoenborn, Director, Office Business Group, Microsoft Australia, believes organisations need to empower their workforce with the right culture, policy, infrastructure and tools to maximise their potential. “It is critical for business and HR leaders to seek ways to better empower individuals and remove barriers to collaborate for the digital age, especially when the Study clearly identifies gaps that can be minimised with technology,” she said.
Human Resource leaders then are under pressure to implement and manage how digital technology is used both in and outside of the workplace, in significant ways that go beyond BYOD, social media and intranet guidelines.
Is it time for a digital transformation strategy?
Centric Digital, a digital transformation and solution company in San Francisco, says that ‘HR used to be last in the technology line, but their role in the digital transformation framework puts them at the forefront of the technology evaluation process’. Centric see digital as a way to reduce the silos that kept departments separate in the past and believe when HR has un-siloed access to data, they get the insights they need to grow the company strategically. The social options offered by digital tools encourage collaboration and opportunity.
If HR leads the technology vision of an organisation, with people at the core beginning with insightful digital onboarding of new team members, then the culture naturally flows from there.
Digital workplace and small business
Price Waterhouse Cooper Australia says mobile and internet technologies can transform small business. PwC economic modelling analysis “shows that small businesses can unlock an additional $49.2 billion of private sector output over the next ten years by making better use of these technologies.” Over 50% of this economic growth can come from businesses outside of metro centres.
Small business is in an ideal position to capitalise on digital workplace culture. With the automation of processes via digital, comes the ability to adapt and react faster to change, competition and opportunities. Digital devices and resources open access to a larger work-from-home workforce who are often fiercely loyal to employers willing to meet them halfway. Flexible workers reward these bosses with outstanding productivity and the bonus of long-term retention.
Over to you…
Digital technology is changing and levelling the business world. What are you doing across your organisation to adapt and capitalise on the potential?
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