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9 Principles of the Digital Workplace Strategy

Yuri Sumnicht

As we work with companies to identify and address the technology needs associated with their shifts to hybrid working, we have formulated nine principles that should guide a digital workplace strategy. We share them as food for thought for anyone pondering how the digital workplace should work.

1. Empathize With Employees

When designing a hybrid workplace, it’s important to consult with the users of the workplace—the employees. Employees often have different goals than their employer. For instance, while a business seeks to right-size their real estate footprint, an employee likely cares more about things like feeling connected with their team or maintaining a healthy work-life balance. Conducting qualitative research with employees to understand their unique human needs, behaviors, and motivations empowers an employer to keep these employee goals front of mind alongside the business goals. When we intentionally cultivate empathy with employees, we can build better solutions informed by real people and real problems.

2. Make It Mobile First

As employees navigate a hybrid workplace, they should have a single place to access information about the office, make decisions about their workday, interact with their team, physically gain access to the building, and request amenities. This should be an app on a smart device.

3. Gather Data From Day 1

No one yet knows what kind of workspaces will be popular, effective, efficient, or productive. Quickly collecting and analyzing data about space utilization is key to making good decisions about which space types to build and which not to build, enabling owners to most efficiently use reduced footprints.

4. Don’t Impose

Data should be collected without additional burden or imposition on employees. Creating a frictionless experience means reducing both literal and figurative touch points so that employees are not being asked to add steps to existing processes or engage in additional activities that do not directly correlate to their productivity.

5. Respect Personal Privacy

Data should be collected with the utmost regard for employees’ personal privacy, and should—while being as specific as possible—be considered on a community rather than individual level. Facial recognition or demographic data collection should not be considered.

6. Reduce and Simplify

Technology for technology’s sake is costly and inefficient. If anything, systems and applications should be eliminated until there is minimal to no overlap in functionality—without creating gaps.

7. Break Down Silos

The best data is cross-functional: for instance, facilities systems can inform security; AV systems can inform facilities. The more internal organizations, systems, and applications that participate in a data pipeline program, the more internal organizations will benefit. Developing a common vision for a project/program is one of the most important aspects of a digital workplace strategy, as it provides a source of direction, inspiration, and motivation for cross-functional alignment. Project managers, service owners, and committed stakeholders alike should all have bought into and be able to communicate this common vision.

8. Secure The Network

While cloud-based systems are the most prolific and flexible, securing both the data stored in those systems and securing a firm’s own physical network is as important as individual personal privacy. No system that has not been properly vetted—based on a firm’s internal network and information security standards—should be specified.

9. Innovate Agnostically

There is no single, prescribed solution, vendor, or combination of vendors for any of the facets of the digital workplace strategy. Every firm has an existing portfolio of applications that should be prioritized, and when functionality needs to be added, there are a number of established, appropriate applications in every vertical. The selection of vendors, platforms, and applications should be based on the specific needs and desired outcomes of the client. Furthermore, not all solutions work best “out of the box.” Clients often require creativity to make use of existing systems and innovation to take integrated solutions to the next level.

TEECOM Can Help

TEECOM is helping companies formulate and implement digital workplace strategies, determining which technology systems are needed to support their future workplace. To continue the conversation, use the Contact TEECOM form at the bottom of the page.

Yuri Sumnicht
Yuri Sumnicht, CTS-D, CDT, DMC-D-4K, Q-SYS Level 2, Principal Consultant

With a background in theater sound design and a lifelong interest in audiovisual equipment, Yuri works with high-profile corporate clients in the design, procurement, and project management of AV systems. An expert in installation best practices and standards documentation, he excels at interpreting and articulating business requirements and addressing them with cost-effective technology solutions.