You probably saw the term “Modern Workplace” in use more and more over the last year. That’s notable because, as employees have returned to their old workplaces, there is an understanding that they aren’t returning to the old ways of working.
Yes, employees are back in the office — but not always, and not always at the same time. The new workplace is much more fluid than before. As a result, we are still reliant on the digital workplace to keep everyone connected and aligned.
But there’s a shift happening.
It’s not just about the tech; it’s about weaving the tools strategically (including AI) into the fabric of our daily grind to nurture our teams, re-build culture, and drive extraordinary growth.
With employees traversing between the home office and their office at home, the new workplace needs to support the physical workplace that brings people together, and the digital tools that keep everyone connected when they are not.
Enter, the Modern Workplace.
What is the Modern Workplace?
The term Modern Workplace goes beyond the technology. It’s a holistic approach that focuses on the people, processes, and platforms, using the Digital Workplace as a foundation to drive organizational continuity and growth.
We do this by addressing 3 key organizational areas: employee/cultural expectations and experiences, governance and accessibility of technology, and the spaces where work is done.
- Employee/Cultural: The Modern Workplace is indicative of the evolving work culture that embraces flexibility, inclusivity, and collaboration. It’s about creating an environment that supports diverse work styles and preferences and meets the digital-first expectations of an increasingly younger workforce.
- Governance and Access: While technology is a part of the Modern Workplace, it’s integrated in a way that supports broad goals like employee engagement, data availability and security, and overall workplace satisfaction.
- Spaces: The Modern Workplace involves rethinking how physical and virtual spaces co-exist to create environments that are conducive to seamless communication, creativity, and collaboration regardless of where an employee gets their work done.
Where the Digital Workplace falls short
The Digital Workplace is a foundation for the Modern Workplace. The term ‘Digital Workplace’ became popularized during the pandemic, when companies were forced to support remote work — literally overnight. In many cases, technology teams rolled out digital solutions for communication, collaboration, and coordination, in a mad scramble to maintain continuity.
The tools implemented during this time were critical to centralizing and making information and data accessible and connected for workers. It also proved, once and for all, that remote work is a viable option.
But in working with companies leading up to, during, and after the pandemic, we have also witnessed some of the less ideal outcomes:
- Employees and teams, left to develop their own processes and strategies for how to use the tools, felt even more isolated and disconnected — largely defeating the purpose of those tools.
- Workers would “test out” a variety of virtual collaboration spaces, sometimes abandoning them and trying a different approach — a process that orphaned or duplicated data, making finding information incredibly challenging.
- In the absence of governed spaces, teams would purchase (and later be reimbursed for) their own cloud solutions to centrally host and manage their files for collaboration —outside of their organization’s jurisdiction. This practice, also known as “Shadow IT,” poses serious security and governance risks, and furthers the siloing and fragmentation of organizational knowledge.
Because the Digital Workplace is primarily concerned with the nuts-and-bolts of solving business problems through technology, it does not adequately address one of the most critical aspects of the business: the people. This includes work culture, expectations, and habits — the things that drive employees to utilize, adopt, and stay engaged with the tools — that need to be considered as part of the implementation process.
Simply put — having the tools isn’t always enough.
Putting a Modern Workplace into practice
Putting a Modern Workplace into practice requires a strategic approach that balances technology, culture, and organizational goals. It’s not just about deploying the latest tools; it’s about creating an ecosystem where people, process, and platforms harmoniously interact. Here are some key steps our Modern Workplace advisors take to achieve this:
- Understanding employee needs and expectations: What do your employees need and expect from the workplace? Our Discovery process digs in to engage and uncover insights on work habits, preferences, and challenges.
- Supporting flexible work policies: Flexibility is at the heart of the Modern Workplace. This means supporting both remote and in-office work to thrive seamlessly. Processes and workflows should be built to accommodate different roles and functional work environments.
- Investing in the right technology: Technology should solve your current needs in a scalable and adaptable way. Our role as Modern Workplace practitioners is to be the architects, developing solutions for communication, collaboration, and data sharing that serve future requirements too. It’s crucial to ensure these tools are user-friendly and accessible to all employees.
- Fostering a culture of collaboration and communication: Technology alone cannot build a Modern Workplace; it requires a cultural shift that starts with leadership. We can help build a change-management roadmap that fosters a culture of collaboration and better communication. Technology can play an important role too, through better team spaces, recognition, rewards, and even the ability to gamify digital experiences to drive engagement.
- Training and support: Comprehensive training programs ensure employees are comfortable and proficient with new technologies and work practices. We can provide training in Microsoft Teams, and SharePoint-based intranets, along with best practices, and ongoing support and resources for better change management to help employees adapt to the changing work environment.
Data security and compliance: With the increase in digital tools, data security becomes paramount. Implement governance , regular audits, and compliance checks to protect sensitive information and maintain trust.
- Measure, adapt, and evolve: Our team can help measure the effectiveness of your Modern Workplace initiatives through performance metrics, employee feedback, and business outcomes. Our roadmap process establishes a baseline for digital success, and continues to evolve as your strategies and business grow, and in response to new challenges and opportunities.
Microsoft and the Modern Workplace
As a Microsoft partner, StitchDX focuses on utilizing the breadth of tools in the Microsoft Cloud to build a Modern Workplace framework.
That means mapping your organizational needs not only to the tools — SharePoint, Teams, Outlook, OneDrive, etc. – but to the strategies, workflows, and best practices to optimize how, when, and why to use each tool effectively. Additionally, the evolution of AI is gearing up to be a big game-changer. Microsoft’s Co-Pilot solution is introducing functionalities that can position your business to thrive in this new era of work — if you know how to use them effectively.
The Modern Workplace is not static; it’s an evolving paradigm that reflects the changing needs of your organization and the expectations of your employees. It’s a commitment to continuous improvement and innovation in the way we work and collaborate — but with a people-focused approach that makes it more effective and able to stand the test of time.
If this has gotten you thinking about your shift from a Digital to a Modern Workplace, reach out to us. Our team can provide you a free assessment to determine where you are, and help build a roadmap to success.