Digital workplaces are receiving a lot of attention at the present moment. I for one am looking forward to the next edition of the Digital Workplace Trends report from Jane McConnell. It’s still not too late to take part and the survey will ask you some questions about your organisation and its plans for which you may not yet have good answers. A while back I mentioned in a blog post that I had seven important questions that I felt that organisations should be able to answer if they were on course to a digital workplace future. I use them as test questions, usually just one or two, to gauge the depth of understanding an organisation has about digital workplace development and management.
I included the seven questions in a presentation I gave to the JBoye 2014 Aarhus conference. A slightly revised list is given here in case they are of value in assessing your digital workplace strategy.
- Are suppliers and customers able to access your corporate information repositories and collaboration areas?
- Have you carried out a survey of how cooperative working is carried out that highlights any requirements for better training and support?
- How certain are you that employees can quickly find the information they need, and then trust it when they have found it?
- Do you certify skills in virtual team management, distinguishing between skills for participation and skills for leadership?
- Do you have information management policies that are approved at Board level and owned by the business, not IT?
- Have you taken account that digital work takes place inside physical spaces, not just in your organisation but in other locations?
- Do job performance interviews, engagement surveys and exit interviews in your organisation include a review of how well employees are managing their digital working environment?
There are of course many more issues than these involved in digital workplace development but these are seven which I find most organisations are not able to respond to with a considered answer.
To expand on a few of these, in Q2 I have deliberately used the term cooperative working, not collaborative working. Work can be managed cooperatively but need not be collaborative. There is a well-developed discipline of computer-supported cooperative working that many information and knowledge managers are unfamiliar with. Q7 is about the issues of information privacy, which is not the same as data privacy. There is a very good 80 page report on information privacy from office equipment manufacturer Steelcase once you’ve registered on the site. Moving on to the question about where digital work takes place an issue that is almost always overlooked when considering mobile device access is how documents are going to be viewed or printed.
Of course there is far more to a digital workplace than just these seven topics, and one of the benefits of taking part in the Digital Workplace Trends survey is that you are able to benchmark yourself at a vertical industry sector level. So I present these questions as a more informal benchmark. If you need help developing good solutions to increase the number of positive responses you give please let me know.