What even is a Digital Workplace and Why Should I Still Care?
Okay, let’s start with the good news.
After years of uncertainty, it feels like we may be getting a little more normality, or at the very least, predictability in our processes again. Gone are the days of whipped coffee and scheduled family walks to combat stress. We’ve started to see our friends more and stay inside less. As the vaccinated population rises and the case numbers lower, we can’t help but wonder “what does that mean for the modern workforce”?
Despite things starting to feel more normal, it doesn’t seem like we’re fully going back to pre-pandemic existence. In our interview with Helena Merk, CEO and Co-Founder of Glimpse, she mentioned that virtual meetings are here to stay. She should know, her virtual meeting software was created and released before the pandemic forced all of us online.
It’s not a secret that many companies are eager to get back to the pre-pandemic society. Managers want to, well, be able to manage people again. Owners want to have everyone under one roof again, a return to the office and return to normal. So what’s the problem? That is where we meet the great divide.
Most of us have already heard about The Great Resignation. A lot of employees are reporting that they do not want to return to the office. They want to continue the luxuries of avoiding rush hour traffic during commutes, wearing pyjama pants all day long, and not having to smell the questionable and inedible items left in shared fridges. Can you blame them?
In Microsoft’s 2021 report, 73% of employees surveyed expressed a desire for flexible remote work options post-pandemic. A study by Mural uncovered 67% of workers surveyed would forgo a $30,000 raise for the ability to continue working from home. That’s huge, and employers should be paying attention.
“So they want to leave? Just let them leave”, you think to yourself. It’s not as simple as that. As a business optimization firm, we know the costly challenges that occur when recruiting and onboarding. The process is disruptive- not in the fun, evolving, Botree way- and takes time and resources that would be better spent elsewhere. If you’ve got good people on your team, you should do whatever it takes to keep them engaged. Today, that means fostering workplace culture with a digital first approach.
Depending on the wants and needs of your team members, there’s a pretty high chance that hybrid and remote workplaces will be here to stay. Sure, some of you are already completely dismissing this idea. The proof is in the numbers. If you want to retain your talented team, you need to provide that flexibility. If you can’t, there’s a chance you could lose team members.
Take a moment to examine why you are so hesitant to embrace hybrid and virtual work. Did you find it difficult to manage a virtual workplace? Pull out the majority of your hair over tech troubles? Catch one of your coworkers taking a power nap during a presentation? That’s where Botree’s suite of digital first services comes into play.
So, what is a digital first workplace?
According to Mural, “truly effective hybrid teamwork requires much more than installing high-quality mics in every conference room or scheduling virtual team building activities. Instead, it involves a complete rethinking of your entire work environment to be digital from start to finish”.
A digital first workplace asks you to think of your online workspace, not your office, as your HQ. No matter where each team member is located, you’re all in the same place with a digital workplace. That means that businesses can now hire the most qualified employees, regardless of their geographical location. It also means, if you’re anything like Botree’s Senior Advisor, you could work from any tropical destination.
Early in the pandemic, we started offering our Virtual Facilitation service. Let’s face it; we’re all pretty tired of traditional Zoom meetings. As a leader, running a meeting can be stressful. You’re worried about your internet connection and getting your message across. You don’t have the time or capacity to worry about making the meeting engaging and providing tech support to participants.
Our goal with Virtual Facilitation is t be your supportive sidekick in virtual meetings, providing help, activities, new technology, and stress-free solutions. Setting up your virtual meeting? We do that. Helping with technical issues? We do that. Creating virtual icebreaker activities and increasing engagement in your virtual meeting while also gleaning valuable insights from every attendee? You guessed it- we do that too.
Over the last year, Botree has had to rethink the way we see digital. It started with our Virtual Facilitation offerings and has grown with us through the last year. As we progressed and learned, we integrated more features to our digital workplace.
Recognizing a need with a growing team, we created internal guidelines for communication. Tasks go to inboxes, quick chats can be used to ask questions, group chats to keep everyone in the know, and even a “water cooler room” where notifications can be turned off and we can have those essential non-work related conversations.
This may be a controversial statement to some of you, but we believe that those “non-work related” conversations are essential for productivity. It helps our team members feel connected and understand each other better. A study by Harvard Business Review found that 39% of respondents feel the greatest sense of belonging when their colleagues check in with them, both personally and professionally. By having a space where those conversations can happen, you are also creating a space for your team members to build healthy relationships with each other.
Switch Evergreen to Living
In the before times, documents were created with the hopes of being evergreen. These documents were supposed to have longevity and accurately reflect your process. Often, these documents were created to be cost-effective with printing and the time it would take to actually make them. The reality is that things change often, and you shouldn’t feel limited by an evergreen document. Let us introduce you to the more efficient solution: living documents.
Living documents are constantly shifting and evolving with the needs of an organization. They allow for collaboration, meaning everyone can be involved. We use Google Docs, Mural, Canva, and more to collaborate on sustainable documents together. When we went through our branding this year, we were easily able to update the wording on all of our documents. Living documents help you break out of the restricting idea of evergreen and empowers you to evolve your business.
The Choice is Yours
It’s time to challenge our traditional thinking and find opportunities to grow. The choice is yours; go back to normal, or to go forward into the future. Whatever you choose, Botree has solutions to fit your workplace and help you engage and upskill your team members.