Andrew Burns
Andrew Burns Managing Director
28 July 2019

3 ways your workplace can support your digital transformation

Keeping pace with digital technology is one of the most common survival strategies in business. It has the power to elevate businesses to a whole new level. But digital transformation isn’t just about having the latest tech. It’s about having the right people and the right workplace to help make it a success.

Business transformation is typically about improving efficiencies, growing productivity, and boosting that bottom line. But it’d be remiss to think brand-new IT systems and state-of-the-art equipment could solve deep business issues, and be responsible for driving success. Yet so many companies do.

Research shows that more than 80% of businesses have undertaken large-scale digital change in the past five years in an effort to keep up with trends or outperform their competitors*. But for the vast majority (>84%), these transformations failed to improve performance or sustain any gains*. Sadly, you don’t have to look far to find more of these tales of ‘digital-first’ woes.

But this trend tells us something very valuable. It tells us that having all the right tech means nothing if it’s in the wrong environment. But if your workplace is aligned with the digital strategy, the money invested on digital infrastructure won’t be wasted. Business issues can be solved, performance elevated, and improvements sustained for the long-term.

So how can a workplace support digital transformation? By first doing these three things, and getting them right.

1.  Invest in people

For companies, staff is the biggest cost on most balance sheets. So it makes sense to get the right people in place to drive your business goals and make your transformation work. This includes hiring (and keeping) the best in the biz.

In a competitive market, getting top talent can be easier said than done. More than ever, companies have to sell themselves to attract the best candidates. I’m not talking about free perks and fashionable furniture. It’s about offering people a workplace that works for them, supports their wellbeing, and the work they do.

When it does, you won’t have to do much selling at all. Your workplace will do it for you.

2.  Invest in your workspace

The restrictions that come with a traditional office design can get in the way of a business changing for the better – blocking innovation, new ideas and technology. No matter how much money goes into trying to make it work, success barely stands a chance. But with the right office design, it’s a whole different story.

Where hierarchical offices limit learning and development, and closed-off desks create silos, offices promoting Activity Based Working allow people to talk, share and collaborate. People can focus in quiet spaces, come together as teams, or find calm places to rest, recharge and revive. The workplace is designed around people, for people to do their best work.

Rolling out a digital strategy in an environment designed around this sort of flexibility, agility and connectedness is a smart place to start.

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"Having all the right tech means nothing if it’s in the wrong environment"

Plan for lasting success

While putting ‘digital first’ in a digital transformation strategy makes absolute sense, it’s also worth considering if your people and workplace are able to help make the whole transition a success.

After all, businesses rely on people and workplaces to do well, not just technology on its own. Putting these first and get them right before bringing digital change into the equation can make all the difference. That way, you’ll have a workplace that’s ripe for innovation, sells your company to the best talent and clients, and sets you up for lasting success.

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