From workplace to employee experience

12 November 2018

engaged workplace

A digital workplace that places collaboration centrally is a requirement for keeping up with technological trends. A workplace such as this also adds weight in terms of employee satisfaction. The end user’s experience is extremely important these days. We’re a long way past simply meeting basic requirements; it’s time to go a step further.

Technological developments are coming thick and fast and changing the way we communicate and work. They even affect our actual work environment. By 2025, 75% of employees will be millennials – the generation that takes mobile working for granted. Social interaction, remote working and the blurring of lines between work and private life are normal and commonplace for them.

The employees of today are already waiting for the workplace of tomorrow, where structured and simple collaboration is a priority, all systems are connected together, and access to these systems is straightforward, whenever and wherever they are, on any device.

Change management is key

‘Suitable digital workplaces are always designed with the company’s strategic horizon in mind,’ explains David Steppe, Division Manager Engaged Workplace. ‘We rarely talk about products, and instead focus more on the longterm objective. A company that wants to make lots of international acquisitions has different workplace requirements from a company that needs to respond to developments in the market very quickly. We always translate this for the end user too, so it’s important to know what their needs and difficulties are. Only when stakeholders on the ground have been heard can projects be defined, always with full focus on user adoption to obtain maximum effect from the changes.’

Wrapped in cotton wool

Today’s employees want responsibility, freedom (of choice) and engagement. ‘To help companies meet these high demands, we’re working to develop a new Workplace-as-a-Service solution,’ says Steppe. ‘The aim is to set up a service that runs using a fixed template. When an employee signs a new contract, we take care of the IT-related side of things. We automatically create a work email address with the company name and give them access straight away. We also send them an email with a link to a personal portal for ordering materials. They are notified that they have an IT budget of €1200, for example, to put their own package together. Someone who works from home a lot might want a light laptop with an extra monitor, for instance. Then there’s a procedure to follow for selecting all the applications they want and need, so that they can be installed on their chosen devices. This order is sent to the distributors, who deliver everything to the new employee’s home a few days before they start work. Your new employee feels like they’ve been wrapped in cotton wool before they’ve even started work. An employee experience like this hasn’t really been seen on the market until now.’

This model approaches IT in the same way as a car policy: a choice is presented depending on the employee’s level, and we work out together what’s required per level. Someone in the financial department will need more processor power, for example. ‘But it doesn’t stop there,’ says Steppe. ‘We can also do end-to-end monitoring of the operations if desired. When we notice that someone’s email inbox is 80% full, for instance, we automatically ask if the data capacity needs increasing or together look to see where we can optimise the existing capacity.’

A team of individuals

Because each employee has a budget according to their level within the company, there’s clarity about what costs a digital workplace can incur. WPaaS is provided for a fixed amount per month. This means you don’t need the whole IT department to work on individual orders and getting all the various devices ready. Each employee also has devices with the right specifications for their role. But Steppe doesn’t think these are the most important aspects. ‘We all want to be part of a team where we collaborate and perform well. We also want to be able to identify with a company while retaining our own individuality, and this is a way of achieving that.

All companies ultimately just want the job to be done at the end of the day, and it doesn't matter what device it's done.

If an employee feels better working on a particular device, that always has a positive impact on their productivity. The employee is given the empowerment they’re feverishly looking for on the labour market.’

‘The time of Henry Ford is long since over,’ says Steppe. ‘He famously said that everyone can choose they car they want, as long as it’s black. That enabled him to set up his production process efficiently. But times have clearly changed; it doesn’t work like that anymore. IT equipment is consumer equipment now. It’s about experience, and this positive experience helps motivation. That should be a fundamental cornerstone of every good workplace.’

Give yourself time and space to think about the future

Time is scarce and can only be spent once. Operational tasks often require so much attention that the development of an innovation strategy is pushed forward every time in agendas. Together with Realdolmen as a partner, you can look at what you can do more and better if you do not have to worry about anything else. 

CoverENG.PNGRead all about it in our new SimplICiTy magazine, you can download below.

The following blogs also appeared in this series:

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