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The road to the Modern Workplace – talking through the key issues

Empired was one of the sponsors of the Digital Workplace Summit held last week on a bright and beautiful Sydney day.

Digital Workplace Summit Sydney

We were one of the few, if not the only technology service provider sponsoring the event. That’s because we believe that the change people desire to see in their workplaces is about much more than just deploying a technology product or platform.

Instead, it is how these tools can enable people to work smarter and more flexibly in a secure manner.

Attendees took part in some great discussions, many of which centred around the challenges faced by individuals in organisations trying to develop and deliver a more modern workplace experience for their employees.

Five pain points

It wasn't surprising to hear that many people we spoke with were facing the same types of challenges. I can group them into five main categories:

  1. Lack of leadership – Many laughed about this, but in the nervous way we laugh at things that are serious and dangerous. Nearly everyone articulated some issue where they felt that with clearer and stronger leadership, they would be able to overcome their challenges.
  2. Too much choice – People felt overwhelmed with too much choice of products and services, which were ever changing. They felt paralysed by the need to make the right choice for something “big”.
  3. Budget Constraints / Proof of value –  Many organisations didn’t have budget to transition to a modern workplace. Where budget was available, there was often an inability to articulate the business value of a workplace transformation. Many felt that the constraints also applied to change management and training, limiting the potential for the transformation to become embedded.
  4. Fear of the Unknown / Resistance to Change – The fear of change is always a concern, but some felt their value to their organisations was to be agents of change and not just support technology implementers. Some felt that being champions of finding smarter and more productive ways of working was what they wanted to do, but their organisation wasn’t geared up to support that type of activity.
  5. Ability to implement – There was a lot of self-doubt, not necessarily in the people attending, but of their perception of their organisations’ ability to implement the change needed. This ability ranged from the buy-in and resources given to the transformation, to the attention of key decision makers and the capabilities of inhouse staff.

We created a number cards which outlined some common challenges - on one side of the card we put a common challenge like "lack of leadership", or "ability to implement" and then on the other side of the card we outlined some simple tips that could help people take a small step towards remedying this problem. Here's an example with one of the cards:

Common challenge cards

We organised a Round Table with about 25 attendees, where we split into 4 groups, and discussed first the problems we were individually facing in our respective workplaces. We then shifted gears to thinking about simple things we could do to take the next step towards fixing the problem.

Talking through the issues

After working with some of our round table attendees, I can make a few observations:

Nearly everyone was at different levels of maturity, and at different stages of their journey. While the common problems we outlined resonated with many, there were subtle differences in the detail and context of each person’s organisation.

There was a mixture of problems, and the problems had different levels of impact. Some attendees also struggled to articulate their problems initially, but as the group warmed up things began to flow and we started getting to the heart of the issues.

The solutions we came up with were often quite simple, just a nudge in a different direction, or an idea of how to think about things a bit differently. We had an initial hypothesis that while we couldn't solve some of the big problems through a session like this, we might be able to make some small suggestions or contribution towards another step down a transformation journey. What made this more interesting was that we were able to harness the collective wisdom of each group.

Which brings us back to our original point in all of this - products and platforms are only part of the story. They rarely fix the underlying problems and can make things more complicated. A more holistic understanding of your problems is the right starting point because it is from this vantage point, of really understanding what is wrong, that we can find a path through.

 

This post is part of the Modern Workplace blog series. At Empired we have great depth of experience in helping organisations on their journey to creating a modern workplace. Talk to us to find out how we can help you get started.

Your work, your way, securely

Posted by: Chris Dury, Practice Manager, Digital Advisory | 09 September 2019

Tags: Digital Transformation, Digital Workplace, Collaboration, Modern Workplace, #workyourwaysecurely


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