Digital Workplace: Out of Sight but Not Out of Mind, by Tim Hiscox Head of Digital Workplace


‘Teamwork makes the dream a reality…’ 

How many of you have this, or some similar motivational message, stuck on the wall in your office? A poster won’t make the dream come true, but mutual passion and kinship with your colleagues will.

Many research pieces have shown that those who genuinely like each other form much stronger teams and deliver better results across the business.

In the days of the digital workplace and remote working, it may also come as a shock to learn that some people still prefer coming into the office. For the younger generation, the so-called ‘digital natives’, the office is often also their social hub and their colleagues are their friends.

Not feeling part of the office environment can also cause real stress. It’s not just from the feeling of isolation, although that makes up a large part of it, remote working can in some circumstances foster feelings of persecution and missing out on career opportunities.

On the other hand, older workers appreciate the flexibility that mainly working from home gives them. The daily commute to the office becomes more and more of a grind as time goes on and they may regularly have sick children or elderly parents to look after as part of an increasingly busy life all of which requires a modern workplace that lets you fits work around life without compromising on productivity.

Connectivity has no boundaries

The key thing here is that there is no ‘one size fits all’ situation. We are all different and our priorities shift over time.

As collaboration and teamwork become more vital to the success of organisations, we must have the tools to connect with colleagues and clients seamlessly, as though they were in the same room. We must also understand that the broader range of communications tools such as social media, video, and chat that we now all use in our personal lives have a significant role to play in the workplace as well.

A successful communications policy is one that embraces multiple devices that can suit the needs of a diverse workforce, be it a tablet, mobile phone, laptop, or PC.

It means anyone should be accessible, from any location, at any time, as though they were sitting next to you in the office and that you can communicate with each other in the mode that most suites the circumstances or the content you need to share.

A familiar experience

We all know that employers also have a good reason for providing effective communication tools at work. They want to optimise real estate, reduce communications costs, reduce travel expenses, and maximise productivity and efficiency whilst ensuring security and compliance at all times.

When employees fail to use these tools for work, it’s usually because the user experience – compared to consumer platforms – is poor. User experience is one of the most powerful motivating forces in technology and people will always gravitate towards the tools they find most convenient and intuitive. 

This is why so many employees will turn to their consumer apps in the workplace if the solutions provided by IT don’t fulfill their needs. The use of new consumer tools in the workplace has risen significantly with platforms such as WhatsApp charting the unprecedented growth in these new communication channels.

This can be a nightmare for IT and Risk departments who are, rightly, concerned about the security impacts of unsecure communications and compliance issues in a world where regulatory bodies are coming down increasingly harder on data leaks and breaches of security in all organisations.

At Maintel, our mission is to help people connect, communicate, and collaborate effectively but always with complete observance of regulatory requirements. 

The carrot or the stick?

No company wants chaos. Corporate communications policies exist for a reason, not least to protect sensitive data. But businesses should make every effort to listen to users’ concerns about mandated communications platforms and do all they can to improve the experience even if that means continually developing the services they provide the user.

As well as platforms it is also really important that policies are completely clear on what’s acceptable and appropriate at work and what is not. Educating employees on how to use their technology is a crucial step to take to help ensure compliance and establish a greater security awareness amongst the workforce. 

Doing nothing is not the answer to the challenge of a more complex technological relationship. If we are serious about improving collaboration, building better relationships, stronger teams, and transforming into the digital workplace of today, companies need to offer modern tools to their employees.

So, it doesn’t matter if you’re in the office suited and booted or sitting at home, we’re all here to get the job done to the maximum satisfaction for both staff and employers. Let’s not get hung up on the technology and just make sure we can connect whenever, wherever, and however, we want…