It takes work to build great digital workplaces — and more to get people comfortable in those new digital environments.

It starts with an intuitive, elegant user experience for intranets. 

The goal is to band distributed workforces together and merge the values of the physical working world with the digital one.

Mobility Is Reshaping Work

Igloo Software executives emphasized these points in the recent CMSWire webinar, "5 Steps to Build an Engaging Digital Destination."

“Mobility is reshaping the way organizations are designed today and the way we work,” said Aaron Davis, product marketing manager for Kitchener, ON-based Igloo Software, which provides intranet software.

“With mobile driving a more distributed organizational structure, the challenge lies within fostering the kind of company culture as if everybody were in the same place. How do we retain a unique culture as an organization when people are distributed around the globe in different time zones and different offices?”

Elevate the Employee Experience

To transform the workplace to an “engaging digital destination,” Igloo executives suggest elevating the experience. Provide users with a simple, intuitive and elegant user experience in your digital-workplace solutions, including your intranet.

“If it’s not a great experience for users, nobody is going to use it and you’re not going to get the engagement you want out of any kind of digital workplace solutions,” Davis said.

Employees should be comfortable with their solutions and consider it a place to be productive. “It should mirror what you would do in the physical world,” Davis said.

Stephen Rahal, vice president of product strategy at Igloo, noted that Hulu, an Igloo customer, has an effective intranet. The company conducted a focus group to gather insights from employees and get a better sense of the workplace culture, Rahal said, adding. “People have to opt in. You have to have people that want to do it. You can’t force them.”

Improve Communication, Collaboration

Organizations should create a central meeting place to keep work moving, as well as central meeting place to communicate, collaborate and manage knowledge.

Digital-workplace solutions should provide context to conversations, which, Davis said, “fosters faster decision-making” and brings transparency across workforce teams. 

“Communication is a key challenge as companies move through the growth phase,” he added. It’s about getting the right expertise at the right time and recognizing the “contextual nuances that make the difference between one course of action over another.” 

Embrace the App Ecosystem

Organizations that have the ability to integrate digital-workplace solutions with third-party consumer apps and services will thrive, Davis said. 

Businesses in digital transformations have to offer choice to their employees and provide flexibility. This means allowing the usage of platforms like Dropbox and integrating them with existing digital-workplace solutions.

Keep in mind security concerns, but provide options for employees to access third-party apps that help them get their jobs done. 

An intranet that works well with other applications is a complete solution, Rahal said.

Get Everyone on the Same Page

Align groups to a common objective: creating an exceptional employee experience.

Dan Latendre, CEO of Igloo Software, pointed out that teams within organizations need to have confidence in digital-workplace solutions and the way the company is governed.

“You have to make sure everyone can agree on what your objectives are,” Davis said.

Build for Today, Plan for Future

igloo webinar with cmswire

Choose a platform that is extensible, flexible and agile. 

“Don’t try to do too much at first — that could lead to under-utilization,” Davis said. “You are going to overwhelm employees and all stakeholders. Start with what you need today and make incremental changes.”

Solutions need to be fast to deploy and agile. 

“Pick a solution that is going to meet those future needs as well,” Davis said. “It helps you maximize your investment.”

Title image by Tim Gouw