under the milky way
Digital workplaces give companies an opportunity to harness the potential chaos emitting from multiple workforce trends PHOTO: Greg Rakozy

Approximately 13.8 billion years ago, a sudden and violent explosion created our universe from a point of infinite density and temperature. It’s hard to imagine a more chaotic beginning, but from that tumultuous explosion emerged the world as we know it. 

The business universe is currently undergoing its own, minor version of the big bang, with rapid expansions, dramatic collapses, considerable pressure and unpredictable outcomes. What we need is a mechanism to capture this energy and momentum and take advantage of opportunities within the chaos in a deliberate way, without falling victim to it. 

A digital workplace is the answer to this challenge.

The Human Element

In business, just like in our universe, every element plays a part — from sociable carbon to mysterious mercury. Ensuring your human elements are informed, engaged, able to connect and form effective task-based teams is essential for organizational success, both in delivering day to day outcomes and in incubating supernova ideas.

In a study on effective teams, Google researchers found that what really mattered was less about who was on the team, and more about how the team worked together — with psychological safety the most important attribute.

In a team with high psychological safety, teammates feel safe to take risks around their team members. They feel confident no one on the team will embarrass or punish anyone else for admitting a mistake, asking a question or offering a new idea.

A digital workplace with an effective social collaboration function builds both engagement and psychological safety by showing staff members that their ideas are heard and valued.

The increasing ubiquity of millennial staff members adds another element of complexity, with the necessity of appealing to multiple priorities and ways of working. Businesses can effectively deliver frequent feedback and recognition, social communication, mobile access and alignment with organizational values via an integrated digital workplace to build employee engagement and create a platform that harnesses new perspectives and ideas without alienating other generations.

The (Social) Space Race

People have long been fascinated with galaxies beyond our own but only those with the right mix of ingenuity and focus will conquer this next frontier. In this time of disruption, businesses cannot reasonably expect to grow or even be viable in the next five years without innovation, creating more efficient ways of working, better client solutions and new applications for existing technologies.

A digital workplace plays an important part in creating and nurturing a culture of innovation, exposing staff to new developments and information, encouraging discussion and giving innovation the chance to germinate.

Using an integrated social tool, senior team members can cascade updates on environmental developments, opportunities and threats in a relevant and immediate way. Staff members can then share innovative solutions with colleagues for feedback, crowdsource problems, explore new ideas and receive answers across departmental silos.

Enterprise social is a key ingredient in forming and enhancing connections, relationships and trust amongst employees, allowing for engagement and an increased likelihood of serendipitous discovery and collaboration.

In geographically dispersed workplaces, there is no choice. Teams need platforms to connect across latitudes and time zones in order to collaborate, share expertise and ideas.

Stay Grounded With Governance

Gravity is the driving force of our galaxy, a constant and predictable influence holding us all to the earth and the earth to the sun. 

Governance is the gravity of the enterprise, countering the sometimes arbitrary influences of environment, regulation and competitors and allowing thoughtful, strategic response as well as guiding proactive organizational development. 

When effectively written and clearly communicated, the policies and procedures within an organization govern its many moving parts, imposing order over chaos and reducing risk exposure.

Is your company’s gravity strong enough? Without effective governance, the universal chaos can filter through an organization, prompting knee-jerk responses, inconsistent customer experience and a crippling lack of direction. 

An effective guiding hand is essential for binding your teams to the company vision. And unlike gravity, governance's strength relies on effective planning and communication, not simple mass.

Taming the Workplace Chaos 

While the ancient momentum from the big bang continues to push our universe further apart, technology gives us the power to bring people closer together. The power to create a workplace outside a central office, where information is accessible and trustworthy, where ideas are shared and debated, where the C-suite can interact with the front line and where work gets done faster with less frustration is within reach.

Your digital workplace is not just a staff directory with the odd post from Comms about Friday’s charity morning coffee. It’s an opportunity to build and channel the energy of your organization, to exploit the chaos instead of letting it win.