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5 Challenges of Creating a Digital Workplace

digitalization workplace May 10, 2020

The need to remain relevant and competitive in the fast paced workplace has seen many organizations digitalize their systems and processes, complementing their established sales channels with multichannel experiences and transacting, shopping or engaging via the web. Thanks to mobile and cloud technologies, a wave of disruption has therefore engulfed businesses across industries, and with no one willing to take the risk of falling behind, this comes with a host of challenges when trying to create a digital workplace.

Defining a digital workplace

Digital transformation is now the backbone of businesses, and it entails closely interwoven business processes with cloud technologies, mobile, social, and analytics, in every aspect. In this regard, all the underway technologies or those already in use today within an organization, make up the definition of a digital workplace.

This would include applications used by HR, as well as those that are important to the business, such as instant messaging, tools for virtual meetings, social media channels, email, and so forth. Therefore, the workplace can no longer be limited by employees in a physical space. Communication and collaboration will continue to evolve beyond the natural onsite work groups and giving a boost to innovation, growth, and efficiency of virtual teams.

Why you need to adopt a digital workplace

Digitalization is largely driven by expectations of the modern workforce, with millennials expected to represent about 75% of the workforce by the year 2025. This group always have smartphones within reach, and their excitement is easily triggered by work styles that are not only flexible but also collaborative, and the convenience that comes with mobile experiences. Because of this preference, the expectations and experiences for the end-users are critical in determining which technological choices are made.

About 64% of employees would accept a smaller salary, as long as they can work from another place than the office. Digitalization is the way to attract such talents, and organizations whose online social networks are strong enjoy a 7% improved productivity. This translates to about 87% employee retention rates and a 20% increase in employee satisfaction.

Here are 5 challenges of creating a digital workplace:

  • Corporate culture: Sincere intentions thwarted by cultural resistance

One of the major deterrence of digitalization is the people within a company who are not ready to embrace multichannel capabilities and digital media. It, therefore, calls for time to introduce, develop and sustain a digital corporate culture especially since culture is not something that can be changed overnight with a simple memo from the CEO.

While leaders of a company may have sincere intentions of securing competitive advantage in the digital world, and in spite of investments in helping members acquire the necessary skills, the threat of cultural resistance is an ever present reality. Existing culture, a pursuit of new key behaviours with precision and sensitive nudging needs to be considered in addressing cultural resistance.

  • The mobile enterprise – integrating apps across all devices

Technological choices are a never-ending nightmare for both leaders of an organization and a myriad of end-users because there is no way of limiting tastes and preferences for users, coupled with the drawback of managing apps. While internet connectivity and availability of credit cards may not be a problem, IT departments within an organization have the uphill task of managing applications in on-premises and cloud environments.

  • Information security – compliance by organizations and compromising

In the face of content growth in organizations, poor management of documents and information is responsible for declined productivity by over 20%. The technicalities around securing information are an overwhelming venture for most companies, which are often confronted with the threat of legal actions, amidst regulatory concerns.

Businesses are gradually letting go of the thought of owning data centres, preferring to move to cloud services. To safeguard businesses against criminal proceedings, there is need to improve on mechanisms of data classification and management, and isolating private or personal information from that which is critical for the business. Developing a governance model that is friendly to mitigation of risks and maximizing connectivity will significantly improve strategies for your digital workplace.

  • Cost of modernisation – the question of sustainability

The options of remote working in a digital workplace will eventually save on operational costs, but the process of modernization is not without a hefty initial cost. The struggles of a limited IT budget, the benefits notwithstanding, are a painful reality in catching up with state of the art technologies. To fully implement an appropriate model calls for a well thought out roadmap. This will ensure that measurable returns are delivered, and that going forward the value is sustainable.

  • Lack of engagement of employees

Acquisition of tools is one thing, having the operational know-how and putting them into use is quite another. Towards this end, employees must clearly understand what is in it for them. According to a study by Deloitte, engagement was cited by 87% respondents as a leading challenge in digitally transforming workplaces. It is therefore vital that employees are progressively engaged from the very beginning.


The rapid evolution of digital workplaces calls for leveraging available technologies, even as developers keep innovating new ones. Effort should be put in overcoming every challenge, as the benefits far outweigh the challenges!


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