JB HOMER Retained Executive Search, specializing in executive search for technology and operations talent in a global market

In this issue of the President's Letter, Jeff discusses:

The Digital Workplace:
How it Impacts a Growing Remote Workforce

Judy Homer
President, JB Homer Associates

Recent reports state that almost four million employees work remotely for at least half of their work week, and as a result more companies are adopting a Digital Workplace model. Courtesy of the Internet of Things (IoT), many tasks and functions have been digitized through the utilization of Mobile Devices, Smart Watches, Google Docs, Real-Time Messaging, Social Media, and Virtual Video-Conferencing, which are all centered on the idea of having instantaneous and constant interaction.

As the workplace continues to move to this model, companies may see less of a compelling need to have workers physically communicate and collaborate in a traditional workplace setting. Distance will no longer be a factor, allowing colleagues and clients in different cities, regions, and countries to come together and work virtually as one, and the reduction in commuting and travel expenses will provide a cost-effective benefit as well.

Not only has digital communication been increasing, but so has data sharing. Massive amounts of information are able to be accessed from the Cloud, making this stockpile of data available to employees globally in real-time.

Despite these benefits, there are also potential drawbacks about the move to a Digital Workplace. One concern is that human interaction will be lost through digital communication due to the traditional mindset that face-to-face meetings are still the most productive and powerful way to communicate. Another concern is with the way data is correlated and stored on a mix of business and personal IoT devices, as this information could more easily become a target of cyber theft. Also, there's the question of how the productivity, performance, and motivation of remote workers can be measured.

The evolution of the Digital Workplace clearly presents new opportunities for expansion and efficiency, which could prove to be extremely beneficial in an increasingly competitive business environment. Its successful adoption requires fostering a culture of collaboration and people's willingness to change the way they work and interact. Even as companies can change their technologies and processes, without addressing the human element, lasting change will not happen.

How does the Digital Workplace today make it more compelling to work remotely than it was in the past, and how can companies measure productivity?

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