Before we get into the digital workplace in Europe review and its digital technologies, let’s take a look at what is a digital workplace.
What is a workplace
Workplace is a word that describes a place, usually physical, where employees went to work in. For thousands of years, it has only referred to a physical space where people come and work.
Even today when someone mentions a workplace, the first idea that comes to anyone’s mind is a physical place. The place where employees come to work, the work and the state of the workplace depending on the scape of the place.
However, as of now, the definition of that word has begun to branch out, having more meaning than just a physical workplace. Due to technology, such as computers and the internet, becoming such an integral part of any growing business, we now have the Digital Workplace.
Starting from the computer that keeps the accounts for sales at a grocery store, to a multi-billionaire company that has large servers and networks storing information worth billions of dollars. this is the digital workplace.
What is a digital workplace
To define the digital workplace, it would be to say a digital workplace includes all technologies that employees use to get work done. This can range from complex software, to even social media.
Any environment where people are contributing towards work digitally counts. This even includes people who work from their homes using computers and other mobile devices in the fields of freelance, blogging and social media management.
In simple words, anything that falls under the digital world and is used in a professional context by people, makes up a digital workplace.
So, an online network where employees upload their work, like a cloud storage for example, or a person working from their home for an organization, are one of the many cases where you can define the process with the words ‘digital workplace’.
What is the impact of the Digital Workplace in Europe?
The European Commission has reported a study about the impact of information and communication technologies and how they perform jobs and skills. The report goes to show that all types of jobs have integrated digital technologies within their infrastructure, which goes to include even farming.
The digital technologies and economy are transforming the working industry and almost every job is beginning to require some degree of digital knowledge. The Companies that have implemented a digital workplace in Europe within their infrastructure are very satisfied with the results.
Their results in turn have encouraged other companies to implement it within their systems as well. This leads to a whole landscape coming into existence.
According to statistics from the report, the digital scale in workplaces is as big as:
- Desktop Computers – 93% of workplaces are using desktop computers.
- Broadband Internet – 94% of workplaces are using the broadband internet technology
- Portable devices – 75% of workplaces use portable computers and 63% are using other portable devices, such as phones and tablets.
- Intranet – Around 22% of workplaces are using the intranet platform
- Automated Machinery – 8% of the workplaces are using automated machines and tools for their processes
- Programmable robots – 5% of the workplaces have programmable robots for their work
With such a massive amount of technology being used and adopted by companies throughout Europe, it is only natural that digital skills are now an important aspect of employment. Companies are demanding basic digital skills.
These basic digital skills include: the ability to use emails and social media, the ability to manage documents, the ability to research for information, and the ability to manage cloud storage.
Approximately 90 to 98% of workplaces require their managers and other professional workers should have the aforementioned basic digital skills. Only some lines of work today don’t require some form of digital knowledge, for example, waiters, craft workers or cooks.
But even within these workplaces, there is some form of a digital workplace present, such as within the management or in the accountability of sales and resources.
The majority of companies and smaller establishments in Europe have shifted towards digital workplaces in some form in order to be up-to-date within the business world.
As a result, their businesses and workflow have received improvements as the digital world brings an array of opportunities.
Such as, an easier exposure towards the consumers, and having a combined digital workplace throughout different branches of a company helps them stay synced with each other.
Not only in Europe but world-wide, companies with digital technologies have also reported improvements within communications and collaboration between employees.
This is because the digital workplace provides a virtual space for teammates. It is easy for them to know what is going on within the organization and they can remain up-to-date with all the changes, requirements and issues.
This makes it easy to communicate, understand and solve everyday situations more efficiently.
Having so much information at your finger-tips also makes it more convenient, as employees do not have to rely on memory or convoluted documents, and instead can have the information and instructions that they need present to them digitally.
Digital workplaces also open the door to mobile or remote experiences, which is a flexible option for employees who are not comfortable with a physical work environment or has an incovenience having to travel to a physical workplace.
These employees work better from their houses or another space of their preference, which in turn helps companies hire these people who, otherwise, wouldn’t be able to work for them.
A common example of such people are freelancers and bloggers, who are a part of an exclusively-digital workplace and work from their own environments.
Another example is parents of small kids and need to take care of the needs of their kids or employees that live a distance from the workplace and need to travel.
Yet, the work done benefits the companies just as much as an employee physically attending their company would.
Having more options and flexibility is something beneficial to both the employees and the company itself, and it is being normalized more and more by organizations in time.
Where is the Digital Workplace heading in Europe?
While the digital workplace has had a slow start, the progress has been significant. We are seeing amazing spikes in digital technologies being adopted more and more within companies and even common workplaces.
Today, it’s considered an extremely important aspect of any successful business and it continues to evolve every day.
Companies with annual revenues between 450,000 and 900,000 Euros have saved as much as 36,000 Euros per year by switching to digital documentation over physical paperwork.
It also provides more efficiency within work. Saving up to nearly 6000 hours per year, better productivity, less cases of misfiling or workflow issues.
It even contributes to the environment, as paper is no longer used.
Workplaces that still use paperwork are starting to switch towards paperless solutions and we will reach a time where paper is a rare thing to see.
Speaking of efficiency, besides making it more convenient for the company itself and its employees, it has also made it more convenient for consumers.
Consumers can benefit from the digital aspects of a company.
For example, it is easier to direct a customer directly to a single web page with all the manuals, guides and FAQs that the customer needs to see. Something that would be extremely difficult to provide over the phone otherwise.
Having digital technologies implemented within companies provides a competitive benefit to the company:
- Can save money through resources
- Are able to share and manage information quickly
- They are able to communicate more conveniently and remaining in sync with the employees
- Can provide a better customer experience using digital tools
- Are able to hire people who work from personal spaces and other things such as remote working.
There are emerging technologies being worked on everyday within the world of digital technology.
They continue to improve the business world and the convenience and profits of organizations as they are perfected.
Technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, programmable robots and predictive insights help companies make more accurate product development, decision-making, marketing and distribution. In this way organizations can implement and develop new business models.
The digital workplace continues to evolve and is rapidly changing the way we see a workplace, and how companies and employees do their work.
The smart organizations will evolve their workplaces with the emerging technologies and become bigger and better.
The ‘digital workplace’ term is becoming more and more common with time. It will prove challenging for some organizations, companies and businesses to adopt the process, but with a well-executed implementation, it will prove very beneficial in the end.
Finland takes the lead
According to the Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI) by the European Commission, Finland takes the lead for digital workplaces within Europe.
Sweden, the Netherlands, Denmark and the United Kingdom come after Finland in the top five list of biggest digital workplace numbers.
Followed by Luxembourg, Ireland, Estonia and Belgium.
Finland is ranked highly because of its extensive usage of cloud computing services, digital economy competitiveness, high broadband connectivity, citizens’ digital literacy, and a general use of digital software and hardware within its businesses.
The digitally able businesses within Finland are outperforming their competition in every industry and the majority of CEOs of big companies prioritize digital technologies on a large scale.
They are on par with the global top companies and organizations in their strategic directions, engaging external sources and for successfully applying emerging technologies without waiting for years.
Regarding the Digital Workplace implementation, Finland is the most successful country within Europe as of now.
It is the place where most progress in the future is expected. Thanks to its successful implementation and excellent digital economy.
Finland’s goals for achieving its digital workplace in Europe
The main goals for implementing digital technologies in Finnish businesses are:
- Customer Relationships – Digital technologies have changed how businesses interact with their customers. They now expect a closer relationship with companies. So, using the digital workplace in regards to improving services that directly affect the customers is one of the most important aspects. Such as harnessing data for the customer’s interactions and insights with the company. In addition, delivering customer experiences that are professional and also personalized for every individual.
- Empowering the employee – Developing a closer relationship with employees and providing them a more flexible environment. By protecting them, creating a productive workplace that embraces diverse working styles and providing them insights for better and synced decision making.
- Implementing Digitalization – Using digitalization to transform the way products and services are processed is an important priority. This can be achieved by using the data gathered from hindsight to foresight, new business models and better identifying revenue opportunities.
- Optimizing Processes – Finally, everything that has been implemented, whether directed at the customer or towards the employees, or any processes, optimizing is vital. Optimizing all of that is extremely important in order to guarantee a healthy workflow and a proper implementation of the digital technologies within the workplace. The responsiveness of the business, improving services and reducing any potential costs and predicting the future with intelligent statistics and other tools such as artificial intelligence, are among the main processes that every company must adopt and work through. This ensures that the company remains stable with all of the new changes.
What about other countries in Europe
The lowest score on the country ranking within Europe is Bulgaria, followed closely by Poland, Greece and Romania.
The reason for that is, the fact that these countries generally have poor economies, so resources are harder for companies to adopt and implement.
As well as the fact that digital literacy for their citizens are not as high as with other parts of Europe.
In addition, as mentioned earlier, even jobs such as farming require basic knowledge and skills regarding digital technologies in the markets where digital workplaces and technologies are more mainstream.
So due to these aspects, the digital economy and implementation of technologies lag behind in these countries and it will take a lot of time for them to catch up.
In conclusion, through all the statistics and a logical understanding of businesses, technologies and the ‘digital workplace’, it is easy to see how important the digital workplace has become for every business whether within Europe or globally.
It is also significant to note how every business and organization and even smaller establishments that have successfully implemented digitalization within their workplaces, have gathered a much higher amount of profits in comparison to those who are lagging behind.
Whether people are willing to move onto digitalization or not, it is impossible to deny the fact that it is our future.
The digital workplace will continue to evolve with time. Its emerging technologies and its disruptions, without any doubt, will continue to shape the future of the business world.