Digitalising the workspace brings changes with it. Generally speaking, people often have trouble with change. For you as a decisionmaker in a company, the benefits have probably been clear to you for a while now. Subsequently, you have to convince your colleagues of these benefits. I would like to help you to make this process go as smoothly as possible. This article offers a roadmap consisting of five steps for a smooth adoption process of the digital workspace.
Digital workspace versus social intranet
The digital workspace came to exist because of the continued development of the social intranet. A social intranet mainly focuses on communication with and between employees. The digital workspace however focuses on making work processes more efficient, including the social intranet. This way, a digital workspace includes many aspects of the social intranet. It is even capable of replacing the social intranet entirely.
Inspired on a diagram made by Digital Workplace expert Sam Marshall at ClearBox Consulting: https://www.slideshare.net/sammarshall/digital-workplace-mm-sam-marshall-clear-box-d
Duration of the adoption
During your orientation on digital workspaces, the adoption process already begins. I have seen numerous adoption processes myself. From consultancy firms with sixty employees, to health care institutions with thousands of employees.
For an entire implementation and adoption, I would count on three to twelve months. The exact duration of this process is, of course, largely dependent on the complexity and comprehensiveness of the implementation. I will explain to you what you should be doing during this time, step by step.
Step 1. Preparation
The first steps of the adoption already start previous to the purchase. If you involve the people in your organisation in the choice for a digital workspace, there is a bigger chance that it will be accepted. For small to medium sized companies, it’s an option to put together an adoption panel, which would consist of innovators and laggards.
Innovators are people who accept new technologies. Laggards are people who are less keen on change. For large organisations it’s best to map the wishes of their employees with surveys throughout the entire company. This way, employees are also being prepared for the upcoming changes.
Step 2. Technical implementation
Now that you have gathered feedback, naturally it’s important to listen to it. The comments from innovators and laggards offer many benefits, because it enables you to directly add value for those that are going to end up working with it. To accomplish this, you schedule multiple sessions:
First session: Gather feedback for the design of the digital workspace
Second session: Present draft of the digital workspace and gather feedback
Third session: Present modified digital workspace
During the technical implementation you can integrate primary processes. Here you could think of time registration and mileage registration, which would increase the adoption. But you can also integrate new tools, like chats. Because of functions like these in digital workspaces, employees are able to communicate quicker.
Technical implementations in organisations
Take, for example, an accountancy firm that implemented a chat function into their digital workspace. Because of this chat, the number of employees who visited customers was cut in half. Nowadays there is always a group of specialists on stand-by in the chat. These specialists don’t have to accompany their sales people anymore, because they can support their colleagues from the sales department from a distance if they get any specific questions from customers.
Another method is integrating parts of the social intranet into the digital workspace. Adoption would be increased and combined with the access to documents, mail and applications from any device. Many organisations start off with simplifying access to applications. After which you would visualise the information and simplify the work processes. Some other organisations immediately integrate all components to show every employee the value of the digital workspace.
Step 3. Gentle introduction
To introduce a new, digital workspace, you start with releasing a ‘test version’. You send both images and videos of the new workspace to everyone in the company. With this you also post the comments of the first group, the innovators and the laggards and start testing it to discover the areas that could use improvement.
Thereupon you record videos with this group and you create images of both the department specific and the function specific benefits of the new digital workspace. If the test panel is working with your new digital workspace, you’ll quickly discover how people deal with it and you can start mapping the practices for the entire organisation.
Step 4. Deployment throughout the organisation
Dependent on the size of your organisation, it’s wise to schedule training or walk-in sessions. At these sessions you can introduce the new way of working. Members of the test panel can also share their experiences and what they’ve learned. You can additionally impart this information in the form of a video or user manual. Below you can see an example of an instruction video for an adoption process. Be aware with these types of videos to keep them short!
The trainings are especially focused on the changes in the working method of an organisation. The digital workspace has to be very uncomplicated, i.e. that someone who starts working at the organisation a month later should be able to learn the work process from their colleagues in a natural manner.
Digital workspace evangelists
Besides training sessions, you introduce a digital workspace evangelist for each team. People will be directed to this person when they have questions about or problems with the new system. By discussing with the evangelist and making them responsible for the adoption at a specific department, is the fastest way to adopting the digital workspace. This way you exploit all the advantages.
You can also support the evangelist yourself by sharing weekly tips and tricks. On their turn they can share these tips and tricks with their team. This way you keep the communication lines short within your organisation.
Step 5. Feedback and adjustments
When every team has an evangelist, there will be a lot of feedback coming in. Make sure that the evangelists can easily fill out a form with this feedback, so that everything is compiled in one place. On the form you let them fill out the received feedback and its priority.
Use this feedback to optimize the digital workspace. You would possibly want to adapt some documentation or videos because of the feedback. Do you only receive feedback you can’t use? Discuss this with the developers of the workspace. In many cases they can support you with resolving these kinds of challenges.
Launching your digital workspace
There will always be colleagues who don’t like change. They have been working a certain way for years, why would they change? Make sure that this is clear and choose a digital workspace that suits your employees.
Do you have any tips or good examples of an adoption process for the digital workspace? We would very much like to hear them!