Skip to main content

The age of resilience: Designing a robust digital workplace

digital business
(Image credit: Image source: Shutterstock/ESB Professional)

There is no doubt that the way we all work has been transformed forever. The business status quo has fundamentally changed, and some companies have simply not been able to keep up. While the likes of Debenhams and Topshop have caught the headlines, it has been predicted that unfortunately as many a quarter of a million UK businesses could collapse as a result of the pandemic. A further one-in-six companies say they could need at least 12 months to recover and get back on track. That could simply be too late. 

One thing that has become clear though this year, is that an accessible and effective digital workplace is critical to establishing resilience and business agility. And now, as a result, we are seeing an overhaul of business practices across nearly every industry, across the world.   

Businesses have accelerated beyond merely paying lip service to digitization and have had to launch head-first into it. They’ve reorganized their entire work agenda around digital practices and technology. An effective and accessible digital workplace is now more essential than ever for an organization’s resilience and agility, and we are seeing business practices being overhauled across almost every sector. And, the wholesale shift to digital working has elevated the role of IT teams, who play a pivotal role in empowering organizations to be most effective - acting as a strategic partner across the enterprise to choose the right technology for the digital workplace. As a result, IT has a leading role to play in enabling digital resilience.

Connecting data across the remote workplace

Digital transformation is a term that is often overused and under-delivered upon. However, when the UK was first plunged into lockdown in March, those businesses that had already embraced digitization were able to more easily transition their teams, processes and practices to the “new normal”.  

As we continue to head unerringly towards a digitally connected future, the need for digital resilience has therefore never been greater. As highlighted in Gartner’s recent Hype Cycle for the Digital Workplace, the need to improve digital resilience during and after the pandemic has firmly placed top-to-bottom organizational support for digital workplace initiatives into the spotlight. This is not the time for business leaders to drag their heels.

Digital resilience is one of the most valuable long-term principles of an organization today. It defines an organization’s ability to grow and survive in a changing environment by giving them the tools to successfully evolve with the times. By connecting data and work across distributed teams throughout the globe, organizations can be responsive and agile; making informed decisions that achieve real business outcomes. Continuous, agile planning in this way allows an organization to be more flexible, to evaluate what’s working and what needs to change, and to make the necessary adjustments as you go along. Organizational alignment is essential to create the resilience your business needs to operate effectively through disruption.

A paradigm shift

 To build a digitally resilient workplace, organizations need to optimize work between departments and across the business, so that teams can work remotely and at speed. And this requires a central solution so that workers can have full visibility across the organization’s strategy, no matter where they are working. Only then can they make informed data-driven decisions to reach that overriding strategy. A work management solution also can serve as an operational system of record for work, providing businesses with the ability to pivot quickly and adapt to new ways of working when change is needed. 

This year has marked a monumental paradigm shift in working practices. There is no doubt that we have all grown accustomed to the benefits of remote working. In fact, recent research found that almost three-quarters (74 percent) of employees wanted to keep a hybrid approach to working in the future. Today’s employees demand flexibility. Organizations themselves have also embraced the change. After seeing no reductions to productivity, companies such as Facebook and Twitter announced that their employees could opt to continue working from home even after the coronavirus crisis eases.

A wakeup call for business leaders

The pandemic has been a wakeup call for savvy business leaders. Many organizations have struggled to cope with the changes brought upon by the pandemic due to a simple lack of digital resilience. Good enough is no longer enough. Following a year where the world of work was turned on its head overnight, digital resilience must be embraced in order to thrive.

Resilient organizations will be best prepared to face and adapt to any challenges that lie ahead. While there are a variety of elements integral to digital resilience, a work management platform provides the essential building blocks to keep companies productive and ensure they can scale new programs with ease. There does seem to be light at the end of the tunnel. Make sure your business is one that is able to come out the other side stronger than before. 

Building long-term digital resilience is an ongoing process, though, with many lessons to learn from along the way. Moving from the analog world to a digital one requires investment and speed. It requires strategy and execution to become established, and then to operate effectively after the transformation. Organizations that fail to fully embrace digital working—and the strategic approach to work management that goes with it - will be left behind. 

It’s far better to move ahead, to implement new practices and technology—and then learn, iterate, and adapt as you go. The pace of change, as well as the pace of learning, is rapid in the modern, digital workplace. The more insights you gain along the way, the more they will feed into your continuous improvement journey—building resilience and agility step by step. The future remains uncertain but what’s clear is that the most digitally resilient organizations will be better prepared to face, and adapt to, the challenges that lie ahead.

Paige Erickson, EMEA Managing Director, Workfront

Paige Erickson, Managing Director, EMEA, Workfront.