Budgeting for a Digital Workplace in 2018

November 8, 2017

Workplace transformation may be more affordable than you think

The digital workplace is becoming a reality for more organisations every day. Employers are recognising the benefits of mobility, cloud computing, remote work, flexible scheduling, and collaborative workspaces. Employees are happier and more content in the digital workplace and that can translate to better productivity.

The benefits of transforming your traditional office space to a digital workplace may be nearly enough to pay for remodelling as well as some of the technology required to support the digital workplace. Let’s examine two ways that the digital workplace can improve the bottom line.

The digital workplace increases productivity

The digital workplace involves a new mindset of employer flexibility, combined with more efficient business processes. In the office, employees can choose the types of spaces most conducive to the work they are performing. They may be able to arrange their work schedule to capture the hours they feel most productive, even if that time is outside normal business hours. The digital workplace extends beyond the four walls of the office building, giving employees the flexibility to work from home or anywhere else.

All of the flexibility described has a net effect of enhancing employee wellbeing and engagement. It also raises their productivity. According to a study by Stanford University, flexible employees:

  • Achieved more
  • Missed less work for illness
  • Worked longer hours
  • Were happier in their work

A digital workplace helps optimise real estate costs

An organisation’s workplace is one of its greatest operational expenses. Wherever space can be saved or better utilised, savings is certain to be recognised.

According to CoreNet Global, in 2010, companies averaged 225 square feet of office space per employee; in 2017, that has fallen to 151 square feet. But that doesn’t mean employees are packed in like sardines.

Companies recognise that greater numbers of remote workers—plus an average amount of employees who are on holiday or sick leave—means that fewer workspaces could accommodate the entire workforce. Desk utilisation was 59% on average, according to a study performed by Advanced Workplace Associates. Two-thirds of companies surveyed by CBRE are planning to adopt a shared-desk strategy by 2020.

Efficient, open floor plans are replacing traditional, larger offices and cubicles. Space efficient redesign can result in a smaller real estate footprint and the associated cost reductions. Or it can mean that as your business grows, you’ll be able to accommodate more employees in the same space, while helping them to collaborate more productively

IT budgeting is key for the digital workplace

Technology serves as the lynchpin of the digital workplace. The HR, IT and facilities teams will have to work together to plan a budget for digital transformation. Technology will be a considerable part of the cost of the digital workplace and it will be a recurring expense.

IT security needs to be retooled so that the company can permit employees to access business systems securely from anywhere, including home offices. In order to offer different workspaces for different types of tasks, employees must have laptops instead of assigned desktop computers, and they must be able to carry the laptops with them throughout the building while remaining connected through WiFi. Communications technology, such as video conferencing and web meetings, as well as collaboration apps, such as instant messaging and shared Cloud drives, will be required in order to support distributed teams and remote workers.

Fund the digital workplace with savings from digital transformation

Can the digital workplace fund itself through increased productivity and more efficient space utilisation? In many organisations, these benefits can provide a substantial portion of the budget for transformation.

It’s fairly easy to measure the savings that would come from better space utilisation. You should also be able to roughly estimate how much an increase in productivity would boost the bottom line. What is a bit more difficult to measure is the effect of a modern, digital workplace on important employee benchmarks such as satisfaction, engagement, recruitment, and retention. But you can rest assured that those areas will also be positively impacted. Millennials will make up 75% of the workforce by 2030, and they place a high value on flexible schedules, cutting-edge technology, remote work, and casual office environments with non-conventional workspaces.

Workspace Management solutions from Asure Software helps employers create a digital workplace with flexible spaces while maximising office utilisation.