The time is now for digital transformation

The time is now for digital transformation

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In the past few years, employees’ expectations around workplace experience have changed irrevocably. Flexible working has become the norm, with remote meetings and collaborative documents now considered part of the day-to-day rather than the futuristic. In addition, GenAI’s revolutionary introduction to the mainstream technology scene in 2023 drastically changed assumptions around exactly what kinds of technology are needed to supplement and improve employees’ day-to-day working lives. 

As such, businesses have been left scrambling to make sense of a very different way of working. This is exacerbated by so-called ‘digital natives’ – i.e. those who have grown up in the age of digital technology –entering the workforce. Having always been accustomed to the latest technology, they are simply not willing to put up with substandard, inefficient technologies, whereas their older counterparts may have beforehand. As a result, digital transformation is no longer an option, but an imperative, if businesses wish to retain staff in an ever-more competitive market.

Pain points are no longer tolerated

Until very recently, certain hurdles in the workplace were expected; issues such as struggling to find an unoccupied meeting room with two minutes to spare and arriving in the office to find your desk already taken, were part of the daily reality of office working. Employees, however, are no longer willing to accept such frustrations.

 The existence of modernised desk and room booking software has changed the game. As such, ‘frictionless’ working is now taken as a given by many, with the technology working to eradicate old pain points. For example, RICOH Spaces efficiently manages room availability, freeing up meeting spaces and collaboration areas when not in use. In addition, the technology offers real-time analytics that provide visibility of space usage, popular areas and ongoing trends, to help businesses adapt and optimise spaces as needed. 

People expect a workplace that actually works

Pain points may no longer be tolerated by employees in the same way, but it is important that employers also look beyond only the most tangible obstacles when considering employee experience. For example, flexible working is now firmly established in our professional culture, so it is essential that employees are able to collaborate with one another regardless of their physical location. 

Our recent research, however, found that only 30% of European employees have all the necessary technology to collaborate seamlessly with other colleagues. What’s more, one in five (20%) employees do not have access to essential collaboration software such as Microsoft Teams and Zoom, while 29% do not have access to any collaboration hardware nor hybrid meeting technology (e.g. video conferencing), despite this being in demand. This highlights a stark divide between the technology that employees need for a positive experience and efficient job fulfilment, and the technology with which they are provided.

Measuring the impact – it’s make or break

It’s clear that businesses must invest in the necessary tools and cutting-edge technologies if they wish to get the best out of their workforce. This is particularly important as, according to our latest research, having more flexible working arrangements, including technology and facilities, was cited as the top reason by employees to reconsider leaving their role in the next 12 months.

Given the ongoing saturation in the job market and the search for top talent only becoming more competitive, attracting and retaining employees must remain a strategic imperative for businesses that hope to continue operating beyond only the near future. However, our research found a mere 17% of business decision makers cited providing an enhanced employee experience as a strategic priority for the year ahead. This exposes a significant existential risk for those businesses that fail to pay attention to their employees’ day-to-day reality. 

Looking beyond the competition

Embracing and investing in digital transformation is not just about staying competitive. It’s about valuing and investing in the happiness and fulfilment of the people who drive the success of the organisation. This, more than anything else, is what drives employee to stay at a particular organisation and businesses must consider this when outlining their strategic priorities for the years ahead – if they wish to survive and thrive. 

If you’re interested in learning more, Ricoh will be at the Gartner Digital Workplace Summit in London on 10-11th June. You can join us here: https://bit.ly/4dKDaGS

Lisa Topliss

Lisa Topliss

Director Digital Workplace, Ricoh Europe

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