What should your Modern Workplace strategy include?
Read time 5 mins
You may have noticed that the modern workplace has changed quite drastically in recent years.
Emerging technology, the automation revolution, and changing expectations from both employees and customers (not to mention the global pandemic) has seen organisations make a dramatic shift to more flexible, hybrid, and technologically reliant ways of working.
These days, via digital workspaces, communication applications, and other cloud-based collaborative tools, most employees expect their working experience to be the same no matter where, what time zone, or which device they work from. Consequently, modern workplaces require robust infrastructure to facilitate both remote and onsite work, as well as where the two overlap in hybrid arrangements.
Traditional workplaces versus modern workplaces
Traditional workplaces can be characterised by their rigidity. For example, employees work inflexible hours inside a formal environment, from the same (usually desktop) PC at the same desk. Servers remain onsite and are managed in-house, by the organisation’s IT department (who are also usually responsible for the company’s cyber security).
In contrast, a modern workplace is likely to be semi- or in-formal. A significant percentage of people work remotely or in hybrid situations, with flexible hours. Meetings are held both physically and virtually (often a mix of both) and data is stored in the cloud rather than (or in addition to) physical, onsite storage. Using the right software, employees may access data from any workplace device, and usually work from mobile devices, hot-desking when in the office.
The benefits of modern workplace strategy
The modern workplace is about transforming internal systems and processes to make them more user-friendly and efficient. It allows organisations to future-proof and architect infrastructure that directly responds to the business goals of the company. It also focuses heavily on improving end-user experience and employee engagement.
Upon implementing modern workplace strategy, most organisations will benefit from:
- Faster and more reliable communications
- Enhanced productivity
- More efficient processes
- Lower overall costs (high ROI)
- Interconnected and transparent operations
- Improved cyber security
- Higher employee engagement
- Increased flexibility
- Increased scalability
In order to implement a modern workplace strategy, it’s important to first consider the specific business challenges your organisation wishes the new infrastructure to address. For this, it’s often worthwhile consulting with a managed service provider to deliver a personalised, optimised modern workplace that achieves the desired outcomes within the constraints of any budget or operational concerns. Having said this, all modern workplace strategies should include discussions surrounding the following elements:
End user compute is all about integrating users into their IT environment. This includes IT systems and architecture that ensure your staff can be fully productive, not held back by out-of-date systems, clunky software, and counterintuitive processes. Conversations should also take place regarding software – in particular Microsoft’s suite of apps for businesses and any automation opportunities that could help improve productivity.
In the new modern workplace, it’s important for organisations to make sure that employees are able to get the most out of the resources implemented, which may include hosting discussion groups with key employees and your chosen service provider during the planning stage, as well as offering user training and continued software updates after the fact. This stage is also a good time to consider user personas for different staff and any accessibility considerations the organisation needs to implement in order to be inclusive for everybody.
Users must also be able to work seamlessly across multiple devices and locations, using one or more devices to access virtual desktop infrastructure located, typically, in the public cloud. Your managed service provider may also be able to take care of procurement (selecting, buying, delivering and replacing) new devices, installing software onto new devices, and recycling or disposing of old equipment.
The last two years have seen a significant increase in cloud adoption, with more and more organisations embracing cloud-enabled digital transformation to improve processes, increase resilience, and rapidly scale their infrastructure.
Using the public cloud removes the burden of constant equipment upkeep, offering better affordability and elastic resources that can be scaled up or down depending on your data processing demands.
Most public cloud providers such as Azure and AWS, provide pay-as-you go features (think of it as a subscription service for your business-critical IT needs) and are built to support the increasing velocity of software and security updates using timed deployment slots with none-to-minimal disruption.
The elasticity of cloud services also means they can be increased/decreased alongside the size of your team, so any peaks or dips in demand become less challenging and software can be added or removed to suit. For organisations requiring responsiveness and dealing with budget restrictions, the flexibility of the cloud is a huge advantage.
Offering computational power previously reserved only for enterprise-level organisations, it’s true that the cloud is likely to play a significant role in any modern workplace strategy. However, it’s important not to lose sight of the fact that not all cloud solutions are the same. If you are considering a migration to the cloud, consider what benefits you want the cloud to deliver and how these are aligned and connected to your business strategy. Your cloud solutions provider should be transparent about such expectations, working alongside you to deliver a personalised, optimised solution – and continuing to collaborate after the fact.
The working world has changed and so have IT security threats. Implementing a modern workplace strategy requires organisations to transform their cyber security offering, ensuring resources are invested appropriately and are in-line with actual organisational risk.
In the modern workplace – due to offsite data centres, public cloud environments, and the need for remote access from any device and any location – a secure environment is much more fluid and harder to manage. A strong modern workplace strategy should look to simplify security technologies, focus on cost optimisation, and consider the end-users’ experience in particular.
Organisations may also consider outsourcing some or all of their new and complex cyber security needs. After all, doing so often provides access to wider skillsets and better tools than are within reach in-house. External providers can offer access to threat detection, alert analysis, and advanced threat handling than most in-house IT teams are likely to be able to manage on their own – at least not alongside their other responsibilities.
Outsourcing cyber security services is also much more cost-effective for organisations compared to the investments in tooling and skillset required to operate effective cyber security completely in-house. A collaborative cyber security service provider will work alongside your internal IT team, extending their scope and allowing organisations to benefit from access to sophisticated tools they may not otherwise be able to afford or maintain.
If you would like to discuss how Littlefish can help you reduce costs, increase service quality, and support your transition to the modern workplace, feel free to contact us through our get in touch button.