Many use the terms digital workplace and digital workspace interchangeably. What’s the big deal, right?
What if the difference between the two was the difference between simply handing a new employee a laptop and being able to take your entire company remote whenever you wanted?
Let’s dig deeper.
Workplaces and workspaces
A workplace is a location where you turn up for work five days a week. It is an office space where you meet your co-workers, discuss work, brainstorm, conduct meetings, and get work done.
On the other hand, a workspace is the space where you work. It can be your office cubicle or your cabin, or if it is an open office, the table you sit at. For many freelance or remote workers, their physical workspace is a home office. It might also be desk space at a co-working location.
The workplace is the collective, the workspace is the individual.
What is a digital workspace?
Someone’s digital workspace includes all the individual digital tools they need to do their work. This usually starts with a laptop and mobile, but will also include tools for communication, specialized software, calendars, and other digital devices they use every day. They vary from person to person and aren’t necessarily common across everyone in the company.
What is a digital workplace?
If the workplace is the collective term, then the digital workplace is the digital environment that you create for all of your employees. When everyone in your company is working remotely, the digital workplace is the common place that they all come in order to work collaboratively.
The main aim behind a digital workplace is to help employees work together seamlessly without any disruption even when they are not physically present in the same office. A digital workplace also helps streamline and automate all the internal business processes in organization.
Your entire digital strategy depends on your digital workplace
Most companies have a blend of physical and digital workplaces. However, before the COVID-19 crisis, very few companies realized the importance of relying on a digital workplace, even when employees are co-located.
When they made the transition to remote work, most companies just used the same disparate tools they’d always used, adding in some Zoom calls to stay connected. In a regular co-located office, the physical nature of the workplace is the glue that binds everything together.
When you remove the physical, you realize that all of your separate apps fall apart unless they are deeply connected to a unified digital workplace.
The primary differences between digital workspaces and digital workplaces
1. While digital workplaces are fixed, workspaces can change often
A digital workplace is a fixed platform where all the employees of a company come together to collaborate and manage their work. It provides a central location to store all the company related documents and data which makes it easier for the employees to manage their work and find any resources that they might need.
Digital workplaces are a direct reflection of a company’s corporate culture and they help improve employee experience by allowing the employees to work with their colleagues seamlessly.
On the other hand, digital workspaces are the virtual replacement of the physical workstations or cubicles in offices. This is a private space where employees work on their own and perform their daily work responsibilities.
The digital workspaces can change often depending on the work the employees are doing. For instance, a marketing team member may use a photo editing application like Photoshop to create images for the company’s social media campaign and then use a scheduling tool to schedule and publish the images. In this example, both Photoshop and the social media scheduling tool can be digital workspaces for the employee.
2. A digital workspace is a part of the digital workplace
While it is easy to confuse digital workspaces with digital workplaces, they are both very different from each other. A digital workspace is only a small part of a digital workplace platform.
A digital workplace uses the latest tools and technologies to enable new and effective ways of working which in turn improves the overall employee engagement, productivity, and agility of the organization.
While digital workplaces provide you with the infrastructure that is needed to manage your work, digital workspaces are where the actual work happens. Apart from the digital workspaces, a digital workplace can also include other elements like HR systems, workflow management tools, and data analytic tools.
3. Digital workplaces decide the nature of digital workspaces
A digital workplace directly affects the work culture of an organization by constantly implementing digital solutions which can improve the way employees communicate and collaborate.
In order to implement such digital solutions, an organization would have to gather data on what areas need improvement and how the employees can work in a more effective way. These insights, combined with employee feedback can then be used to introduce new tools as part of the digital workspaces which can improve productivity and agility of the employees. By analyzing workspaces, organizations are also able to accurately grade the effectiveness of digital workplaces in order to improve the employee experience.
The workplace of the future
For companies that are planning to implement digital transformation successfully, it is important to focus on both digital workplaces and digital workspaces. In fact, organizations were able to notice in personal productivity when they made necessary work tools and applications readily available to their employees. Digitally powered workplaces and workspaces help align people, processes, and technology in organizations more closely. If your company still hasn’t implemented them, then it’s high time that you consider them.
If you’ve never seen a digital workplace in action before, try Kissflow Digital Workplace and see what is possible!