2020 has become a year of change for many businesses around the world. Up until now, most employees worked face-to-face. Now, they need to communicate virtually.
The Covid-19 pandemic forced many companies into the online mode. Even though in some countries, life is slowly starting to come back to normal, setting up a digital workspace in your company remains a valid option to consider.
Creating a digital workspace for your company can solve many of your struggles related to working from home. Why? It’s simple: it takes advantage of today’s cloud management technologies.
There are tools out there that will help you build a digital workspace for you and your employees. Thanks to this, your business will be able to operate even in the remote setting.
The rise of remote work and digital nomadism caused the rapid development of these technologies in the past years. These days, you can build your entire business online.
That said, we’re about to show you how to set up your own digital workspace in only seven simple steps.
Why Digital Workspace?
Whether it’s the current global situation or you’re just looking for ways to innovate your business, there are a few good reasons to give digital workspaces a shot.
Here are some of them:
- Flexibility: virtual and digital workspace technology allows employees to work wherever and whenever.
- Improved productivity: the benefits of flexibility also drive employee productivity. Working from home allows your people to work at their best times.
- Enhanced collaboration: you can easily share tasks, links, data, documents and images. It’s much easier to monitor the progress of your work.
- Better self-awareness: digital workspace software often incorporates features including analytics and insights related to your workflow.
- Reduced costs: instead of covering office-related expenses, you can invest in technology and human resources.
Convincing? Then let’s see how you can set up your own digital workspace step by step.
Step #1: Document Your Current Processes
Start with documenting all workflows and current working habits. This will help you understand your work processes better. It will also give you insight into how your organization has been operating so far.
Consider Visual Documentation
This will increase the clarity and legibility of your documentation. Use the process flowchart or a Kanban board to neatly visualize each step of your processes.
Identify the Process and Its Purpose
Determine the scale of priorities and identify the end goals of a given process. Include clear objectives. Provide a brief description of what the process includes and what it doesn’t.
Explain the Process Boundary
Where does the process begin and end? What triggers it? How do you know when it’s completed?
Identify the Resources
Identify all resources necessary for successful completion of the process. These resources can include finances, people at your disposal or available time.
Define People Involved and Name the Process Owner
Identify people responsible for process completion and those involved in the particular tasks. Make sure it’s clear who’s responsible for what. Everyone needs to know what’s their exact role in the process.
Note Down Exceptions to the Normal Process Flow
A business process may not always follow the same flow. Mention exceptions and what steps you usually take to address them.
Add Control Points and Measurements
Identify risks and challenges of the process. Based on this information, you can later add control points to help the process owner monitor the related events.
Review Your Process
Gather everyone involved and review the process you’ve mapped. Are there any missing steps? Is everything in order? Once done, compare your documentation with the processes as they naturally happen. This way, you’ll determine whether you omitted something.
Step #2: Find the Right Software to Match Your Needs
You cannot construct a digital workspace without software. And you will, of course, want to use the best one.
But how do you choose the best software? How do you even define “best”?
From email marketing platforms to time tracking and billing software to project management apps – there are more options than you could possibly try out.
Read the reviews. Ask your colleagues. Consult with industry experts. Most likely, each of them will recommend a different tool.
It’s because choosing software is a matter more subjective than you think. The best tool for you may not be the best one for someone else and vice versa.
To find the right solution, you need to understand the problems you’re facing. Is it communication? Accurate billing? Customer management? There’s an app for each of your struggles. The idea is that without knowing your own problems, you can’t solve them.
A useful tip to keep in mind is to go for software that you can customize and use for a variety of purposes. Such solutions are usually labeled as business management software and you can optimize it for your team’s very specific needs.
You can also assemble your own digital workspace toolkit by signing up for several stand-alone tools. But if you can get the same job done with a single solution, why not give it a try?
Step #3: Consider Separate Workspaces For Different Departments of Your Company
Consider creating multiple digital workspaces that will suit different departments of your company. Keep in mind the specific nature of the work they do and the challenges they face daily.
While each department takes care of a different aspect of your business, their smaller, separate workspaces should be mutually interlaced. Your company’s digital workspace should allow easy collaboration on a cross-department level.
Even though these departments are different, their collaboration can do wonders for your business. Not only can the team members understand their role in the company better, but they’ll also learn from each other’s different perspective and experiences.
Step #4: Use Your Software to Set up Workflows
The next step is to get technical. Log your account (or accounts if you chose to work with multiple tools) and get to setting up your digital workspace.
Here are a few elements that most software share and they’ll help you work more productively and get better results.
- Projects and tasks lists. Create projects that reflect what you work on. Be specific and don’t mix things up too much. Keep HR matters to the HR project. Separate customer support from marketing. Manage your social media from a place devoted specifically to that.
- Organize elements correctly. Use tagging for customers, deals, tasks and projects if such is available.
- Bring your knowledge online. It’s good to keep all the important materials somewhere online – accessible for everybody who wants to go back to basics.
- Set automation: whether it’s repeating tasks or reminders, use all possible options to get your software to complete as many tasks for you as possible.
Workflow automation makes complicated business processes easier to manage. When a user action or internal signal is triggered, automated workflows can move or transform data according to your instructions. This hands-off approach helps streamline repetitive and time-consuming work.
Step #5: Use Kanban Boards to Visualize the Processes You Go through Every Day
Kanban boards will help you visualize the workflow. The Kanban methodology itself can boost your workflow efficiency and improve your overall productivity.
A well-designed board visualizes all tasks in a work process and provides high-level transparency. All it takes is a glance to understand where things stand and what needs to be done next.
Most importantly, Kanban boards allow teams to have a clear overview of all work items in progress. And with that, they can better control their actions taking place at the different stages of the flow.
Step #6: Keep Your Old Processes in Sync With the Digital Ones For at Least a Week
Once your digital workspace setup is complete, it’s time to start using it. But don’t ditch your old processes just yet – you’ll still need all your things offline to make the transition smooth.
Synchronize the documented processes and the digital ones. This is useful for monitoring team performance as well as evaluating the efficiency of your new digital setting.
Step #7: Analyze What’s Working & What’s Not Working
The last step is to remove useless elements of your workflow that failed to meet the expectations and replace them with something better.
It’s simple: what worked offline, doesn’t have to work online. There’s nothing wrong with replacing elements that simply don’t work for the digital workspaces – or at least adjust and improve them.
Do it naturally as you work; monitor the results and frequently discuss with your team. Experiment with new approaches and techniques to find those that will work for your business.
Whether you want to give your employees an opportunity to work remotely or seek to discover the benefits of digital transformation, creating your own digital workspace is always a good idea.
Following the 7 steps above is the easiest way to get you started.