Digital Workspace

What is a digital workplace?

The workplace looks different these days

Many companies have switched to hybrid, or even fully remote, work models. As such, the old workplace model of the well-staffed office tower is a thing of the past — at least for now.

So, with reduced physical workspaces and workers reliant on digital technology, what exactly does the workplace look like now?

A decentralized digital workplace has become common. Some have defined this digital workplace as:

  • A platform for maintaining productivity in the absence of a physical workspace — especially communicating seamlessly despite a distributed workforce.

  • A company-specific Internet of Things — i.e., a corporate intranet and all the software and hardware needed to participate in it.

  • A virtual workspace that fosters organic human interaction and employee engagement.

The reality is, a digital workplace is more than just a substitute for a physical worksite. It’s an arrangement that leverages technology and automation to bring people together. It keeps employees connected in a secured environment and has been found to boost productivity, bringing companies a competitive advantage.

You might have also heard about a “virtual workplace.” The virtual workplace is somewhat different from the digital workplace. While the virtual workplace by definition allows work to take place in more than one physical location, a digital workplace enables work using technology to enhance communication and collaboration for onsite workers, hybrid workers, and remote workers.

Elements of a digital workplace

By developing a digital workplace, a company can connect, collaborate, and communicate with its employees, partners, and customers in a time when many employees and customers don’t work in a single physical location.

Let's look at some elements of a digital workplace:

Collaboration tools

Thanks to today’s collaboration tools, employees can work in a digital workplace as productively as they did in the traditional workplace. Collaboration tools come in many different forms:

  • Applications like Google Docs and Microsoft 365 allow for shared and real-time content creation regardless of location.

  • Video meeting platforms such as Microsoft Teams and Zoom allow for brain-storming and collaborative sessions via live, visual communication regardless of the distance between employees.

  • Tools like Interactive Whiteboards make it possible to work real-time with different media types, breaking down barriers to long-distance collaboration.

Having a digital workspace means, in many cases, having to communicate across vast distances and multiple time zones. The use of various digital tools makes this possible. Ideally, their use streamlines work processes, making work more efficient.

But, of course, it isn’t just about making work more efficient.

The digital workplace fosters a company’s culture in employees’ physical absence. Virtual tools keep workers in communication, enhancing the social element of the workplace that, without proper planning, could be lost in the transition to a digital workplace.

Videoconference and video meeting rooms

The evolving digital workplace must accommodate both onsite, remote, and non-local employees, clients, and vendors.

How can this be done?

Many opt to utilize Cloud Unified Communications systems. These are a comprehensive collection of communication tools that include:

  • Real-time technology such as chats, instant messaging, and video conferencing.

  • Non-real-time communication tools such as cloud fax, email, and information sent through the mail.

Cloud computing made simple

In many ways, cloud computing made the digital workplace possible in the first place. Without the cloud, remote work, hybrid workplaces, and borderless work environments simply could not exist.

Cloud computing enables secured data storage to move away from local, physical devices so it can be accessed by end users anywhere, on any internet-connected device. Software-as-a-service (SaaS) platforms which allow employees to run digital workplace software and applications remotely are also powered by cloud computing, as are virtual desktops which re-create digital versions of desktop environments.

Explore more: practical insights and see top solutions for the digital workplace

Secured communications and information infrastructure

Data security and information management influence every aspect of an organization’s IT infrastructure – from hardware to applications, policies, and more – and as such are integral for the development of a secured and productive digital workspace.

It’s important for businesses to ensure the data and information are secured by following cybersecurity best practices. These rely on multi-layered networks and endpoint protection. Companies also need to ensure secured communications, be it through VPN or secured communication channels.

Even with the most secured IT infrastructure, work-from-anywhere digital workplaces remain vulnerable to threats. That’s why applications like RansomCare, which isolate a ransomware attack before it can do system-wide damage have become another essential layer in cybersecurity infrastructure.

Document workflows and management

Document management systems services provide secured, centralized storage and automated workflows. Workflow automation plays a vital role in keeping hybrid work environments productive, even with only some employees working in-office. These automated processes alert members of a workflow when they have tasks to complete while centralized document storage ensures accessibility to those with access rights.

Related to document management are business process services including mailroom services, data capture applications, digital faxing, and other applications that simplify communication between all employees, regardless of where they are working.

Creating a digital workplace – for now and the future

Recently, many companies made the transition to the digital workplace. Since then, it has become clear that, when implemented successfully, the digital workplace offers many benefits.

The pandemic has only accelerated the need for a more comprehensive digital workplace strategy. This continues as hybrid work environments – along with remote and borderless work practices – have become the most common work models.

Ricoh has helped many industry-leading organizations develop efficient and successful digital workplaces to meet the needs of now – and the future.

If you haven’t taken steps toward a digital workplace, don’t hesitate any longer — and don’t fear change.


What is a virtual workplace?

A virtual workplace is a workplace that is not based out of a physical building or office and instead uses technology to conduct business. Employees connect to a network to collaborate, message with one another, and access data and applications needed to do their job.

Have questions about your digital workplace strategy? Our workplace professionals can help.

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