How to Create a Safe Digital Workplace for Your Employees in Australia

Australia

As the world has undergone dramatic changes due to the COVID-19 pandemic, spurring the advent of a new normal to replace life as we once knew it, it has become essential for enterprises in the business economy to also get with the times. Many businesses have had to switch to e-commerce operations and conduct the majority of their product and/or service marketing in the online space in order to keep their businesses afloat. Even before the onset of COVID, commercial entities had already begun to recognize the importance of incorporating digital infrastructure into their regular operations. No one wants to be left out of all the good businesses that stand to gain in today’s Australian and global economies by integrating e-commerce into their enterprise.

A digital workplace is the virtual, contemporary version of your conventional workplace. It is a connected, secure work environment, independent of place or time. The essence of a digital workplace is to expeditiously provide a business workforce with all the data and tools that they need to work anywhere and at any time. A successful digital workplace will always boost employee resourcefulness.

Advantages of building an up-to-date digital workplace for your business include:

      Increased flexibility—all staff can work from any location (both employers and employees);

      Reduced operational costs;

      Maximum employee engagement;

      Increased speed and accuracy of operations;

      High productivity;

      More talent retention and less turnover;

      Access to a vast global market of customers;

      Increased revenue;

      Improved customer experience; and

      Preparedness for unexpected disruptions, e.g. the COVID lockdowns.

One crucial factor that any businessperson running digital operations must consider is the security of their digital workplace. Constructing a digital work environment for your employees, regardless of where they are physically, involves much more than procuring laptops for them with access to the internet and cloud software. A company must have a secure remote operations strategy to be able to guarantee that business moves ahead smoothly.

Therefore, if you are planning to create a digital workplace for your employees in Australia, here's how to create a safe one.

1. Avoid Falling into a Digital Divide

A global study has unveiled that workers at “technology laggard” organizations—companies that are often late to adopt new technology tools—are more likely to quit their jobs as a result of how frustrating it can be to be forced to work with outdated technology. In Australia, a whopping 53% of surveyed workers from companies considered to fall under this category admit to this technological frustration. Meanwhile, in technology leader organizations, only 7% of surveyed workers reported any kind of technological frustration and none were as a result of old-fashioned tech.

This data gives a perfect illustration of the detriments of falling into a digital divide. When running a digital workplace with outdated tools and technology, you become likely to lose workers to more technologically advanced organizations, and this can prove extremely unsafe for your business. Therefore, it is imperative that you keep your business up to date with the newest technologies and innovations in your industry. You can even strive to be one of the first to incorporate new progressive initiatives and make yourself a tech leader in your trade. 

2. Select the Right Technologies

A digital workplace is a combination of three key elements: the space (this could be at the office, home office, or in a shared space); the technology; and the work culture. The technological aspect of a digital workplace can be said to be the most crucial of the three because that is what makes it a “digital” work environment to begin with.

Examples of technological elements needed in a digital workplace include virtual desktops or computers, virtual applications, secure endpoints, collaboration tools, policy and management tools, analytics tools, monitoring tools, and security tools. Further examples of these elements include project management applications for work coordination, password or biometric authentication for endpoint security, and VPN (virtual private network) software for network security. These are the kind of technologies that most businesses require to run their digital workplaces.

Thus, when selecting technologies that your business will need, you need to choose those that are flexible and easy to integrate, so that your employees can orchestrate processes and tools flexibly and easily. Also, as underscored earlier, keeping technology up-to-date is essential. Thus, technology with which updates and other maintenance can easily be managed with little to no user disruption also make great choices.

The right technology for your digital workplace will maximize your employees’ productivity as well as enhance their creativity, increase their performances, and inspire them to think “outside the box”. Hence, you must take staff user experience into account as well. Look into technologies that will provide excellent digital experiences for your employees. 

3. The Security of Your Employees

Your tech is not the only element that has to be right in your digital workplace. The employees that you have working in a digital environment must also be the perfect fit for you to be able to run a successful digital workplace.

Hence, the security of your employees, in this respect, has less to do with job security and more to do with the verification of who you employ. Primarily, an effective employee screening protocol will let you in on the workers with the best capabilities for a digital workplace.

A lot of important and confidential information is shared and distributed in a virtual work environment; information that is vital to both the staff users and the business. You need to be able to fully trust the employees that you have in that digital workplace accordingly. Therefore, as an employer, you need to be able to identify workers that may threaten the safety of the workplace. For instance, a job applicant with a consistent criminal record. The last thing you want is to employ someone into your workforce that will leak your valuable data assets and ruin your brand reputation.

Police checks and police clearance of prospective employees are effective means to weed out unsuitable workers. Between 2004 and 2018, the number of police checks requested from the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission more than quadrupled to over 5 million, indicating that employers are becoming more aware of its importance. Accredited service providers like the following web link for the ANCC service: https://www.australiannationalcharactercheck.com.au represent a popular option that employers and decision makers are utilising to obtain criminal history checks in Australia.

Verifying who you employ into your digital workplace through criminal history checks and background checks helps to avoid unwarranted issues such as information theft, high employee turnover, and business liability for the inappropriate or unlawful actions of workers. Of course, the request for and use of candidate information obtained from these kinds of checks must be non-invasive, non-discriminatory, and always within lawful limits. 

4. Effect of Digital Security

It is important to always establish secure connectivity to people, non-human digital workers, and corporate resources in a digital workplace. Mechanisms to secure identities, assets, and technologies in online and mobile networks anywhere, anytime, and from any device type should be put in place to ensure the total security of your business’ digital workplace.

Examples of these mechanisms include encryption, hash functions, load balancing and monitoring, password, token, or biometric feature authentication, logging, configuration and audit controls, etcetera.

Note that the strong security and administration protocols that you install should not hinder productivity or diminish the user experience of employees, for example, overburdening staff with difficult authentication routines. 

Tips to Create a Great Digital Workplace Experience for Your Employees

Organizational culture is a key element in any enterprise that hires workers. It is important to establish a good work culture among your employees especially when operations are being conducted digitally. Here are a few tips to establish a good work culture and create great digital experiences among your employees in a digital workplace. 

1. Facilitate teamwork: According to a recent Harvard Business Review article, facilitating teamwork in the workplace is increasingly important. Even in a digital workplace, employees need a broad sense of cooperation and teamwork to be able to work well with one another. Invest in technology that allows your employees to work more collaboratively together for more successful goal achievement. 

2. Ensure flexibility: A crucial feature of any good digital workplace is that it is workable from anywhere and at any time. Ensure that your employees have enough flexibility to do their jobs in your business’ digital environment. 

3. Reward excellence: If your employees are doing outstanding jobs, they deserve a nice reward. Also, rewarding excellence will serve as an incentive for the good to get better and for the slackers to wake up. 

4. Allow for self-serve: Your employees should be able to access everything they need in your digital workplace. Self-serve portals where they can access required information, assistance, or projects will encourage them to become more independent and increasingly lessen managerial burdens. 

5. Empower your staff: Empowerment is critical to building a great workplace culture. It motivates your employees and enables them to shine. Empowerment programs and encouraging contributions are good ways to empower your staff. 

Conclusion

In Australia today, what we have is a digitally transformed business economy. This economy encompasses a wide ecosystem of people, culture, technology, and processes embodied in the numerous digital workplaces springing up daily. Thus, to create a safe and successful digital workplace for your business in this new economy, you must be able to embrace continuous market changes, and then install all the necessary resources for your business to thrive.

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