According to the latest study published by the D21 Initiative, the majority of respondents take a positive view of the digital revolution’s impact on many aspects of everyday life. The study also shows that the world of work is still lagging behind the trend toward digitalization, as employees have better access to smartphones, laptops and other mobile devices at home than they do at work. That is despite the fact that the digital workplace is a crucial element of any digital transformation. Yet companies still lack effective strategies to drive the transition toward a digital work culture.
Whether we are reading the news on a tablet, sending photos from a cellphone, or streaming videos on a laptop, we are constantly online outside of work – be it in the street, on a train, or in a café. A quarter of the German population has already encountered difficulties with activities such as checking in at a hotel or arranging a doctor’s appointment, because they are no longer available in analog form. As the latest D21 study reveals, the digital revolution has made inroads into all areas of life. At the top of the list of most-used IT devices is the smartphone with 79 percent, a year-on-year increase of 4 percent. The laptop follows in second place with 65 percent. Accordingly, surfing the internet on the go is becoming more commonplace.
While the German population is becoming increasingly digital at the personal level, the story is quite different in Germany’s companies. There is a lack of IT equipment for employees and the implementation of the digital workplace is poor. Only 46 percent of respondents, i.e. less than half of employees who use IT in the workplace, are supplied with a laptop by their employer. A mere 22 percent are given a smartphone, and the trend is downward, with a drop of 3 percent on 2018.
The digital workplace should be part of any digitalization strategy. This new way of working promises greater freedom, flexibility, efficiency, and productivity, as work can be carried out from anywhere and at any time via networked devices. By introducing a digital work culture, companies also improve their competitive position in the battle for talent. Yet German companies have made no progress in this respect over the past year, as the number of employees who have access to mobile working remains the same at just 15 percent. Even in office environments, where IT infrastructure and technology are the main tools, there is little sign of progress.
According to the survey conducted for the D21 Digital Index, 85 percent of employees are interested in flexible, digital working. But the number of companies where this is possible has actually dropped compared with the previous year. The reasons are varied, from procedural and technical hurdles to corporate culture: Employers who want to efficiently implement innovative ways of working need to do more than just provide mobile devices. Alongside the technical enablement there also has to be a shift in thinking to boost the digital work culture. If the digital workplace is to be a success, it needs to be easy for companies to manage and be geared toward the users’ individual requirements. With this in mind, we have developed solutions that assist companies with their digitalization process and support the entire equipment lifecycle from procurement and management through to remarketing. This end-to-end approach enables companies to set up the cutting-edge workplaces they need to face the challenges of the digital revolution.
In addition to optimizing processes and providing fully integrated technology management, we particularly focus on the employees’ individual requirements. In an ideal scenario, the digital workplace not only increases efficiency but also acts as a motivational factor. As the figures from the study show, employees want more flexibility and are willing to invest in their digital skills if the environment is right. Looking at it another way, companies can increase their attractiveness as an employer if they meet the expectations of employees with regard to Work 4.0 and bridge the gulf between personal and professional IT equipment. Considering the current shortage of skilled workers, this is an argument that should not be underestimated. It certainly provides us with further motivation to refine our solutions with our customers in mind.