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Commercial Real Estate

CRE Opinion: The Importance of Creating a Digital Culture

The effectiveness of technology has become a critical competitive advantage in creating workplaces.

More and more we’re seeing that work is not so much about a place, but more about how you do it. That’s attributed to technology and its role in achieving “work anywhere, anytime, anyplace.” And, of course, our 24/7 global economy has forced us into this mode of operation.

Jo Staffelbach Heinz

We are hearing more about ”smart offices” and “smart buildings” with self-adjusting lighting, automated window shades, personalized temperature adjustments and automated reservations for spaces. We are also seeing how much technology affects performance, wellbeing, and job satisfaction. The effectiveness of technology has become a critical competitive advantage.

Recently Microsoft examined productivity, innovation, and empowerment in weak, average, and strong digital environments. In each category a strong digital culture meant a positive difference. Increases of seven to 15 percent were observed in productivity, increases of 19 to 25 percent in employee innovation and a substantial 20 to 36 percent in employee empowerment. The survey proves: the stronger the digital culture, the better employees perform. And the better employees perform, the more they engage in their work.

Steelcase Workplace surveys report that “employee engagement positively coordinates with workplace satisfaction.“ If workers can experience flexibility in their jobs, and the flexibility to choose where they work dependent on the task,  they are more satisfied. And we all know that technology plays a key role in achieving this flexibility.

There’s an art to accomplishing a delicate balance in strong digital cultures where employees are literally plugged-in. The key to an integrated and successful digital culture is not allowing employees to feel overwhelmed and frustrated by technology. Simply adding more and more technology is not the answer. It’s about ensuring that the technology is designed to be receptive and to help them get their work done in the most efficient way. It’s also about robust infrastructures, speed, connectivity, and security. There is no question that the quality and success of the future office environment, in all the places that will exist, will be determined by the management of technology.

Jo Heinz is a Dallas-based Principal at DLR Group / Staffelbach.

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