15 experts about the digital workplace in 2021

Sina Burghardt · Digital Workplace Trends · Last updated on January 26th, 2021

COVID-19 transformed the way we work rapidly. The prevalence of working from home has made the way companies work completely different from before the crisis. How can companies deal with this change and how can they use the digital workplace in 2021? We collected the insights of 15 digital workplace experts that companies should focus on.

During our series Open up Digitals we spoke with leading thought leaders about the transforming digital workplace. How do you better engage employees? And how can a company optimize its processes? Relevant questions, with answers from experts in the field. We list the most important quotes for you.

digital workplace 2021

Cyril Coste: “The focus for now? Focus on automating work. And keep looking at whether what you’re doing is serving your customer. Think about what kind of employer you want to be, are you the one who helps the customer go the extra mile?”

Stephen van Belleghem: “Companies often put their own goals first, and then start looking at the customer. Turn that around and ask yourself: what is the most scarce commodity the customer has? Most people want more time, money, energy. As a company, keep asking yourself if what you’re offering fits to this needs. Look at new trends and technology, from that perspective you offer much more value.”

The employee at the core of the organization

Kamales Lardi: “My advice: keep looking at how technology can improve work processes, such as reducing manual work.”

James Robertson: “Experience the positions of employees for a few days. Get to know the users of your social platform and identify a few things you can address right away. But beware: you can’t fix everything. Start small, do some minor things right. Tackle something that really helps your employees and extend from that point.”

Gonny Vink: “We see that many companies during the COVID-19 pandemic focus on the fact that we need to be able to communicate and meet with each other remotely. But now the next step: how are we going to collaborate, share knowledge, and develop remotely in a smart way? Tools and technology are great resources for this. Behavioral change is crucial.”

Get connected and start networking

Felix Holzapfel:“Within the digital workplace, look for the right mix of people and make sure they feel engaged. Also the people who are in contact with your customers! Build bridges between employees and leaders and keep talking.”

Ronald van den Hoff:Talk to your competition, they are in the same situation.”

Keep your focus

Jan Tjerk Boonstra: “HR is fairly conservative and stubborn. To keep up with the changes now, you need to network more and invite others. Learn from experiences and especially from what is not going well.”

Marianne Sturman: “Managers must be even more proactive towards their employees. This means calling more often, organizing meetings differently, and keeping all colleagues involved. Not all managers have this ability, so as an organization you need to train them and provide them with the right skills.”

Cara Antoine:Give your employees confidence so they can work autonomously.”

Arie van Bennekum: Start working agile. It creates creativity and quality. And when you work agile, you will have a small party together every two weeks. That increases motivation and the MT can see that it’s working.”

Daniel Pink: “Keep an eye on what times of day your employees are performing optimally and anticipate to this.”

Dion Hinchcliffe: “Provide ‘working out loud’. Allow employees to share what they are working on in open environments within the digital workplace so others can connect.”

The golden combination

Jan Bommerez: “Creativity is the world’s hope. The breakthrough often comes from young people who are not stuck in paradigms. Where experience used to increase your value, it now is often a problem because they are too much in the old mindset. Therefore, organizations should bring experienced and young people together and create a conversation. Then you have a golden combination.”

Greg Verdino: “There is a lack of certainty. So, try to think in advance about implications of, for example, unemployment, working from home, and a possible new pandemic.”

What can we do with these insights?

All of the 15 interviewed experts have one thing in common. Focus on the human side of organizations, technology, and processes. As humans we have to take responsibility. There is no tool or system that can accomplish this for us. Be flexible to adapt in the rapidly changing world and be resourceful to creatively solve any additional problems. Make a virtue out of necessity!

Also check out these 5 practical tips for organizing working from home.