Beschreibung: Eine Gruppe von Menschen, die an einem Laptop in der digitalen Arbeitswelt arbeitet.Eine Gruppe von Menschen, die an einem Laptop arbeiten.

20 February 2018

Working in the Office of the Future – How Is Digitalization Transforming Your Working World?

The digital transformation has many names, but one thing is certain: it encompasses and transforms all aspects of human life, whether private or professional. To some extent, “work” and “life” almost merge together. What does working in the office of the future now look like?

The office of the future: mobile AND stationary

Future work environments will certainly (have to) be more flexible, digital, and mobile in order to compete with others – but certainly also to meet the increasing demands of employees and potential professionals. And not just because a new generation is growing up, who have known about and had access to digital technologies since they were children (Generation Y and Generation Z). Office and mobile work must not and should not be mutually exclusive.

Terms like “smart worker” and “knowledge worker” are doing the rounds. The challenge is to make the existing knowledge of individuals and people in the company usable – if possible for all areas, and as far as possible independent of location and time. Current and future IT solutions will certainly play a major role in this. The same can be said for software and solutions for Enterprise Content Management. Today, they already bundle the increasing volume of information from various sources into a single platform and make it available (e.g. in electronic files) across the board.

Graphic with study results on desk work

Graphic 1: 76% of office workers prefer working at the office desk (Source: Infographics “The Future Workplace,” Evolving Workforce Research 2014, TNS Global for DELL & Intel)

The advantage of the digital office

How can I access my documents from any location?

Always have the right documents with you: the digitized office makes it possible to access the documents you need at any time. You don’t have to remember in detail where the documents are stored. Intelligent search functions help you to find the right documents quickly and easily. Not only are individual folders displayed, but also all information linked to the process.
This means that searching through cabinets and folders is a thing of the past. Instead, you can access your documents from anywhere on any device. Contracts can be signed from anywhere with the digital signature without wasting time.

The digital working world is transparent

Even if modern workstations are often designed with glass, transparency here relates to responsibilities, processing and access. These are controlled centrally. Responsibilities and access can be assigned and processing can be tracked. This reduces ambiguity in work processes and therefore speeds them up. At the same time, transparency helps to identify optimization potential in work processes.

What savings potential does a digital office offer?

In addition to the obvious space savings, you can also reduce costs. Many documents have a retention period of ten years. This adds up to more than what fits in a filing cabinet. You not only save on equipment such as cabinets, shelves, containers, file folders and paper, but also on operating costs: room rental, electricity, heating costs and cleaning. These cost savings make the digitization of documents particularly attractive.

How do I archive documents in an audit-proof manner in the mobile office?

We have mentioned the advantages of processing documents. But what happens afterwards? Archiving obligations and deadlines require long-term storage of documents. Thanks to the paperless office, digital files can be archived easily. No additional and time-consuming work steps are required. The life cycle of a document is already defined when it is digitized. Digital solutions therefore already provide integrated, legally compliant solutions for electronic archiving. This not only reduces the workload in your accounting department: whether you are a medium-sized company, large corporation or small business, your employees will thank you in every department. Your tax advisor’s workload is also reduced – and so is his bill.

Your customer service thanks you

The fast and uncomplicated retrieval of processes improves customer service immensely. Inquiries can be answered promptly without having to search for the file folder with the corresponding paper file. In the worst case, there are handwritten notes that no one can decipher. Information that was previously only available in paper form can now be found quickly and edited just as quickly. In the digitized office, all relevant information is just a mouse click away. This means that customer service can process every request immediately and make your customers happy.

Staff deployment in the paperless office

The maintenance of paper-based work processes, the susceptibility to errors and the actual workload cost each individual employee additional time. This affects your accounting department in particular. This means that each employee has less time for profitable processes. Overall, you need more manpower to complete a task as the administrative workload is higher.

The digitalized office is global

The boundaries between different company locations are blurring in the digital working world. Documents can be processed collaboratively, even if your employees are thousands of kilometers apart. If decisions have to be obtained from several responsible parties, you save long communication channels. An electronic file enables fast and location-independent access. Work processes involving several people can be shortened.

Basics for a digital office

In addition to the technical equipment, certain framework conditions are required. After all, simply wanting to do without paper does not optimize work processes. Don’t forget to involve your employees in the changes and get them on board at an early stage.

The digitization of documents

Electronic files form the basis of the digital office. To ensure completeness and thus generate the greatest possible added value, all relevant channels must be integrated into the digitization process. Wherever analog documents are generated, the work steps must be adapted. If this is not the case, the result is a confusing mix of media that harbors considerable potential for error.

Document management to make things easier

Data is only as good as the way it is maintained. To be a real help to your employees, the documents must be complete. The introduction of the digitalized office requires a new approach to document management. Provide your employees with training on the new document management system. Demonstrate the benefits and how it makes work easier for each individual employee. A digital office of the future gives your employees more time for your customers, more time for productive work and reduces the administrative workload with a lower error rate.

Data protection in the digital office – what you should think about

The GDPR requires companies to store personal data on servers within the EU. It is therefore particularly important to consider the location when choosing your provider. Especially when it comes to the long-term archiving of documents, there is a considerable amount of data that you should not burden your company’s own servers with.

How can I help shape the transition to the digital working world?

Industry-specific and cross-industry solutions can also open up further savings potential in the office of the future. And these are also expected by companies: A good half of industrial companies hope that Industry 4.0 applications will reduce costs (47 percent, source: Bitkom). However, the digital competitiveness of German organizations varies greatly.
There is a backlog in the implementation of digitization, in industrial companies as well as in municipalities and public authorities. One thing is clear: business areas will change, and those who wait with their digitalization strategy and do not (re)design working environments will be left behind by the competition. On average, one in four companies confirms: “Competitors in our industry who have embraced digitalization early on are ahead of us.” (Source: Bitkom).