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Digital workspaces 2.0—A complete guide to hybrid workforce success

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Originally Posted On: https://www.citrix.com/products/citrix-workspace/resources/digital-workspace-guide/

Complete workspaces guide

Today’s millennial workforce has fundamentally changed the way modern-day businesses operate. As millennial workers (the largest generation in the U.S. labor force) continue to push for workplace flexibility and work-life balance on the heels of the pandemic, remote work is becoming a mainstay in our digital-first economy.

To put this in perspective, a study conducted by Gallup found that 52 percent of the current remote workforce are millennials—and within this group, 54 percent have a “thriving” well-being compared to the 47 percent of millennials who work on-site. In addition, 74 percent of millennials don’t want to go back to the office five days a week, and 65 percent of Gen Xers and 58 percent of baby boomers would like to continue working remotely once the pandemic is over.

As a business owner, properly adapting to this new way of working is a crucial step in your journey towards digital transformation. Whether you plan on establishing a fully remote or hybrid working environment, ensuring both your internal and mobile teams can work together harmoniously and securely starts with establishing unified workspaces.

Graphic of percentage of millennial remote workers.Graphic of percentage of millennial that want to remain working from home.Graphic of percentage of generations workforce that want to remain remote.

What are workspaces?

Workspaces are accessible digital ecosystems that bring together all your applications, tools, and resources that your employees or end-users need to get work done and collaborate online securely. Designed to meet the unique needs of modern workforces, workspaces enable both internal and remote employees to access information and complete projects from anywhere on any device—no matter if your data is stored in the cloud or in a data center.

Benefits of digital workspace solutions

Digital workspace solutions can speed up your digital transformation process while giving your employees and end-users new ways of interacting and working together. While the benefits of enterprise digital workspaces are vast, integrating one into your business allows you to:

Create a seamless user experience (UX)

Every week, employees spend almost a full day searching for information, logging into multiple systems and devices, and working through repetitive tasks. Additionally, the average employee uses roughly 36 cloud services to effectively complete their work. This creates a complex array of applications and processes to keep track of—making it difficult for employees to access the tools and data they need to quickly perform a given task.

An intelligent digital workspace eliminates these obstacles and distractions, which increases employee engagement and provides a seamless UX. In fact, a study by The Economist found that giving employees easy access to the information they need to do their job is one of the best ways to increase engagement.

Reduce costs and optimize productivity

A digital workspace uses machine learning to streamline and automate workflows. This saves employees from wasting time on repetitive tasks, such as creating reports. As a result, there is an increase in employee productivity levels and a reduction in overhead costs. Employees can also enjoy more flexible work by personalizing workflows and creating micro-solutions within a workspace to solve specific problems. Additionally, a digital workspace simplifies managing and securing multiple apps and devices for your IT team, including remote data management.

Improve business continuity and agility

An effective workspace is one that ensures your company can stay agile and continue operations even during times of change. For example, the pandemic is causing workers to go back and forth between working in the office and working from home as lockdowns are enforced, lifted, and enforced again.

Employees need the ability to work from anywhere without disruptions in their work, and that’s where intelligent digital workspaces come into play. These workspaces enhance communication, collaboration, and workplace flexibility, which allows your employees to get their jobs done and collaborate using any device in any geographic location.

Secure corporate data

As more end-users are working remotely, there is an increased risk for compromised data and accounts. Unfortunately, handling permissions and privileges when dealing with multiple devices in multiple locations creates a tangled mess.

When using an intelligent digital workspace, however, you can easily improve security by offering a single sign-on (SSO) for every application and file across all devices. Additionally, most robust workspaces provide a central user interface (UI) combined with analytics, giving IT complete visibility into how data and applications are used in the company. This allows them to manage role-based permissions easily.

Many companies also use a VPN to protect their data via a proxy server. VPNs can’t protect companies from internal threats, however. A secure digital workspace offers a VPN alternative by using a zero-trust security approach.

Who benefits from workspaces?

  • Internal and remote workers: As the number of employees working remotely increases, companies need to shift to digital work environments to ensure mobile employees are efficient and productive while working from any location. A digital workspace offers a single platform where organizations can communicate, manage, and complete tasks without struggling with different integrations.
  • Companies managing sensitive information: Designated employees working on proprietary technology or sensitive data can securely access information with a unified workspace. Additionally, teams from different departments or organizations can also work together easily in these spaces. These new cross-organizational teams benefit from a single working environment that ties common resources together and integrates disparate workflows.
  • Freelancers and contractors: Many organizations employ freelancers and contractors for various tasks, and some of these employees require access to company applications and data. Digital workspaces ensure your data or sensitive information remains secure by only allowing access to company resources that are necessary for the job.

What characterizes effective workspaces?

Successful workspaces promote unity, security, and simplicity for both your internal and remote workforce, as well as your enterprise as a whole:

  1. Unity:
    Effective workspaces bring together reliable access to applications of all types, including Windows, web, software-as-a-service (SaaS) platforms, and mobile apps, as well as all work resources and workflows across any work channel or location. This includes in the office, on the road, or at home.
  2. Security:
    Effective workspaces protect sensitive data while maximizing UX. Cloud-delivered secure access service edge (SASE) integrates with mobile and endpoint management solutions within a workplace, protecting data regardless of the device. This includes security features such as SSO, multi-factor authentication (MFA), secure browsing, and a zero-trust framework.
  3. Simplicity:
    Effective workspaces provide an intelligent experience that uses automation to guide and streamline work execution. This empowers employees and teams to stay productive and engaged by removing friction and busy work.

Best features of effective workspaces

While integrating robust digital workspaces into your business provides your internal and remote workforce with many features, some of the most effective include:

Interconnectivity: An effective digital workspace includes a strong content collaboration system. By connecting and unifying disparate data repositories, it is easy to find and share content, data, and media with employees and key stakeholders.

Simplified workflows: When you unify work within a digital workspace, it creates a more focused environment so your employees and end-users can perform and collaborate at their best.

Reduced security risks: Many digital workspace providers give you options to store data in a public or private cloud so it doesn’t stay on end-users’ devices, as well as virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) and application virtualization to simplify application management and security.

Modernized IT departments: Effective digital workspaces can modernize your IT department with options to use a desktop-as-a-service (DaaS) platform. This frees up your IT staff from managing a VDI technology stack to focus on virtual desktop development, application development, and other important work.

Governance frameworks: A well-defined governance framework is a key part of an effective digital workspace. This allows you to implement security protocols like The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, System and Organization Controls 2, and The Federal Information Processing Standard Publication 140-2. A proper governance program arranges different levels of access according to an employee or end-user’s role in your organization.

Optimized UX: Focusing on simplicity and intuitive design, an effective digital workspace should match the experience end-users get with consumer-driven technology. An effective workspace is easy to use and personalize so users can get acclimated quickly and focus on assigned tasks.

Integrated security solutions: From end-user access to threat prevention and data protection, an effective digital workspace can provide a complete security stack for SASE and zero-trust network access. This allows you to consolidate security solutions—including cloud access security brokers, secure web gateways, data loss prevention, sandboxing, malware protection, next-generation firewalls, API protection, and software-defined wide-area networks (SD-WAN)—into one platform.

How to implement a successful workspace in 6 steps

1. Select a digital workspace provider

Implementing a successful workspace into your business starts with finding the right digital workspace provider. Full-service workspaces should simplify digital connectivity for your business while incorporating pre-defined integrations with hundreds of the most widely used applications. Look for a platform that also provides:

  • Automated workload provisioning
  • Advanced security capabilities
  • Pre-configured microapps for streamlined functionality

In addition to providing pre-configured microapps, many robust workspaces allow customers, partners, and developers to customize and create their own microapps. This enables employees to complete tasks quickly, obtain the insights and information they need, and increase productivity levels.

Another important consideration is selecting a platform that ensures business continuity in the event of a disaster or crises. Robust digital workspace providers incorporate advanced application delivery controllers and SD-WAN solutions that seamlessly direct traffic to other available sites or clouds when the unexpected occurs. This allows you to restore network conditions quickly and securely while ensuring your applications remain available to end users.

2. Include key stakeholders in the planning process

The key to incorporating a successful enterprise digital workspace is including key stakeholders—such as organizational leaders or designated employees from a broad range of departments—throughout the planning, integration, and evaluation stages. This ensures that your team members stay in the loop, and that they receive hands-on experience with the platform before launch.

3. Hold company-wide workspace trainings

Training your employees on your new digital workspace prior to launch will help them get familiarized with the change. This gives your workforce the chance to start aligning their daily workflows with the new platform, as well as explore new features and functionalities that could improve their productivity. The key stakeholders you included in your planning process are instrumental during training, as they can help speed up the adaptation and troubleshooting process within their own departments.

4. Organize databases

Auditing your existing databases and preparing legacy tools is a crucial step in implementing a successful workspace. As digital workspaces are built around one unifying platform, it’s important to ensure your current databases will integrate together seamlessly. Additionally, this step gives you the chance to ensure all internal process documents—including process documents for your new workspace—are updated, organized, and ready for deployment in your new workspace platform.

5. Prepare legacy tools

You should also closely evaluate your business’s legacy tools. Consider which tools your employees still need or use, and whether you can successfully integrate them into your new workspace. Also consider which tools are redundant or unnecessary, and how you can eliminate them with interrupting employee processes or workflows. Remember, your goal is to consolidate as many tools as possible into one workspace to empower employees and streamline productivity.

6. Launch your workspace and gather feedback

Once you launch your new digital workspace, it’s important to monitor performance while gathering feedback from all levels of your organization. This feedback will help you find common pain-points that are affecting employee productivity levels, as well as implement the changes or updates needed to fix these issues with little downtime or disruption.

Infographic with 6 steps to implement a successful workspace.Get full infographic

Unify your organization with a robust digital workspace

With remote work at the forefront of our digital-first economy, it’s more important than ever to unify your organization with digital workspaces. These workspaces allow you to bring together content, applications, and data into a secure, centralized, and fully customizable platform. Not only does this help increase collaboration and productivity levels, but it also streamlines workflows no matter what device is being used or where an employee is located.

FAQs

What are two key features of a workspace?

Implementing a digital workspace into your organization gives both internal and remote employees the ability to access applications, tools, and information easily and seamlessly from one centralized platform—no matter what device they are using or where they are located. A robust workspace also gives businesses the ability to integrate an advanced security architecture across all applications, files, and devices from one easy-to-use user interface (UI).

What advantages does a unified workspace bring to today’s enterprises?

As more employees shift to remote work, today’s enterprises need to implement a centralized workspace framework that simplifies connectivity, collaboration, and security across multiple devices and locations. With a digital workspace integrated into an organization, businesses can increase employee productivity levels, easily establish customized security protocols, reduce overhead costs, and stay agile during times of change.

What are the benefits of a workspace?

The benefits of a workspace include creating a seamless user experience (UX) for both internal and remote employees, optimizing employee productivity levels, reducing overhead costs by automating tasks, improving business continuity and agility, and easily securing corporate data across all devices in any geographic location.

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