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Many of us will be thoroughly glad to be see the back of 2020, with hopes that 2021 will bring better times. However, it has been an important year for the digital workplace – and intranets too – providing the backbone of business continuity through collaboration tools and channels with reliable information. In 2020, the digital workplace emerged as the essential workplace, a trend we expect to continue in 2021.

On Digital Workplace Group (DWG)’s expert blog throughout the year we’ve featured many insightful posts and articles from a range of DWG experts that dig deeper into current and future trends, indicate good practices and highlight case study examples that we hope you’ve found interesting, thought-provoking and useful. Inevitably, some of these articles reflect on the impact of COVID-19, while others have focused on a range of different aspects of managing digital workplaces and intranets.

Here is our regular annual round-up of some of our most popular and favourite articles from the year. Happy reading and happy holidays too!

1. Paul Miller’s predictions for 2021

Every year, DWG’s CEO and Founder, Paul Miller, produces his popular digital workplace predictions for what will happen in the following year; it’s often one of our most visited articles. He also assesses whether last year’s predictions actually happened.

In this long read, Paul gives his thoughts on 2021 and what we might expect as the dust from the disruption of 2020 settles. Based on conversations with the professional community and other thought leaders, each 2021 prediction also comes with a view on the “bigger picture”, a longer-term trend that may follow. There is also an overarching “super prediction” – this year suggesting that organizations will drive more transformation and move towards being “living organizations”. Intrigued? Then make sure you read this post!

2. Digital workplace overload: how to reduce technostress

Digital workplace overload report coverWellbeing in the workplace has been a key trend for 2020. One factor that can negatively impact our health is “technostress”, where an “overload” of information or applications can lead to an emotional or mental state of stress. With everybody spending longer in the digital workplace, anecdotally, technostress has been on the rise.

In 2020, DWG’s Director of Research, Elizabeth Marsh, authored a fascinating DWG member research report on tackling technostress. This article describes some of the findings from the report, proposing that technostress needs to be tackled on three fronts – at the organizational and leadership level, in relation to information and technology management, and through individual and team skills.

3. Winner of Digital Workplace of the Year 2020 – DBS Bank

Each year, DWG organizes the Digital Workplace of the Year Awards and its sister competition Digital Workplace Leader of the Year, to showcase and celebrate the world’s best digital workplaces and the inspiring people behind them.

In this post we explain how our 2020 winner, DBS Bank, has used employee feedback to power an excellent digital workplace that includes a powerful virtual assistant, an ideation tool with high adoption, and social tools that are used to drive communities and peer recognition. The popularity of the digital workplace is indicated by an off-the-scale NPS rating of +88!

On our expert blog we also cover our Digital Workplace Leader of the Year, Priya Thummalapalli from Prudential Financial, whose pioneering work has consistently raised the bar on employee experience and HR systems at the company.

4. Four key digital workplace takeaways from DWG24

DWG was a pioneer in creating one of the earliest fully virtual conferences in DWG24, 24 hours of programming featuring the world’s leading intranets and digital workplaces. With the event taking place every couple of years since 2008, the 2020 version was just as fresh as the original.

In this post Steve Bynghall explored four of the key takeaways from the numerous live tours and expert sessions that took place during DWG24 2020, including reflections on optimizing the digital workplace from LEGO Group, a great session on digital literacy from the team at VELUX, and an excellent approach from Duke Energy that places employee recognition right on the intranet homepage. This post includes screenshots.

5. Mental health toolkits for working from anywhere (while the world around you is exploding)

Speech bubbles showing conversations about mental healthIn October we published another article relating to health and wellbeing, this time to celebrate World Mental Health Day. In this personal post based on her own experiences, DWG’s Director of Knowledge, Shimrit Janes, talks candidly about the mental health and wellbeing issues that have impacted many people during 2020, and the kinds of approach that can make a real difference both for individuals and organizations.

This thoughtful post is an excellent starting point to consider not only what is in your own personal “mental health toolkit”, but also what we as digital workplace professionals can do to drive better awareness of mental health issues.

6. A Manifesto for the Decade of Courage

COVID-19 has made 2020 a year of unprecedented and dramatic change – but we were already living in highly volatile times. Technology, demographic, the environmental crisis and social trends all mean that the ways we work are going to continue to evolve dramatically over the next decade. The question is, what do we need to do to rise to the challenges, while at the same time grasping the opportunities that lie ahead?

To start conversations around this, DWG created the Decade of Courage Manifesto, a bold set of 12 guiding principles we need for workplace transformation in the coming years. This post explains the manifesto, the thinking behind it and includes a link to the free download. We hope you find it as thought-provoking to read as we did to write it.

7. Digital workplace acceleration: 8 takeaways from the DWG Technology and Research Institute Technology Lab

One of DWG’s innovations from 2020 was the creation of the DWG Technology and Research Institute, an exciting new forum that brings technology providers and digital workplace practitioners together to share knowledge, perspectives and ideas, to the benefit of everyone. One of the main formats for sharing this knowledge was our two-day Technology Lab, an online event with presentations, tours, Q&A sessions, discussions and more.

The Q2 Technology Lab was themed around digital workplace acceleration, a hot topic for 2020. This post details eight takeaways and perspectives from the Lab, including the importance of governance, the impact of AI and the reassuring observation that intranets are definitely not dead!

8. Seven things we learnt from the digital workplace from the 2020 survey

Every year DWG runs a detailed survey about intranets and digital workplaces among members and also the wider professional community, providing us with a fascinating snapshot of what digital workplaces look like in the present, as well as future challenges and plans. This information allows us to identify long-term trends and also helps to determine our research and content programming.

In this post, which was written early in 2020 before COVID-19 spread across the world, we cover seven takeaways from the survey covering everything from the relentless march of Microsoft Teams to the increase in peer involvement in digital literacy programmes and the good news that more organizations are formalizing digital workplace programmes. It will be fascinating to see how the events of 2020 will impact the 2021 survey results.

9. 20 areas organizations need to consider to embed remote working in the long term

2020 will be remembered for a lot of things – most of which we would probably rather forget – but in some ways it was an important year for digital workplaces, as they support the remote working critical for business continuity.

With remote and hybrid working likely here to stay, back in Spring we looked at the different areas that organizations need to consider in order to truly embed successful remote working for the longer term. This useful article covers 20 areas, including the physical workplace, HR policies, the role of support functions, workplace analytics and recruitment polices. This is a handy checklist to get you thinking about potential areas of change in the light of the dramatic scaling-up of remote working and working from home.

10. Nurturing cultures of inclusivity and belonging with the digital workplace

Ensuring diversity and inclusion(D&I) in the workplace has multiple benefits, with a bank of research showing D&I’s positive impact on everything from innovation to profitability.

In this important post from Shimrit Janes, we look at some of the topics that emerged during a Digital Nations Group Hangout focusing on the intersection of diversity and the digital workplace. Themes include the need to ensure there is good accessibility and also how to use the digital workplace to amplify a culture of diversity. Shimrit provides multiple tips and tactics, as well as exploring issues such as the digital divide, unconscious bias and psychological safety. This is a good read if you are considering how you can start to drive a more accessible and inclusive workplace.

 

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About the author

Steve-BynghallSteve Bynghall is a freelance consultant, researcher and writer specializing in the digital workplace, intranets, knowledge management, collaboration and other digital themes. He is DWG’s Research and Knowledge Lead, a benchmark evaluator and research analyst for DWG. Steve previously worked at accountancy firm BDO in a variety of knowledge roles, including managing its global extranet programme.

Connect with Steve on Twitter: @bynghall or on Google +.

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