5 winning digital workplaces 

April 4, 2022 Updated: April 9, 2022 by

Winning digital workplaces are at the heart of how work happens in organizations. They enable a connected experience of digital tools and information for colleagues across the organization. They are smart and personalized, with multiple front doors that allow seamless access for workers wherever or however they work. And in 2022, they critically enable hybrid working and help to support employee wellbeing. 

But what does it take to make a winning digital workplace? In this article, we’ll explore what’s involved, through learnings from winners of DWG’s Digital Workplace of the Year award 2021. 

Maybe your organization already has what it takes to be a Digital Workplace of the Year winner? If so, you can still enter the 2022 awards and make your case to join the Hall of Fame. 

What makes a winning digital workplace? 

The very best digital workplaces are characterized by the clarity and ambition of their digital workplace strategies as well as the momentum of the programme of work that translates these goals into results. They sport impressive features that have a real ‘wow’ factor, make a tangible difference to the daily lives of employees, and deliver business impact articulated through a range of KPIs.  

Did we forget to mention governance? A sometimes underappreciated element of a winning digital workplace is robust, cross-functional, multi-level governance. Done well, this helps to ensure sustainable progress for the digital workplace programme – and yet it’s surprisingly hard to come by!  

It was exemplified by winner The Coca-Cola Company with its standout performance on governance, underpinning a programme of work focused on enabling employee productivity and supporting culture change. From the cross-functional council that manages the roadmap through to the Architecture Review Board that ensures seamless integrations – one judge went so far as to describe The Coca-Cola Company’s framework as the ‘nirvana’ of digital workplace governance, which, we think, says it all! 

Screenshot of The Coca-Cola Company Digital Workplace Landscape

(Your digital workplace programme may be a work in progress, but that need not stop you from entering the Digital Workplace of the Year award! The judges also reward specific areas of practice in the category awards.) 

Hybrid working 

Winning digital workplaces are critical in enabling the hybrid modes of working that have become so prevalent since the pandemic. 

In a fast pivot to make sure the digital workplace would measure up to the challenging times in which we live, the Adobe digital workplace team imagined and delivered a new experience at the core of their digital workplace to help foster creativity, innovation and culture among employees: the Adobe Life app.  

Images of Adobe's digital workplace mobile experience

This new doorway to Adobe’s digital workplace sports a comprehensive set of key services, including: campus features such as space booking and wayfinding; work anywhere features, including news, podcasts and a people directory; and return-to-office forms and processes. The judges thought this was a great example of ‘seizing the moment’ in order to enable the organization to really thrive through hybrid working, rather than just getting by. 

Such hybrid offerings need to operate right in the flow of work. This was something that Fidelity International really ‘got’ in their work on hybrid enablement. In another speedy pivot to create an app, the Fidelity team included features such as desk and room booking, meeting room technology integrations, dynamic building access and identifying when frequent contacts are in the office, all underpinned by cross-functional collaboration between Corporate Property Services and Technology.  

Fidelity International's digital workplace ambition

If your digital workplace is excelling in how it enables hybrid work, why not enter it for a 2022 award

Employee wellbeing 

Winning digital workplaces don’t come at the cost of digital burnout for workers. In fact, they prioritize employee wellbeing, helping employees to maintain physical and mental health while working digitally.  

Caterpillar dealer Finning impressed the judges with its timely and effective work to support employee wellbeing. Where other organizations have tended to focus on providing wellbeing content during the pandemic, the team at Finning went a step further, making an immediate difference through the power of user communities.  

Extending the conversation around safety from the physical to the psychological has resulted in safe and inclusive online spaces for all employees, where they can share experiences and support each other through the pandemic and beyond. Community activity happens within a smart, integrated ecosystem that enables a seamless employee experience and fosters a culture dedicated to employee safety, wellbeing and inclusion. 

Screenshot of Finning's digital workplace that won an award for Employee Wellbeing

An essential foundation for wellbeing is a laser focus on employee experience, something Fidelity Investments really gets right, with a people focus that runs right through its digital workplace programme. An associate-centric approach is at the heart of an ambitious programme of work at Fidelity to transform the digital workplace experience. Initiatives to simplify and unify the associate experience and make it fit-for-hybrid have been informed by a varied and ongoing programme of user research.  

Fidelity Investment's digital workplace operating cycle

The 2022 judging panel would love to hear more examples of organizations taking employee wellbeing seriously as part of their digital workplace programme. Why not enter and tell us about the work you’ve done in this area? 

Key takeouts 

  • Underpin ambitious strategy with robust, cross-functional, multi-level governance to ensure a sustainable programme of work on the digital workplace. 
  • Seize the moment to deliver digital workplace services that enable the organization to thrive in an era of hybrid working, such as apps that bring together an array of services for employees working across home, office and third locations. 
  • Prioritize employee wellbeing as an integral part of your digital workplace programme in order to avoid technostress and burnout, and to help workers maintain physical and mental health while working digitally. 

Celebrating the best digital workplaces:
5-year trends from DWG’s
Download the report

The deadline to submit your entry for any of the awards is April 19, 2022 at midnight (BST). The winners will be announced in a Live Tour special on June 7, 2022 from 08.00 PDT / 11.00 EDT / 16.00 BST / 17.00 CEST. 

For full details of the award categories and entry criteria, and to start your entry, please visit the Digital Workplace of the Year Awards website. 

Categorised in: Digital employee experience, Digital wellbeing, Digital Workplace of the Year Awards, Employee experience

Elizabeth Marsh

Director of Research

Elizabeth Marsh is DWG’s Director of Research and author of its latest report ‘Digital workplace overload: How to reduce employee technostress’ (available free on our website). She’s worked as a practitioner, researcher and consultant in the digital workplace field for over 20 years and is a strong advocate for digital literacy and digital wellbeing at work. Elizabeth is currently doing a PhD at the University of Nottingham focusing on employee technostress and the potential of mindfulness to help reduce it. She also co-authored – with Paul Miller – the book ‘The Digital Renaissance of Work: Delivering digital workplaces fit for the future’.

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