Now more than ever, businesses have adopted a digital transformation mindset.  While digital workplace transformation has its benefits, there is a huge misconception of what it is, and how it can be achieved. Organisations tend to believe that through the use of the latest technology or by simply moving into a virtual workplace, everything will work seamlessly.  This innocence has led to many hardships, making it seem like a digital workplace isn’t a feasible concept. A successful digital workplace goes beyond the latest technology or infrastructure development. There needs to be a contingency plan for digital integration, ensuring all barriers have solutions prior to any transformation. Below, we discuss three barriers, and how to overcome them. 

The skills gap within the organisation 

One of the key issues that delay economic development in South Africa, and in the office, is commonly digital skills. With the technology infrastructure in South Africa slowly growing, the skills people need to work successfully, in digital, is lacking. This, in turn, can affect any strides businesses take towards innovation. One can only see business innovation, productivity, quality of work or the chance to pursue opportunities within your industry when people within your company have sufficient digital literacy knowledge. For your business to overcome this barrier, skills development training within your company needs to be a priority before digital transformation is implemented.  Additionally, you need to engage with your employees to ensure that everyone is on the same page and knows what is required of them. This will ensure that your staff integrates easily into any setting, whether it is new equipment or working from home. 

Employees may be reluctant to change 

Fear of the unknown is common, particularly in the workplace. Many businesses which have decided to step into a new direction have been met with challenges, and it’s because workers fear the unknown. They fear that a new approach, especially with technology, will make their jobs redundant. Another reason for resistance may be a busy schedule as they cannot afford to make time for training. Resistance from employees will hold back any changes you might have planned for your business.  To combat this issue, you have to be open and transparent with them if there is any infrastructure development or changes within the company. Learning of big changes from corridor rumours can be detrimental to the morale of your employees. So, always be the first to disclose any new information. Let them know what all these changes mean for their livelihood, and not only for your business.

Lack of resources 

The lack of resources will always hinder the steps your business is taking towards a digital workplace. Many who are working from home have technology issues that stop or make it difficult for them to complete their tasks. Without resources like faster internet, computers with software and a digital strategy that improve business performance, remote work challenges like communication will continue to be an issue. To ensure that remote work management challenges are addressed, have a strategy that covers training, internet, equipment and communication for when people move into a virtual workplace. 

Your workplace culture 

An outdated company culture is one of the leading barriers to digital change. Many businesses find it difficult to move into a digital environment as the culture itself isn’t flexible to change. The culture includes micromanaging, lack of transparency, no support among teams and lack of diversity and inclusion. These issues can make it difficult to move into a virtual environment as there is no trust, transparency or support for employees. This can lead to employees feeling alone, heighten anxiety and lower morale which ultimately causes problems for the business.  To ensure that does not happen, create a better workplace culture by offering support to help employees with transformation. Additionally, learn to trust employees to do the work you’ve hired them to do, without breathing down their necks and keep them updated on any changes that are projected to happen within the company. This will ensure that your company has a positive workplace culture that promotes productivity even digitally. 

Final thoughts 

Moving into a digital landscape can be difficult and overwhelming for employees as well as management. And, if these barriers and more aren’t addressed, it will cause problems and will hinder the development of your company. Now more than ever, organisations are moving into the digital workplace as it has many benefits for you and your employees. To reap those benefits there needs to be procedures put in place to make change effective. Offer your staff the resources they need, be transparent, and show trust to ensure that no barriers will interfere with the success of your company.   

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