Modern Workspace vs. Modern Workplace: Getting the Tech Right

September 09 - 2021

While both these terms are used interchangeably even by some of the top managers and IT firm executives today, there are many differences between workspaces and workplaces. In very simple terms, the place where you go to work is your workplace, the place where you get the job done is your workspace. So, which one delivers higher productivity and employee satisfaction?

Workspace or Workplace: Which is More Important?

If I ask you “where do you work?”, what would your answer be? Your organization’s name? Maybe your office location? Or perhaps even ‘remotely’ is a popular answer nowadays. Have you ever heard anyone say, “I work at the desk adjacent to the quality control team’s cabin?” Or “the cubicle right opposite the conference room door?” No, and you likely never will.

Ironically, the latter is the most appropriate answer to the question. Why do you think many employees prefer working remotely ever since the pandemic? Apart from the obvious safety concerns, the simple fact was they found a more convenient, flexible ‘workspace.’

While both workplace and workspace are important aspects of working, most employees believe that the workspace, i.e., the place where they sit and do the actual work, matters more.

Of course, from society’s viewpoint, your office location, the lobby, the cafeteria, all of which form part of your workplace are also very crucial. A good office, well-designed interior, good facilities, go a long way in ensuring employees that you’re a dedicated organization that cares about the staff.

However, with the digital boom, digital workspaces like online meetings and virtual conferences have blurred the lines between workspace and workplace even more. The short answer to which one is more important is: workspace. But if you dive deeper, you’ll realize that while workspaces are a bit more important from a productivity point of view, workplaces are important from a psychological perspective.

Which employee, after all, wouldn’t be happy about state-of-the-art offices located in posh areas of the city? Entering a lobby that feels like a resort is in-itself a big morale booster for employees. More often than not, it sends out a message that they’re a part of something much bigger than themselves, and that their contributions are meaningful and appreciated. Managers across the globe concur – nothing inspires an employee as much as conveying to them that they’re valued.

In a nutshell, workspaces are more important, but good workplaces aren’t without their benefits. Opinions differ from employee to employee, so if you’re taking a call, it’s best to conduct surveys keeping your employees in the loop to find what gets them out of bed everyday, the excitement of going to their workplace, or the thought of their comfortable workspace.

What is a Modern Workspace?

Digital or Modern workspaces include every digital item or device that they use for work. This could be a digital calculator, your laptop, mobile phone, licensed software, and other electronic gadgets and digital tools.

These are integrated tools and a framework of management that assist employees in storing data, accessing it from different devices, and creating end-points for data access, storage, and delivery.

These are mostly cloud-based services that bring a user’s files, software, operating systems, and everything digital under one roof for easy, flexible, and secure access. Digital workspaces are important factors for employees who want to work remotely. But then, what is a digital workplace?

What is a Digital Workplace?

Some people consider digital workspaces as the subset of digital workplaces, but that holds only when we’re speaking of working remotely. A digital workplace is nothing but the digital or virtual environment you create where your employees can work.

The work in question would largely involve accessing centralized data from their digital workspaces using cloud-based and other similar services. Digital workplaces are the points where collaboration takes place.

If good digital workspaces are about providing comfort to employees and ensuring they have the right resources with high reliability and flexibility, digital workplaces are all about how a team can work together to bring the best out of each other.

Digital workplaces go a long way in automating certain business processes and are often viewed by many managers as the backbone of a successful employee-oriented, team-driven culture within the business.

Key Differences between Workplaces and Workspaces

Workplaces are fixed, workspaces may keep changing

Take a very simple example. If your organization has a policy of conducting meetings on MS Teams or Zoom, it’s very unlikely to change its protocols and allow, say Google Meet to be the hosting platform for the next annual conference. But can the same be said for your company laptops or phones? No, they are the workspace tools and the workspace itself shall keep on changing as employees enjoy the flexibility of change as often as they need.

Digital Workspaces are Dependent, Digital Workplaces are Not

This one should be rather obvious, but let’s take a hypothetical example. If your computer’s operating system does not support a Zoom call which is where all your meetings are scheduled, what is likely to change? The platform which would affect everyone or your computer to one which has no such limitations?

In Digital Workspaces, People Interact with Technology. In Digital Workplaces, Technology is Merely the Platform

Workplaces offer you the infrastructure, which can then be utilized to implement digital workspaces that best suit each employee.

Conclusion

Employees and HR managers sometimes have a hard time identifying the difference between the two terms. While both are fundamentally different, creating a strong culture requires that you pay attention to both, the workplace and your workspaces. As a general rule, keep in mind that the ideal workplace is which aligns best with what your company stands for, and the ideal workspace is where your employees feel the most comfortable and inspired.

Topics: Modern Workspace

Work has fundamentally changed since the past few
New workspace environments are key.
The “new normal” is here to stay, at least for the
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