Todd Ketterman, executive technology strategist for CDW, says the digital workplace — a term used to describe access to data, applications and collaboration tools that allow employees to work from anywhere, on any device, at any time — is critical for supporting and empowering these workers. But even more important than the specific technology, Ketterman says, is the culture surrounding it. And by “culture,” he doesn’t mean funky furniture, but rather the ways that teams work together to advance the mission of the organization.
“I’ve worked alongside companies that have used their digital workplace solutions to allow certain teams to work essentially whenever they wanted,” Ketterman says. “They were given certain jobs and tasks, but if they wanted to do them at two in the morning, then they could do that. I love that idea. I think that that’s very forward-thinking.”
Three Key Components of a Digital Work Culture
While culture can be an amorphous term, Ketterman identifies three components needed to create a culture that best supports the digital workplace. First, he says, organizations must hire employees who can thrive in the digital workplace, and they must provide additional structures and supports to those who need them.
“I’m not saying you should take people straight out of college and tell them to go do whatever they want,” Ketterman says. “But if we can get out of this 9-to-5 thinking, we’ll see a lot of benefits, including improved quality of life for employees. A lot of the folks who are coming into the workplace right now are really far ahead of the curve with how they work. They don’t have that Stockholm syndrome that I had early in my career, where I thought that I always had to be putting in more hours.”
This sort of work culture requires organizations to emphasize business objectives over busywork or “seat time,” Ketterman notes. “When people know what they’re trying to accomplish and they’re given the right tools, they will do amazing things,” he says.