Fiona Stewart
7 minute read

Earlier in the year when the global pandemic hit, the Digital First team transitioned seamlessly from working in the city centre office in Hardware Lane, to working from their respective homes as the state-wide lockdown was implemented. Even prior to this, employees were able to work from home on occasions where face-to-face client meetings were not scheduled, thanks to having a fully functioning digital workplace. All client documents and team processes could be easily accessed via digital work streams, and rather than attend a physical meeting in the office each morning, employees met on video calls to kick off the day’s task-lists and maintain a positive company culture with casual engagement. How did your organisation fare? Did you have a smooth move from office to remote working or was it a bumpy ride?

As consultants specialising in the digital workplace, we have been promoting the benefits of working from a modern workplace that prioritises digital platforms over traditional manual processes for many years. The benefits felt by organisations who have invested in a digital transformation strategy include futureproofing, although no-one could have predicted that this would extend to a global pandemic. The economic catastrophe experienced across the world because of COVID-19 highlighted just how compromised an extraordinary number of organisations were when their teams were unable to work from the office, and subsequently not set up to function productively from home.

Digital First, and the companies that we have worked with to develop digital workplace strategies, were fortunate that our day-to-day operations were not negatively impacted by the enforced ‘work from home’ policy. Rather, it was our pipeline of prospective work that took the hit as clients scrambled to figure out survival plans in the short-term, not realising just how prolonged working from outside the office would be required for, and what this meant for the longer-term too.

Digital First were recently featured in an ABC News segment that looked at the significant reduction in city centre office leasing as a result of the pandemic. Our founder Grant McWhirter spoke about the merits of our own digital workplace and what this means for us as a consultancy going forward. In July, we decided not to renew our office lease and instead, reinvest the rent to other areas of the business. The segment showed how we met as a team in a rented boardroom for a few hours one morning to work on business strategy. This was the first time since lockdown began in March that we had gathered, and it reminded us all how much we enjoy seeing each other in person to share ideas and interact together. As restrictions have now been eased, Digital First will meet bi-monthly for in-person team meetings. However, we all agreed to continue with our remote-working arrangements rather than look to find a new office as the flexibility and productivity supported by our digital workplace suits all our needs. For those with children and other personal commitments, being able to work from the comfort of our homes rather than trek into the city 5 days a week is highly preferable. We have found that team productivity is at an all time high, and the business has grown considerably in the last 6months.

In fact, most of our new clients have come to us with requests for intranet solutions and ways to connect their teams, regardless of where they are working from. This trend tells us that organisations are realising the urgency of both modernising and futureproofing their workplaces, along with providing more accommodating work plans for teams.

Despite only joining foreces in early 2020, Digital First were awarded Partner of the Year by our intranet solution partner, Valo. This premium out-of-the-box solution is an extension of SharePoint, and can provide connectivity for teams as small as 30 people, all the way up to 10,000 employees.

So where to start? From our experience, there are several key areas to consider:

  • How digitally mature is our organisation?
  • What are our business goals and how does our technology align with them?
  • How do we modernise our workplace to ensure we have an employee-centric workplace?

For a free digital strategy consultation and a demo of our modern workplace solutions, contact us on 03 8657 0196

Fiona Stewart

Fiona Stewart

Senior Manager
Fiona has a background in marketing and client services across multiple sectors in Ireland, United Kingdom and Australia. She is responsible for Marketing and Operations at Digital First, providing guidance on the strategic direction of our business and how we engage with our customers.