At this point, digital workspace technology is characterised as kinda neat, and a bit nerdy. After all, what sort of organisation would seriously consider 8-bit retro-gaming screens with dodgy-looking avatars as its workplace? At least that’s how the mainstream press appears to view the state of the art.
Having spent several months with the team at Digital Conversation working with various platforms and through many office scenarios, I suggest that in fact we should treat this tech very seriously. Digital Spaces have the potential to revolutionise our workplaces, and organisations need to plan for them.
The revolution will not be televised
This revolution won’t happen overnight. We envisage three evolutionary phases, but these will ultimately add up to a transformation of the world of work:
Initially, organisations are adopting digital workspaces to augment their physical workplaces and to help overcome the challenges of home working. The workplace then becomes a collection of physical spaces, with increasing use of digital teamworking tools, plus digital spaces to complement and extend the role of those tools.
At a later point, as experience grows and more data emerges, organisations will embrace digital workspace tech to create a more purposeful workplace: one that is better than their current set of physical office spaces. In short, the actual model and concept of an optimally designed workplace will shift from physical to digital spaces.
Beyond this, we expect to see geographic boundaries lose some or all of their significance in organisational structures, ushering in the era of the Decentralised Autonomous Organisation (DAO). This transition has the potential to alter the future of work radically, in the same way as blockchain-based cryptocurrencies aim to displace today’s financial systems.
Far fetched? I don’t think so, but as Gil Scott-Heron’s classic spoken-word testament outlined, we’re not going to find out by sitting on the sofa and watching.