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The Digital Workplace in 2020: What to Look Out For

The workplace was once physical. These days, it’s portable. 

What is the digital workplace? 

The digital workplace is the collective name for the virtual tools that businesses use to enhance the productivity of staff and processes. These include intranet systems, cloud-based applications, communication tools, and automation. 

The digital workplace is increasingly a virtual environment that offers instant connectivity to employees wherever they are. 

The rise of the digital workplace 

Innovations over the last 12 years have truly revolutionized the work environment.. 42.5% of employees across the globe now have access to applications that feature in the digital workplace. Modern employees embrace and expect digital platforms that make the workplace portable. 

So how did we get here? 

We’ve been approaching the digital workplace for decades now. Beginning with painfully slow intranet, we’ve come a long way: 

  • The Internet of Things (IoT) streamlined connectivity between everything from smartphones to traffic lights and humans 
  • Artificial intelligence automated tedious, time-consuming processes. 
  • Mobile technology and 5G connects humans with other humans and machines at light-speed. 

The most essential part of the digital workplace is modern Intranet systems –  and new technologies enhance them. They’re now powerful, user-friendly hubs. 

While software is essential for modern business, it’s pointless if people don’t want to use it. 

In order for users to make full use of advanced intranet functionality, forward-thinking enterprises invest in User Experience (UX) to create a dynamic digital workplace. 

Digital Workplace Case Studies & Examples


Bushfires are a significant threat to Tasmanian communities. The Tasmanian state government created TasAlert to alert residents of at-risk areas of bushfire danger. The emergency services can upload real-time reports onto an Intranet platform, which automatically alerts subscribers across multiple communication channels. The ease of use has created wide public adoption. Residents can now access life-saving news as it happens from the channel that best suits them. 

Sundt Construction

As a construction company, many of Sundt’s staff members work across different sites. For the business to run smoothly, Sundt needed a powerful intranet system. However, it also needed to be something people actually wanted to use. When Sundt invested in a branded, UX-designed skin to lay over their existing intranet platform, the user-adoption rate soared to 90%. Prior to the redesign, just 40% of Sundt’s staff used the intranet platform. 

AI Sydney

AI Sydney develops AI bot technology that simplifies the Sharepoint experience. The AI assistants can automate time-consuming HR and onboarding processes, they manage calendars, and they provide Q&A support. The bots free up time for staff to spend on tasks that have more value. 

Sleek, user-friendly, analytics-driven Intranet systems are indispensable in the shift towards a future-focused digital workplace. Based on the trends for 2020, that’s precisely where the technology is heading. 

These digital workplace trends will grow and continue to make it easier, faster, and more intuitive for staff to perform business functions throughout the new decade. 

AI assistants

Artificial intelligence assistants like chatbots and Siri are already tremendously popular. Between 2017 to 2020, this space has been forecasted to grow by 44%. AI enables staff to automate tasks that would otherwise be a drain on time and morale. 

Enterprise social platforms 

As people move away from physical office space, companies need to look at new ways to stay connected. Enterprise social platforms like Yammer are growing in popularity. With similar functionality to Facebook, these tools create the space for company-specific social networks. These channels facilitate mass internal communications. They also offer more instantaneous communication than email and cut down on costs. 

Scaled-down applications 

Powerful software is incredible, but it’s wasted if people can’t or won’t use it. Stripped-back designs are trending. Future-focused companies are investing in simple UIs that are specific to the needs of particular roles or teams. They make it easier to hit the ground running, so even new staff can perform tasks on-the-fly. 

Behavioral analytics 

There’s a general trend to focus on usability over functionality in today’s digital tools. 

As best practice in UX evolves and adapts to different business needs,  there’s more focus on applications that feature behavioral analytics tools. These tools provide more insightful methods of prototyping and testing, so they are vital to the UX designers toolkit. 

Trends in behavioral analysis don’t end there. Businesses are measuring the use of physical spaces via data collection from room sensors and WiFi use. The data can answer questions about how people use spaces and how they can be improved. 

Modern business is globalized: Most large companies operate departments across international borders. On top of that, remote work has increased by 159% in just 12 years. According to a  Forbes report, 50% of Americans consider remote work to be the norm. 

In this new landscape, digital tools are vital for enhanced communication and operation. Businesses get better productivity from the digital shift if they focus on the user. 

Do you want to understand the future of the digital workplace? 

Digital workplace conferences you can attend in 2020




June: Workshop: Workplace Innovation Creating the Right Working Environment 


June: Tech Talks: Digital Workplace Leeds


March: Digital Workplace Conference London 

June: CIPD Festival of Work 2020 

October: Workplace X Summit UK and Ireland 


September: Digital Transformation Conference Manchester 2020 

Continental Europe: 


March: Intranet, Collaboratif, Digital Workplace & RSE 2020 Paris 


September/October: IOM Summit – Cologne 

The Netherlands: 

May: Unleashing Innovation in Internal Digital Communications Summit

North America: 

Boston, Massachusetts: 

April: Intra.NET Reloaded Boston 2020 

Chicago, Illinois: 

June: Digital Workplace Experience 2020 

Las Vegas, Nevada: 

December: HR Technology Conference

Denver, Colorado: 

May: atd2020: International Conference and Expo 

Phoenix, Arizona: 

March: Gartner Digital Workplace Summit 

San Jose, California: 

February: ATD: Techknowedge Conference 

South America: 

Sao Paulo, Brazil: 

April: Conferência Gartner Infraestrutura de TI, Operações & Estratégias de Cloud




February: Digital Workplace Summit VIC 2020

August: Melbourne Digital Workplace Conference


September: Digital Employee Experience (#DEX)

New Zealand: 


May: Digital Workplace Conference 2020 New Zealand


February: The Digital Workplace 24 

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