It is not the strongest or the smartest who survive, but those who can manage change best.Leon C. Megginson
For centuries, the boundaries of the interaction between people within a company and the limits of the productive effect of performing heir daily tasks were defined by the physical ability to be in a certain place at a specific time. Thanks to the multitude of software used, automated equipment, and digital tools for operations and communication, these limits have been overcome. The next evolution – already in full swing and known by the term Digital Transformation – brings a change in all assets of businesses, not just the technical and technological ones, but primarily the mental ones.
That is where the term phy-gital finds its perfect fit.
We are all phy-gital and this is an asset for every company.
The word “phy-gital” is a neologism that indicates the meeting point of two worlds: the physical and the digital.
We started the fusion of these two realities a long time ago, but only in recent times has it taken on a natural role within our lives: in fact, we are all already phy-gital, we have learned to integrate digital tools and experiences into our daily lives, to the point of perceiving them as totally inseparable from everything that is part of our physical actions.
Just think of our daily use of digital apps, which accompany us throughout our day, expanding our possibilities and capabilities: social networking apps, messaging apps, functional apps, information apps. To get an idea of the phenomenon, it is interesting to mention that the average daily use of smartphones and mobile devices exceeds 4 hours, and 92.5% of this time is related to apps. In addition to numbers, there are perceptions: while we used to distinguish between digital life and “real” (or physical) life in the past, we do not consider any boundary between the two. Our life is both physical and digital. We also have accustomed our brains to not having to remember mountains of information when we know that immense cloud of data that is the web contains each of them.In short, we are inhabitants of a phy-gital world, and we have become so in a relatively short time, adapting gradually but in a spontaneous and ingrained way. This new human condition is undoubtedly a powerful ally for the digital transformation of companies and absolutely for the mutation of work patterns in a digital-based direction.
Enhance business operating patterns according to a phy-gital mentality.
According to the opinion of many historians, while the nature of the productive places of agricultural or industrial type has been established spontaneously concerning the kind of activity and necessity (the land for agriculture, large spaces or machinery for industry), the birth of the modern office was more rational. It can be traced to the decision of the British East India Company, which, at the beginning of the nineteenth century, considered more efficient an operating model based on a physical place where employees went every day to perform their duties and interact with each other. It was a successful model, but, as we have said, it has also been characterized by the geographical limitations dictated by the location of the office and the definition of working hours.
Today, that model is outdated: what makes it obsolete are the opportunities and advantages offered by technology. That is confirmed by the figure of more than 200 apps or software used on average in modern companies, which require training and commitment. But the physicality and temporality of the workplace also require to be overcome in our mental models, strategies and operating schemes of the company, which must look at the “moment” of interaction between its employees not necessarily linked to their presence in the office.
There are sectors and types of companies that in recent years have been born or have become digital:
- They do not have a physical location.
- They do not offer workstations.
- They operate based on schemes divorced from the logic of physicality and temporality.
But the evolution underway can go much further: the design of work must overcome the compulsion to choose between physical or digital. The era we live in strongly indicates that we are ready for a phy-gital mode, which offers the best of both worlds and frees employees and organizations to apply the best operational, interaction and collaboration strategies. A scheme that shifts the conception of work from the area of “place” to that of “experience”. A cultural evolution before that procedural.
In this revolution, the attitude of people to live phy-gital can play a valuable role: a change that starts from the base and goes up the entire corporate structure. And that, for example, can make the use of technological and digital tools more natural and fluid.
From workplace to workspace.
The point of arrival of this new vision of work is not simply the application of new technologies that can optimize employees’ day-to-day activities, enabling the firm to be more productive and procedures to ensure greater efficiency. The impact can and must be much broader and offer benefits that touch every area of the organization. The contribution of the company’s people must be able to regardless of time and place, but at the same time must count on quality involvement in team activities and individual responsibilities, tracing a path of growth and participation. The new scheme has the power to support the workforce in achieving not just company goals but their aspirations, creating a more rewarding and inclusive collaborative experience that stimulates the application of their skills but also leaves room for development for their resourcefulness and creativity. The model is transformed from conception, and the workplace becomes a workspace.
Digital Workspace: tool and model for phy-gital companies.
To change not only the conceptions of organizations, but also their operations, strategies and procedures, and at the same time improve the work experience of employees, enabling them to achieve a higher degree of efficiency and involvement, you need a tool that is both technological and mental: the Digital Workspace is the tool created to embody the role of environment evolved and evolutionary, interactive and collaborative, equipped with all the necessary tools, customizable not only according to the production sector of the company but concerning the areas of benefit that this tool can activate, for the organization and its employees.
Paraphrasing a famous phrase by Neil Armstrong, we could almost say that adopting a Digital Workspace in this sense is a small step for the people of the company but a giant step for the organization itself. In fact, the employees are already accustomed in their personal lives to moving in a phy-gital world, who can become, if motivated, the real ferrymen of the company towards its brightest future.