Run a Google search for what is a digital workplace? and you will uncover over six million results.
What you won’t find however is a consistent definition. As the popularity of the term digital workplace has increased, so too have the interpretations. Not since the emergence of Big Data, have so many experts felt the need to weigh in with their explanation.
Part of the reason it’s been so challenging to nail down a definition is because the line between the physical office and the place where work actually happens is becoming more blurred.
Definitions also vary because the digital workplace means different things to different people.
Since the concept changes according to industry and individual, we’ve never really managed to progress beyond an abstract or theoretical definition. Each variant is inherently ambiguous.
The History of the Digital Workplace
Up until recently the term workplace referred to a physical space where employees went to get work done. Now the term is more conceptual. A workplace is now an always-connected environment that provides instant access to everything employees need to get work done.
As far back as 2009, Paul Miller, CEO and founder of Digital Workplace Group (DWG), included digital workplace in his lexicon. It was conceived as an understanding that an exploration into how technology would affect both the workplace and the nature of work would be necessary.
A few years later, Miller authored the book: The Digital Workplace: How technology is liberating work. Miller’s angle focused on the evolution of the workplace and how work happens.