The changing nature of work

Long anticipated, digital transformation is redefining jobs and roles. Digital technologies have transcended simple process acceleration and are deconstructing our old notions about work and the workplace.

Multiple gigs instead of one role

Mobile technologies in particular have catalyzed the development of the gig economy. What constitutes a job, who is an employee and how work gets done are being completely reshuffled by the ability to work anytime, anywhere — because the digital workplace doesn’t recognize physical or occupational boundaries.

In this new gig model, one person is no longer constrained to one role. An employee can wear many hats and be involved in activities that span many roles; much of the work that gets done is accomplished by teams who switch roles and tasks seamlessly. Collaboration happens intuitively and digitally across corporate, physical and geographical boundaries. As workers exercise more independence and pick jobs they’re truly interested in, businesses can focus resources and investments and gain the flexibility to contract with specialists as needed.

Center of innovation and change

Here’s another difference: The workplace is becoming an important center of innovation and change through vehicles like crowdsourcing and cross-corporation collaboration. Employees want companies to rethink how they manage and reward employees. Companies that understand the digital workplace have learned to embrace those employees who are interested in change and technology, and to adopt them as beta customers to accelerate innovation. Early adopters can help companies spot new use cases, products and technologies that can have broad application in the enterprise.

Crowdsourced help

These trends and others have given IT organizations a lot to think about. IT can choose to stay the course with traditional policies and approaches, but this likely won’t end well. Today’s users won’t think twice about bypassing IT in favor of preferred devices and channels. Crowdsourced assistance is maturing and becoming more common. In the IT support space, for example, users are more likely to Google the answer to a problem — or contact a friend — than to wait for the company’s help desk to respond.

To prevent the inevitable friction between IT and users — and ultimately shadow IT, information silos and productivity loss — IT should embrace crowdsourced help and introduce curation and knowledge management processes to ensure the correct answer is easy to find and productive help aligns with IT governance.

For example, gamification has been successfully used to reward good assistance and encourage participation from anyone with valuable experience. Whether in the form of badges, leaderboards, or points, employees are encouraged to help each other. An employee-run forum for technical support can award points to those employees who help others resolve their issues and close support tickets. Whether using points received for great help or awards based on the number of resolutions, a contributor can spend their reward in the company store.

Showing users their usage patterns can shape behaviors as well. A dashboard that details the number of Skype minutes a user consumed (encouraged) versus more expensive conference bridge minutes (discouraged) is a simple way to guide users toward the tools that are the most efficient and effective.

The workplace has changed, and with it, worker expectations. To get all the benefit from the new innovation-driven workplace, IT needs to offer employees the experience they expect, or face the wrath of a digital mob.

Read more in the position paper, Redefine your digital workplace as an innovation center.

Marc Wilkinson was DXC Technology’s chief technology officer for Workplace & Mobility. He left DXC in October 2019.


  1. Great insights Marc and it truly is a multi-role future for us all!

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