I'm the founder of FutureWork IQ where I spend my time assisting businesses to design digital workplaces or “offices in the cloud.” These environments enable companies to allow flexible and remote working for their teams. I also teach the digital literacy, fluency, communication and collaboration skills needed to work in these modern technology-rich workplaces.

Successfully deploying a digital workplace requires a culture change in most organizations. This is true of digital transformation in general. The 2018 Gartner CEO Survey found that most CEO’s understand that culture change is a key aspect of digital transformation.

However, the survey highlighted something very interesting. Among those companies that are in the process of transforming their businesses into digital businesses and workplaces 42% of CEO’s felt, from their experience along this path, that culture change was needed. Among companies that haven’t yet began the transformation journey only 37% of CEO’s felt that a deep culture change would be needed in their business by 2020. It’s clear from this that those who are busy with transformation understand the role culture plays in making the transition.

The survey also indicated that, in those companies undergoing transformation, there were specific types of culture changes CEO’s were intending to make. They were wanting to make their cultures “more proactive, collaborative, innovative, empowered and customer centric.” They also highly rated moving “to a more digital and tech-centric culture.”

In our experience culture is the make or break factor in successfully implementing any digital initiatives and digital workplaces in particular. Every business has a culture and an accompanying “immune system” as you would have in a living organism. The immune system will reject any “foreign” idea and is normally resistant to change.

So when considering the design and implementation of a digital workplace it will be necessary for the leadership team to have a very clear understanding of what their company culture is currently and the immune system that accompanies it and how to shift this culture to embrace the modern way of working.