- The digital skills gap is prevalent for the world’s workforce.
- Operators need to help members gain the right digital skills to compete in their market.
- Members need to understand their workspace tech and gain other digital skills.
Technology is everywhere and the world’s shared workspaces are no exception. From smart access to shiny gadgets, there are plenty of options to choose from – but you need to tread carefully to ensure your workspace technology is aligned to your business model and member needs.
But are you addressing the potential lack of digital skills in your workspace? If you don’t make sure everyone understands why you have implemented a piece of technology and how to use it, you could alienate your less tech-savvy members very quickly.
What’s more, a digital education is critical for today’s flexible workforce to compete and remain relevant in their market. Speaking in a statement, Chloé Jepps, deputy head of research at IPSE (The Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed), said: “If your career relies on regularly securing new contracts, however, keeping up with the latest digital and other new skills is extremely important.”
However, a lack of digital skills is prevalent and is estimated to cost the UK economy £10 billion in lost productivity. The research also reveals only 10% of UK workers said they had spent any significant amount of time learning to use data in the workplace.
The situation isn’t much better in other global locations, with other countries reporting similar stats, including Japan (19%), the USA (17%), Sweden (17%), Germany (16%), France (14%), Singapore (14%) and Australia (12%). The only notable exception is India, where 52% of respondents were educated to use data in the workplace.
The UK has the lowest proportion of all the countries surveyed and yet, 58% of the British workforce are expected to make data-driven decisions at least once a week.
In-house Tech Education
So, what can operators do to make sure every member has the right digital skills for their job? Some operators may argue that it’s not their responsibility to educate members in this way. Of course, it depends on your business model and the profile of your members. But given the increasing relevance of technology in our day-to-day working lives, this seems like a short-sighted approach and one that does little to add value to your members.
For starters, try to make sure your members understand the technology you use at your space. When you onboard a new member, explain your technology. This doesn’t just include the visible gadgets they’ll use on a day-to-day basis. You could also run onboarding sessions that explain how you gather and use member data to optimise your workspace. For example, if you have a smart access system and this informs your workspace usage, explain how and why it does so to your members.
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Likewise, when you introduce a new technological solution to your workspace, run workshops and online sessions to explain how to use it. No one wants to be faced with a new printer or access system with no idea how to use it.
Digital Skills Sessions
You should also offer workshops and other educational sessions to help your members understand many of today’s emerging technologies that may impact their working lives.
There is a huge range of topics to choose from and, again, your choice depends on the profile of your members and workspace. But here are some of the top digital skills for today’s workforce:
- Cyber and data security – how can your members make sure their data is safe? And how can you protect your workspace’s online security? With cybercrime increasing year-on-year, your members need to protect themselves in the digital domain.
- Software-as-a-Service – many of today’s technologies are delivered over the cloud and members need to understand how to use and implement these tools.
- Data storage and management – with all this online data, where is the best place to store it and how can your members manage their information online?
- Communication and collaboration tools – if your members don’t know their Slack channels from their Trello boards, you may want to run sessions that explain the range of management tools that now exist.
- Data presentation – from using spreadsheets to manipulate your data, to using written documents and the latest presentation software to showcase it, members need to understand the range of tools available to help them present their corporate information to the world.
- Mobile devices – what’s your mobile device policy at your workspace? Make sure your members understand your stance and act accordingly, while also explaining the benefits of BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) initiatives.
- Social media for business – a range of digital channels now exists, but each requires a different set of skills and understanding of why, when, and how to use it in a business context.
- Digital problem-solving – including how to use data to solve a problem or gain insights into a business. As our data is used in a growing number of ways, this analytical skillset is increasingly in demand.
- Content creation – whether writing a blog, e-newsletter or reporting on an event, flexible workers often need to promote their business online and a writing workshop can help hone these skills.
- Internet – basic internet skills are also important to conduct research and get the right information for many flexible workers to do their job.