2021: Year of the Digital Workspace

Shelby Sansone // December 29, 2021


When I sat down to write this blog post, I planned to create a list of technology changes for 2021. However, as I spent time talking with Improving consultants, I realized there was a theme to these conversations. They were all about the digital workspace. So, let’s look at the digital workspace and how it evolved from a temporary fix in 2020 to a permanent staple in company culture for 2021 and the foreseeable future. 

“I don’t know how you can talk about the last year without the digital workspace being number one on your list.” -  Gregg Flagg, Director at Improving

What is a Digital Workspace?


Photo by Surface on Unsplash

The digital workspace relates to anything in this new work environment we find ourselves in. It incorporates virtual machines, the cloud, video conferencing, chat applications, and more. There’s a good chance you are working from home sometime this week, and wherever you plan to sit during those 8 hours is considered your digital workspace. The applications and software you use while in your digital workspace are what have changed so much in 2021.

Virtual Machines

Instead of giving out new work computers, many companies are opting to use virtual machines, which uses software instead of a physical computer to run programs and applications. All managers have to do is give out a VPN and credentials, then a new employee can start working immediately. 

This works well as people are hiring remote workers who may not live near their organization. New terms like “BYOE” (bring your own environment) are popping up all over the place, and many consultants believe the chip shortage and supply chain issues have increased the trend. But it’s not a bad thing. This new work process helps with consistency and control, plus it keeps information safely inside a network.  

The Cloud

The cloud is not new, but the adoption of it accelerated greatly over 2021. Consultants believe the cloud will be trending every year for decades to come, and the innovation continues at a rapid speed. In 2021, many small and medium-sized businesses finally made the switch as Covid continued to put people back in their homes instead of offices. But, many organizations realized it’s actually quite cost-effective and easy to manage.

Video Conferencing


Photo by Charles Deluvio on Unsplash

It’s hard to forget the learning curve we experienced with video conferences last year, but now we’ve become experts. From daily office meetings to online events, video conferences are not going anywhere. A major change in this realm over 2021 was the use of breakout rooms. Both Zoom and Microsoft Teams now have this feature, though a few consultants say Zoom is winning on this front at the moment. This feature has helped greatly with online workshops and larger learning environments where discussions are necessary. It's one more way we can stay at home instead of gathering in large groups.

Chat Applications

Is email a thing of the past? Not quite. Although, consultants say they spent more time on Teams Chat than email this year. Slack, Google Chat, Facebook Workplace, and dozens of other applications make it easier than ever to get in touch with colleagues without constructing formal emails. Though some consultants hope to see more innovation in the new year on how to manage these chat applications because they can become overwhelming. 

As 2022 welcomes us into the new year, we will undoubtedly see more changes in the digital workspace. If you would like help creating or managing your company’s digital workspace make sure to reach out to us! (A huge thank you to Daniel Scheufler, Gregg Flagg, and Scott Poulin for their knowledge and insight on this topic!)

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