‘The digital renaissance of work – delivering digital workplaces fit for the future’. Does that mean anything to you? 

Elizabeth Marsh, Director of Research at the Digital Workplace Group, kicked off the Institute of Internal Communication's conference in Brighton last Thursday evening with a brilliant presentation about the above sentence. Elizabeth researches intranet usability and digital platforms for work which has broadened into the digital workplace. Put simply, she explores the gap between what people want and what they have at work.

But what is the digital workplace?
Marsh describes it as a combination of all digital technology available at work, the virtual equivalent of a physical workplace.

Elizabeth talked about creating digital workplaces fit for the future. At first I wondered where we fitted in, but she was quick to explain that a digital work ethic makes work more fulfilling and meaningful, and that a successful digital workplace is a human-centred one.

It’s clear, digital technology is changing the way we live and work, we’re experiencing a revival driven by new technologies, hence her digital renaissance label (clever, hey?). So with all this in mind, we not only need to be communicators, we also need to be digital renaissance communicators.

What does it mean to be a digital renaissance communicator?
- You need to have strong communications skills and be authentic and personal
- You need to help make work in the digital age a more human experience
- You need to recognise the close relationship between strategy and communications – the latter can influence the former as well as challenge it
- You need to be prepared to challenge the status quo
- You need to put the audience first, always

And that's just a few things. Sounds familiar, right? I thought so. I think what all of this means is that we need to continue to move with the times, more quickly than people in other arenas. As communicators in an increasingly digital world, there is more responsibility for us if we want it and we can use the idea of a digital workplace to make work more flexible, meaningful and fresh.

This year’s IoIC conference was based around the agile communicator. Its title, ‘Agile IC: adapting to change to be tomorrow’s partner today’, lent itself to some great talks over the event, and as usual I came away with lots on my mind.

Over the next week I’ll write about some of the presentations that inspired me, so keep an eye on our blog and shout if you have any questions!