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Digital Employee Experience (DEX) is Here

Rachel Reed
3/25/20 5:03 PM

Digital employee experience (DEX) has been on the rise for some time as the percentage of remote workers has steadily increased by 44% since 2014

What is digital employee experience? 

Here’s one way to define DEX: 

Digital employee experience (DEX) is the sum total of the digital interactions between a staff member and their organization.

More broadly, it’s “just one part of the total employee experience, which consists of digital, physical and cultural aspects.” 

According to advisor Jane McConnel, who has been working with global organizations to streamline digital work for nearly two decades, this is a more fitting definition: 

Digital employee experience (DEX) is the sum total of digital interactions within the work environment” 

Now that remote work is an overnight reality for a majority of businesses, a focused DEX strategy is crucial. But what if you don’t have the budget or experience to accommodate remote teams? In 2017-18, only about 25 percent of U.S. workers worked at home at least occasionally and only 15 percent had days on which they only worked at home, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

And what about employees themselves? The line between work and life tends to blur, especially when an employee’s daily routine is suddenly upended. 

Businesses are doing something about it. To measure the employer response to the COVID-19 crisis, law firm Seyfarth sent a flash survey to its clients and collected responses from 550 U.S. employers from March 12 to March 16, 2020.

  • 67% of employers surveyed were taking steps to allow employees to work from home who don’t normally do so. 
  • 36% were actively encouraging all employees to work from home in some or all parts of the country as of mid-March. 
  • 42% were encouraging employees to work from home on a case-by-case basis. 
  • 6% were encouraging employees to work from home in hot spots. 

To develop DEX-focused initiatives, start simple: 

Develop a knowledge base

Ensure teams are well-versed in communication tech your organization uses for remote work. (Think Zoom, GotoMeeting, Slack) Does everyone have a full understanding of the features, functionality, and best practices? Most platform have robust libraries of help and learning content. Organize these and blast them out to your teams. 

Save room for fun

One study found the top remote work challenges for employees were collaboration and communication (20 percent) and loneliness (20 percent).

Don’t let team-building initiatives and employee engagement fall by the wayside during a time of disruptive uncertainty. Encourage individuals from different departments to connect and get to know each other outside of regular meetings. Slack’s donut app, for example, introduces people who don’t know each other well on teams of all sizes via direct messages, and encourages them to meet virtually for a variety of programs. Donut mobilizes organizations to encourage remote interaction by facilitating virtual coffee meetups, remote team lunches, daily donut meetings, and cross-department introductions. 

HR professionals say it’s important for business leaders to take steps to lighten things up and help reduce feelings of isolation that some workers might experience working alone at home.

It’s not realistic to think we can maintain pre-coronavirus levels of productivity right now,” says Cali Williams Yost, founder of the Flex Strategy Group, a flexible workplace consultancy. Instead, “focus on keeping everyone safe and healthy while maintaining as much productivity as possible.”

Download: How Employee Recognition Influences Attitude & Behavior in the Workplace 

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