According to office design firm Teknion, office space per employee will shrink from 200 square feet to about 50 to 100 by 2015. So, what gives? While employees aren’t getting any smaller, their office footprints are shrinking thanks to an increasing shift to a more digitally-inclined workplace.

Digital workplaces are bred for efficiency and lean operating costs, so they make sense for those looking to bring their organizations into a more modern age. Knowing that some of the pros have successfully implemented a digital workplace – and, armed with some basic tips – can help you consider making the shift.

Virtual Reality

Some of the most significant operating costs for an organization can be effectively done away with, thanks to digital accessibility. From Skype calls replacing travel to home-based offices instead of dedicated workspaces, the digital workplace leans out costs to the bare necessities. But it also respects the changing lifestyles of millennial workers: Anxious to make their own schedules and work independently, a digital workplace gives younger employees more freedom. Instead of being tied to a desk, they’re glued to a smartphone and instead of a clunky desktop, it’s all about the sleek tablet. The result is a more streamlined and eventually, more productive workforce.

Prime Examples

Think you’re the only one mulling over the possibilities of a digital-heavy workplace? Think again. International companies –that actively recruit and hire millennials – like Adobe and Microsoft are making the shift to virtual offices, thanks to a widespread reach and need for consistency.

Take Adobe, for example. Using AdobeConnect, employees can ask questions, take training courses and even connect with a mentor – even if they’re separated by an ocean. For its part, Microsoft has created the MTC – Microsoft Training Center – so that employees from all over the world receive the same caliber of corporate training without costly travel or taking up too much time.

Making Digital Workplaces Work

If you’re interested in bringing more digital elements to your office, you’ll need the following factors:

  • Devices. A digital workplace hinges on the devices available to employees, whether issued by the organization or purchased personally.
  • Compatibility. Custom apps and programs are great, but they need to be universally compatible to take different employees’ devices into consideration.
  • Communications. In order for a digital workplace to be successful, communication needs to be a top priority. From email to IMing, conference calls to FaceTime, employees must be committed to swapping face-to-face time with digital communication.
  • Security. When sharing data across networks, security applications are a must.
  • Personal elements. Because employees in a digital workplace don’t get the personal interaction common in a more traditional office, adding personal elements can help improve organizational unity. From scheduled chats to social media and even friendly contests, personal elements help create the team player atmosphere.

While you might not make the complete switch to a digital workplace in one day, you can slowly add in some of the elements to allow for a smoother transition. The virtual office will be increasingly significant in the modern workplace and working with millennials in particular, so fire up your Skype account and get ready.