What does working digitally mean?
Work is increasingly digital. Whether you’re doing an internship or placement or have recently moved into a graduate job, digital practices are likely to be a big part of your day-to-day experience.
This might involve using new technology, digital tools, or online platforms to complete tasks. It might mean working in a hybrid way; where you sometimes work in-person in a physical workplace, and at other times you work from home, or another ‘remote’ location. Or, it may require you to develop specific digital skills or adopt new professional approaches and behaviours to be successful in your role.
Using tools and technology in the workplace
Watch our video to gain an insight into how recent UoN alumni use tools and technology on an everyday basis at work.
Developing skills that will help you to work effectively and be successful in the digital workplace
Whatever your job, you will need to develop digital skills, knowledge, and confidence.
This could involve getting familiar with new communication and collaboration platforms, being able to find and evaluate digital information, using digital tools to organise your workload and manage projects, learning how to code, using software to access, analyse or present data, knowing how to create digital content, or learning to use specialist technologies.
Start by spending some time thinking about what digital skills and knowledge are most relevant to your career. Then, evaluate what you already know and do well and identify any gaps or areas for development. Once you’ve done that, be proactive and seek out opportunities to learn new skills, prioritising those that you feel will be most relevant and important to your future success.
Support for current UoN students
- The Digital Discovery Tool – this resource will help you to assess your digital skills, access training, and track progress. You will be invited to complete a questionnaire that will encourage you to reflect on your digital skills and then you will receive a personalised report that provides a visual representation of your scores along with a capability rating (developing, capable or proficient), and suggested next steps.
- Magpie - magpie is an online personalised learning engine aimed at developing essential career skills. It tailors its content to match your needs and suggests useful learning tools that are specific to you in order to help you develop skills to succeed in your line of work.
- The Digital Student – this Moodle module offers a collection of practical resources that will help you to develop a range of essential digital capabilities. These will help you to be successful at university and in the workplace.
- The following Moodle modules draw together a range of high quality, free introductory courses on important digital skills: Introduction to data and analytics and Introduction to AI.
- Google Digital Garage – this website offers free learning content on a variety of digital topics, for example, Fundamentals of Digital Marketing or Understand the Basics of Code.
- Microsoft Learn – this website offers a range of training resources to help you to use Microsoft products. You can brush up on your Office 365 skills or learn to use more specialist applications.
Managing your digital identity and reputation at work. Watch alumni video.
Making a good first impression when you start a new job and then maintaining your professional reputation as you move forward is important.
Doing this online can sometimes feel unfamiliar and knowing how best to navigate the digital workplace can take time. You might wonder how to approach virtual meetings, strike the right tone in professional emails, or connect with colleagues via social media. Try our quick quiz to help you consider some common scenarios and to explore how to manage your digital identity at work.
Things to consider
Review your digital identity regularly. This might involve auditing your social media profiles, reflecting on how you interact with colleagues online, looking back at any digital documents or assets you’ve created or contributed to, and thinking about how you use technology. Consider whether you are presenting your best digital self, what's working well, and where there may be room for improvement.
- Always ask yourself how your digital actions are likely to be interpreted by others. Think about whether your online behaviour is professional, kind, and appropriate.
- Observe others. One of the best ways to understand the digital culture of an organisation is to notice what other people do. This will provide insight into what's expected and appropriate, and what's not.
- Pause to reflect. If you're not sure what to do in a particular digital situation it's fine to take a moment to think before acting.
Maintaining a professional digital identity
Watch our video for top tips from recent UoN alumni on how to maintain a professional digital identity at work.
Looking after your digital wellbeing when at work
Working digitally can offer wellbeing enhancing opportunities, but it can also throw up some challenges. Here we consider a few common questions and identify some strategies that may help you to look after your health and happiness.
How do I avoid digital overload or overwhelm when working?
Ping! An auto-generated ‘daily briefing’ highlighting today’s activities drops into your inbox. Ping! A notification that someone’s started your next virtual meeting and is waiting pops up. Ping! A reminder that you have several priority tasks ‘queued for completion’ appears.
Are these helpful nudges or nagging demands? Digital tools can help you to progress tasks quickly and ticking things off the list can help you to feel productive and offer a sense of achievement. But sometimes, too much digital noise can feel overwhelming. It can tip you into a state of hyper-multitasking-busyness that becomes exhausting and leaves little headspace for the sort of deeper thinking that offers intellectual reward or a connection to the values that fuel your motivation at work.
Auditing your digital efficiency tools to assess their impact on your wellbeing might help. Think carefully about what helps and hinders. Then, customise settings to suit your preferences. Perhaps change the frequency of reminders or silence notifications for uninterrupted focus time.
You may also want to consider building buffers between tasks throughout you working day. You can then use these pockets of time to process information or reflect on interactions, or simply to take a short break and move away from your screen.
How can I maintain a healthy approach to work-life balance when I’m working digitally?
Instant, anywhere, anytime access to the digital workplace can offer convenient flexibility. You can stay connected wherever you are, at whatever time it is.
This can be helpful and has obvious practical benefits, and it may allow you to flex your schedule so that you can fit in activities that will enhance your wellbeing, but it also has the potential to blur the line between your professional and personal time. This might leave you struggling to ‘switch off’ and unable to fully enjoy your downtime.
To counteract this, experiment with taking a more mindful approach to the way you use technology. Start by consciously questioning any digital habits that have crept in, like logging on after hours or checking your inbox on your day off. Ask yourself: Is this necessary or expected? Sometimes you might decide to go ahead, but other times you might decide that it can wait and give yourself permission to power down. Either way, you’re likely to feel more in control. Plus, it will allow you to identify any less helpful actions that have become semi-automatic and that over-extend ‘work time’.
How do I avoid feeling isolated when working remotely?
Getting to know your colleagues and feeling part of a workplace community can offer important wellbeing benefits, particularly when you first start work, but this can be tricky if you spend all or some of your time working from home.
Building in regular interaction is likely to help, and the digital workplace offers lots of ways to connect with colleagues, so it’s worth exploring a few tools to see what works best for you in your new professional setting. Experiment with chat or instant message options to build rapport, forums or channels to share information, online collaboration spaces to exchange ideas, and video calls for in-depth discussion.
Of course, you could also be proactive about trying to find opportunities to be in the same physical location as your co-workers. For example, if your employer has a local office or premises, ask your teammates when they’re likely to be in and set up a regular day to work in the same space. Simply being around colleagues and having casual conversations can help to build relationships and boost a sense of togetherness.
How do I set up a workspace that will support my physical health and wellbeing?
Looking after your physical health when working is important to your overall health and wellbeing. If, for you, working digitally often involves sitting at a desk and using a computer, it’s important to get your space set up ergonomically to avoid injury and maximise comfort.
Your employer should be able to provide guidance on adjusting your workstation to suit your needs. You may also find this video created by the Wall Street Journal helpful.
It might also be helpful to think about the general environment you work in. For example, you might like to consider light and noise, and where possible, change things to suit your preferences.