This year’s global COVID-19 pandemic has forced a lot of companies to rethink the way that they operate. With national lockdowns confining people to their homes and preventing them from getting to the office, working from home suddenly became the new normal. In turn, this meant that businesses had to up their game when it came to technology and adaptability – and some have been coping better than others!
One of the benefits of this enforced remote working is that more and more companies are realizing that their employees can be just as productive when working from home as they can be at the office. In fact, with the stress of commuting removed, many workers are both happier and more efficient doing their job from home. This has even caused some businesses to consider making the arrangement more of a permanent option, giving staff the choice to work from home for at least some of the week.
This is great news for those of us who prefer home working, and it gives people more freedom and flexibility to work in a way that best suits them. Of course, it does mean that companies may have to make more substantial alterations to the way they operate in order to facilitate this change – and cloud computing holds the key. Here’s why.
It removes geographical restrictions
By using cloud computing, there is no longer any restriction on where employees can be based. So whether you are logging in from your home, a coffee shop, or a beach abroad, you can access all the same files and carry out your work in the exact same way as if you were in the office. This brings a much higher level of convenience, with the option to also use different devices to best suit your needs.
Not only is this advantageous for employees, it is also beneficial for companies. This is because you will not be restricted to only hiring staff who live within commuting distance of the office. As such, you have a much wider pool of possible candidates to choose from, enabling you to bring the very best people on-board. In fact, you’re much more likely to attract top employees this way, as many people consider the option to work remotely to be an important factor when choosing a new job.
With more employees working from home, businesses may also find that they can cut down on their overheads by moving to a smaller property and saving on rent and other costs. Likewise, staff can save money on gas or public transport fares by not having to commute.
It facilities easy communication and collaboration
These days, you don’t need to be in the same room, building, city, or even country as someone to collaborate with them easily and effectively. Some even argue that a cloud-based solution can enable people to share information with each other more easily than doing so face to face. It lets colleagues work on documents or other files simultaneously, and also provides automatic backing up of work as well as shifting file storage off your local system, thereby saving you storage space. Another great aspect about cloud computing is that it’s scalable. This means that if you’re a small business you only need to pay for the level of service that you require, rather than having to opt in to everything.
There are also a multitude of real-time communication platforms that allow team members to message each other instantaneously, either on a group or one-to-one basis, for convenient communication. It’s advisable for companies to do some research into these platforms, including signing up for free trials, in order to best assess which ones are necessary and best suited to your specific needs. Thankfully, the pandemic has seen a huge boost in demand for these services, meaning the options you have available are now wider than ever as providers innovate further.
It enables high levels of security
One of the main concernsbusinesses have with cloud computing and working from home in general is security. For certain industries and companies, it’s very important to have tight control over who can access files and data, and you might worry that remote access is a threat to this. However, the truth is quite the opposite. Illustrating this, a survey by Nominet found that 61% of the security professionals they polled believed the risk of a security breach is “the same or lower in cloud environments compared to on-premise.” This indicates that the traditional view of cloud technologies as being less secure is outdated and needs to be changed.
With cloud computing it’s possible to use identity and access management tools to ensure that only authorized personnel are able to access corporate data. For example, this could be through putting in place user-specific password protection of files, and encryption of files if unauthorized users make an attempt to access them. There are also security measures that can be taken if a smartphone, tablet, or laptop is lost or stolen in order to prevent sensitive information from falling into the wrong hands. Of course, this is all dependent on companies choosing the appropriate cloud computing system for their needs.
Here to stay?
Only time will tell whether remote working is here to stay. There are of course, downsides to the arrangement. For example, data now shows that people tend to work longer days when doing their jobs from home. This may be partly due to the pressure to prove to bosses that you’re working by always being available, and partly because when working from home the line between your professional time and your private time becomes more blurred.
Having said that, at least for the near future, it seems that remote working will remain a key part of our society. As such, the popularity of cloud computing and the various services available that use it will likely only continue to grow – even when we return to the office. Therefore, if your business hasn’t got on-board with it yet, now is the time! You won’t regret it.