We’ve now been placed in lockdown for over two months, and while some restrictions are beginning to ease, it seems office workers will be remote working for some time still to come. During this time employees and employers alike have had to get accustomed to working from home every day, setting up a routine that works for them while in the middle of a global pandemic.
For some organisations, shifting to a home working model was an easy transition but for others, it was unprecedented territory. However, after being in lockdown for several weeks, organisations have been able to maintain a culture of communication, collaboration and productivity during this disruptive period. But how has this been achieved?
If this lockdown happened a decade ago, many organisations would not have had the tools or resources to be able to allow employees to work from home, with almost all office based organisations most likely having to shut work. However, technology has evolved considerably over the last ten years and new, innovative products and concepts have allowed us to continue working to the same, if not higher standard. Some organisations, such as Twitter, have gone as far to announce they will allow their employees to work remotely even after the lockdown has finished and social distancing measures have been lifted.
One key reason why remote working has been a success during this period is because of the cloud. We use the cloud for almost everything we do when we work from home but many people still don’t realise its importance. So why is the cloud so important when working from home and how has it exactly made remote working easier?
Improve team collaboration
One key benefit of the cloud is that it can be accessed anywhere as long as you have a stable internet connection. This has allowed employees to share, communicate and collaborate on ideas since the lockdown began. Not only is this able to enhance the quality of work produced but having real time business updates can also decrease the amount of time it takes to complete a project. Without the use of the cloud, remote working would be catastrophic for group collaborations. Constant emails would have to be exchanged back and forth between workers. With each email sent, it’s easy to lose grasp of the most up to date work with so many flying around. As a result, only one employee can work on a document at any given time.
Through the use of cloud, multiple employees are able to work from one centrally stored document, which heavily simplifies group collaboration. Edits, suggestions and comments can be made with everyone being able to view the changes. This also works with clients. As long as a client grants instant access to their data file, workers are able to communicate their thoughts and suggestions, which allows for an enhanced collaborative experience.
Work wherever you want…under the circumstances
One issue many people had when they began working from home was the loss of structure. In the office most employees have a designated office space. For some, working at this space would be part of their daily routine and it would be odd for them to work anywhere else but for others this is not the case. Being able to freely pick and choose where you want to work is a great benefit offered by the cloud. With the cloud, employees are always connected to the server. This means as long as they have internet connection they can work wherever they like, allowing employees to work in an environment that is better adjusted to their specific needs.
Once restrictions are eased further, more people will begin working outside of their homes, in cafes or libraries. Through the cloud people are able to print off documents wherever they are, as long as they have access to a printer. With the right printing device, employees can even set up a print from any location and then begin printing once they have entered the office, allowing them to be more productive with the time they have.
The environment around you has a major impact on productivity and efficiency. Most people are able to work at their best when they are in a relaxing, familiar environment and home is usually the most comfortable place of all. A simple VPN can allow anyone in an organisation to access and share a document with another colleague or client, in turn giving them the opportunity to work where they want, when they want, using whatever device they find most useful – allowing remote working to become a reality.
There are no limits to grow and expand
While a lot of organisations have reduced their outreach during the coronavirus, there are some who have been able to expand their business operations. This means hiring new clients, customers and employees. Conventionally, when recruiting a new employee most organisations have had to limit their search to the immediate area, having to hire staff that live in the same city or town. The cloud has changed this. After the lockdown, more organisations will begin to permit staff to work remotely on a regular basis or even full time, allowing business leaders to hire the best person for the job, regardless of location.
Moreover, being able to access internal information through the cloud means organisations can invest in a remote workforce very quickly as they don’t have to pay for additional hardware or office space. The logistics to make this happen are made easier through the cloud. New employees can be given permission to view, share and edit any file they want, without ever having to visit the office. The cloud has made remote working simpler but has also paved the way for thousands of organisations to adopt a remote working strategy post Covid-19.
Increase emphasis on security
Security is one of the biggest issues business leaders take into consideration when making any decision that will impact their organisation. With data and information so easily available to employees through the cloud it’s easy to think that those outside of an organisation can also gain the same access. To combat this, there are security measures cloud providers put in place to limit the risk of a security breach. For important documents, user-specific passwords and encryption on files can be put in place to stop attempts from unauthorised users from accessing data. Moreover, separate accounts can be created for each member of the team, which can be personalised so the employee can only access the files that are necessary to them. For example, someone in the marketing team probably won’t have any use for HR documents so they would not be granted access to them.
To further counter against hackers and data breaches, most cloud providers outsource their security to a team of professionals who update the cloud constantly to stay one step ahead of hackers. These same providers also tend to back-up the files, so if an employee accidentally deleted or misplaced a file while working from home, they can be restored in a matter of minutes.
The cloud has played a major role in helping the nation work remotely. Its ability to enhance collaboration, while also allowing employees to work as productively as they would be in the office, shows how important it is in our everyday working life.
Ross Penman, Head of Global Delivery Management, Y Soft