Why Cloud is the Foundation of a Remote Workforce
Companies that are leaning more toward remote working find themselves using more cloud technology as well.
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The workplace has rarely been as loosely-defined as it has in the 21st century, thanks to a combination of expanding internet penetration and technological progress. The ease and promise of remote work, both for self-employed workers and employees, means that the way people report to their jobs has changed drastically. Millennials, and millennial mothers, in particular, are finding that mobile work enables a healthy work-life balance. Even younger entrants to the workforce are taking advantage of remote flexibility to become digital nomads, traveling the world while holding down a part- or full-time job.
Remote work can be just as beneficial to companies as it is for its employees. A two-year study by Stanford University conclusively showed that remote work can majorly benefit employee productivity.
Employers are also beginning to recognize that it’s now easier than ever to support a remote workforce for reasons of cost-effective expansion, such as saving on office space rent and maintenance or employee transportation costs.
However, this new work model requires an infrastructure that can support mobility without the drop-off distance usually entails. The emergence of cloud technology as a viable and effective solution offers remote workers a true alternative to the workplace. With telecommuting on the rise, employers must make more sophisticated tools and services available for remote employees; cloud adoption is essential to succeed in this regard.
A More Agile Employee
Remote workforces offer several advantages to companies, though their success hinges on employees being engaged and effective. A company that builds its internal business flows using cloud components can extend full or piecemeal access to employees wherever they are. In this way, companies can also reach fresh employee talent far beyond the confines of their immediate geographical location. More importantly, cloud-based applications make it easy to get employees up to speed with the tools they need, instantly.
The ease of accessing and using cloud tools empowers employees to communicate better with both peers and managers. Unified messaging apps such as Slack or Fleep are an intuitive way for teams to chat either from their desktops or on-the-go with their mobile apps.
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Similarly, collaborative content and customer relation platforms powered by the cloud enable on-site and off-site employees to track changes and stay on the same page. While managers are using periodic face-to-face meetings to stave off remote employee loneliness, the immediacy of cloud platforms addresses this issue on a daily basis by streamlining employee interactions.
How Can the Cloud Deliver?
IT teams face an uphill battle when it comes to securely connecting remote workers with on-premise tools and applications. Though they are more convenient for workers, IT staff struggle with the ease of access people have, an inability to manage patching and upgrades, and other problems that stem from interactions they can’t monitor.
With cloud administration tools, IT can easily scale to support a wider range of utilities, employees and geographies. IT management platforms like Cloud Management Suite enable IT teams to securely oversee company networks and software, so that no matter where employees are working from, the software they use is safe and up-to-date.
Image source: Cloud Management Suite
These same types of cloud products can help companies balance employee desires for flexible working options with company concerns about a lack of supervision for remote workers. Messaging platforms keep a full log of employee chats for employers to browse through and evaluate while statuses on these platforms provide an indication of how often an employee is actively working. Content collaboration platforms enable managers to monitor when employees have completed certain tasks, while a variety of cloud apps were launched specifically to enable remote employees and their employers to audit their time and accomplishments in a respectful, non-intrusive manner.
Virtualized systems and workers can also benefit companies during extreme weather situations such as wildfires or hurricane. If companies have business continuity and disaster recovery plans in place, they can guide remote workers to getting back online and resuming work responsibilities in spite of the challenges posed by inclement environmental factors. A key component of these plans is ensuring that employees can access and interact with company content and data from anywhere, in any circumstances; i.e., that companies are utilizing cloud platforms and products.
Keeping remote employees happy and productive largely comes down to their manager’s approach and policies. At the same time, IT teams can utilize cloud tools to provide remote workers with a safe, smooth working environment that encourages excellence.
Remote workers and offices are the norm now, not the exception. Being prepared to face that reality puts your company ahead: Gartner predicts that by 2020, workplaces that enable flexible working options will increase worker retention rates by over 10%. In the field of computer science in particular, companies that have been hesitant about enabling telecommuting are already at a disadvantage when it comes to attracting talent – 300,000 full-time programmers in the US worked from home as far back as 2015.
Engineering a flexible workforce necessitates an equally flexible framework to manage these far-off employees. As Agile, scalable, and secure solutions, cloud platforms facilitate better telecommuting outcomes for employees and employers as one. By providing employees with highly accessible tools that connect them to the colleagues and content they need to thrive, employers increase satisfaction, loyalty, and productivity while simultaneously cutting back on the overhead costs involved in managing in-house employees. The future of work is virtual, and the cloud is the virtual ringmaster.
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