Many of the changes to the way people perform their roles, which were put in place this year, are here to stay. Thoughts that everything will revert to a pre-viral state are fanciful.
Yet this ‘new normal’ way of working is not all bad news. New practices, workflows and ways of communicating are actually increasing staff productivity and efficiency when compared with more traditional, office-based operations.
Much of these gains have come about because organisations have embraced cloud-based systems and resources. The cloud has become an essential component in the technology mix that makes efficient working possible.
This leveraging of cloud-based digital business and process automation platforms represents a natural evolution in the way people work. It’s an extension of changes that have already taken place in the e-commerce sector where, for years, prospects and customers have demanded better digital experiences and support.
Workers are now expecting similar service experiences from their employers. However, while there is no question that such changes are feasible, all too often senior management instead opt to hold onto old ways of doing business. They cling to expensive office spaces and manual processes attached to legacy systems.
This is a situation that needs to change. Organisations must embrace new opportunities brought about by the viral pandemic and ensure their employees remain resilient, adaptable and equipped for the next unexpected business disruption. If this is done, they will be in a far better position to cope and thrive no matter what the future brings.
Cloud-based working improves the professional environment for a number of reasons. A key one is that digital platforms make processes more efficient. According to a 2019 study by Australian outsourcing company Airtasker, remote working actually increases productivity for many employees.
It enables them to save money and time on commutes, improve their physical and mental health, and actually work more days throughout the year. Even those executives who originally had doubts about remote work are beginning to see the value of easy-to-use digital collaboration as a means of streamlining workflows and improving productivity.
Lower operational costs
Equipping remote workers with cloud-based resources can also significantly reduce operational costs. Often, real estate and travel costs are some of the largest expense areas for many enterprises, so the more that organisations cut back on physical office space and travel, the more they save. Flexible working environments can also help to attract great talent, as well as provide a wider pool of potential applicants for every vacancy.
In addition to reduced costs and increased efficiency, cloud-based resources also provide staff with digital empowerment and flexibility. Growing numbers of employees are finding they can enjoy a new work/life balance that is created through the adoption of cloud-based systems.
Having become used to this new way of working during recent months, many don’t want to go back to spending long hours in the office every day as they realise they can be much more productive working from home. Without the need for a long daily commute, they have more time to dedicate to high-value strategic tasks and their own professional development.
This new style of working also gives staff the chance to dedicate specific times to projects when they know that they will be the most productive, all the while allocating time for other duties and family commitments.
COVID-19 has caused dramatic changes to the way many organisations function and their employees spend their days. Yet it has also shown what is possible when new approaches to work are implemented.
By embracing the cloud, organisations can quickly recover from recent disruptions and be ready to take advantage of new opportunities as they appear. Welcome to the new era of work.