The cloud has helped to bring businesses around the world closer together. Cloud storage has made documents that would otherwise have to be downloaded immediately available, and cloud computing has brought familiar software to offices that would otherwise have to go without. But perhaps the greatest impact of the cloud on businesses in the future is how it is changing the shape of our workforces.
Whereas in the past businesses were restricted in their hiring by both their location, and their budget for relocating the talent they wanted, cloud services like storage and remote desktops mean that it’s now possible for employees to work from practically anywhere as long as it’s got a data connection and they have a device capable of accessing it.
Remote working like this used to be a burden for businesses, as it often served as a disruption to regular operations. However, now that it’s possible to unify all documents and software in the cloud, there’s no disruption. Any changes made to documents are visible immediately to everyone at the business, regardless of their location. And any new files that are added are immediately synced with the folders of everyone else.
In 2013, UK telecoms company O2 released a white paper which stated that over 75% of all full-time workers considered flexible working hours to be important to them when considering a job. However, only 18% felt that they had achieved their desired level of flexibility.
This demand, matched with limited supply, is a huge opportunity for any business looking to attract the most talented workers. By offering more flexible hours in some form, be it the ability to work from home, or the ability to begin work early/start later, businesses can make themselves hugely more attractive to prospective employees.
Reduced Office Costs
By making it possible for your workers to either work from home completely/hotdesk with one another/bring their own devices to work with them, businesses have seen a substantial drop in their yearly spending. Leading analyst Gartner estimates that it costs between £1500 and £2000 a year to supply an employee with a dedicated desktop. By removing the desktop, or reducing the number of desktops required by employees, businesses can make significant savings. These savings can then be re-invested into the business to either develop more cloud solutions, or even directly into worker salaries to make employment at your business more attractive.
Removing desktop computers from your office doesn’t mean removing desktop behaviour. Through cloud technology it’s possible for your business to provide a digital, cloud-based desktop that employees can access from anywhere, on whatever device they have to hand. So if there’s only a couch available, your employee can still access their desktop through their chosen device and review or refer to important files.
Furthermore, if an employee has gone home but forgotten to transfer you a file, they can log into their desktop either during their commute, or as soon as they get home, and it’ll be on your desk in moments. Little improvements like this not only improve your office productivity and flow, they also make your employees feel more comfortable leaving their desk. They know that if something goes wrong, or they want to check a document, they can do it from the comfort of their own home.
Comfort is an increasingly important word in recruitment circles. As is work/life balance. More and more employees are looking for a business that isn’t going to dominate their life too much, or interfere with important life moments like birthdays or anniversaries. By offering flexibility through cloud services, it’s possible to offer a level of comfort and life balance that previously would have been impossible for anyone in a high-powered role.
A lot has been made this year about attracting ‘knowledge workers’, people who know and love their jobs and bring that passion with them every day. These workers often have their pick of the best jobs available, so if you want your business to flourish as a result of these talented workers, you need to make it as attractive as possible. That means having cloud solutions, and flexible work options.
Many employees, in my experience, have voiced dissatisfaction with being made to come into work when the conditions are less than ideal. Obviously businesses don’t always make people come in to work, indeed often they’re allowed to stay home. It was reported in the Guardian that: “Over the snowstorms of two years ago, UK businesses lost more than £7 billion due to a lack of remote working opportunities.”
In the past, businesses might try to make up for the hours lost with overtime, but this is never ideal as it costs the company more, and reduces the sense that employees have flexibility at work. However, by implementing remote working, businesses are able to function completely normally even in the middle of unavoidable disruptions (as long as the internet isn’t disrupted). As a result, employees are happier, and disruption to your business is minimised.
Cheaper Up-Fronts, Happier Workers
The benefits of implementing cloud-technology into your business cannot be overemphasised. It has the potential to revolutionise the way we do business all over the world, and bring beneficial businesses closer to one another regardless of their location. Add to that the increase in flexibility (and therefore happiness) for your employees, and there’s really no reason why you shouldn’t be considering how the cloud can take your business to the next level.