The COVID-19 pandemic and the following lockdown have changed how businesses function. The pandemic has forced companies to adapt to a new paradigm in which many employees work from home.
Enterprises that never dreamt their workforce could work entirely from home have done an about-turn. They’ve realised work from home over a protracted period is possible. While initially working from home took some getting used to, within a relatively short period, most workers were working as productively from home as they could from their office.
That's not to say that working from home doesn't present some challenges. It does, but these can be overcome using technologies like cloud computing. Employees can efficiently work from home with the help of cloud computing tools, and business that uses such tools can optimise processes using this technology. Here’s how.
The basis are cloud-based
A business that uses cloud computing technologies lets employees carry their office wherever they go. Hence, workers have access to the same services they did when they worked in the office.
For instance, email is available to every employee regardless of where they are. Hence a workforce that is spread across a city or country can communicate easily with each other using email.
Companies in which employees need to share documents with others also have a friend in cloud computing. Cloud computing lets employees share files either through email or cloud-based platforms.
For instance, an employee who needs to share intricate and detailed designs can easily do so by uploading such documents to the cloud. After uploading the documents, he or she can create a link of the uploaded file and share it with an intended recipient. Those who receive the link can either view the file online or download it to their computer.
With such features at their fingertips, workers in a variety of industries can efficiently work remotely. But these features are the just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to cloud computing.
Work simultaneously on a project
The cloud lets employees collaborate on a project simultaneously just as they could in office. This means a team of software developers in distant locations can simultaneously read and write code. Each team member can share his or her inputs about the system, so working together the entire team can bring the task to fruition.
Similarly, professionals in advertising or copywriting can also collaborate on projects quickly. They can share images over the cloud, discuss whether they are suitable, and edit them when needed.
Any number of professionals can easily collaborate over the cloud. In addition to editing code or documents, they can talk to each other simultaneously. It takes just a little getting used to, but most people have a very swift learning curve when it comes to working on the cloud.
Unlimited storage space
While a computer has only gigabytes of storage space, the cloud has unlimited storage space. A business can store all its data on the cloud where it is not only secure but also readily available to anyone who needs access to it.
Should a company require additional storage, for instance, because its employees are working remotely and therefore using more cloud-based resources, it can easily buy more storage space. A cloud-based storage facility can be upgraded or downgraded as needed. So when a business expects to serve fewer clients during a time of crisis, it can easily downgrade its cloud-based storage plan. Changes to cloud-based plans can be made in minutes.
The freedom to change cloud-based storage facilities gives businesses the ability to optimise their processes.
Employers can track productivity and tasks
Another advantage of the cloud for businesses is it lets them track tasks in real-time. The software found on the cloud captures how much work is complete, how much remains, and when it is likely to be completed. Hence, a business has full oversight of what its dozens, hundreds or thousands of employees are doing as they work remotely.
The software found on the cloud also tracks productivity and reveals which employees are the most productive and which aren't. Using such software businesses can discover who their most valuable human resources are.
The impact of COVID-19 on cloud-based services
The COVID-19 pandemic will leave a lasting impact on businesses and employees. For one thing, it has given many companies clear evidence that work from home works. Many companies have discovered that the productivity of their employees hasn't suffered by working remotely.
Many even state that worker productivity has increased by working from home. For these reasons, work from home will become far more acceptable and commonplace in the months and years ahead.
As a direct result of more employees working from home, the demand for cloud-based services will increase. A report published by MarketsAndMarkets states that the cloud market will grow from $233 billion in 2019 to $295 billion by the end of this year. The report attributes this increase at least partially to the impact of COVID-19.
Currently, many employees are working from home. More than a few of them are working as productively as they did when they worked in an office. Society has realised that working from home serves a double benefit. Workers can work efficiently and spend more time with their loved ones. This realisation will lead to work from home becoming more common.
Shortly, businesses will have to prepare for this new dynamic by letting more of their employees work from home. To do so, they will turn to cloud-based solutions.
(Edited by Saheli Sen Gupta)
(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)
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