The Benefits of Cloud for Remote Working

The implementation of the Government’s ‘Plan B’ to cope with the spread of the omicron variant means that businesses are, once again, having to ask employees to work from home. As we don’t know how long this will last or whether it might happen again, companies need a solution that will quickly enable them to switch seamlessly between on-site and remote working. Here we explain why the cloud is the best solution and the benefits of using it for remote working.

Why cloud is the best solution

Quite simply, when you run applications in the cloud, they are available online. This means that employees can access business systems, software, files, data and communications from wherever they have an internet connection – in the office or at home. Here are the main benefits of using the cloud for remote working.

1. Work from anywhere at any time

Cloud doesn’t just enable people to work from home, it enables anyone within your organisation to work from anywhere with an internet connection. While the current requirement to work from home might be the main priority at present, further down the line, it opens up new opportunities. Businesses can recruit staff who live further afield, they can offer more flexible working conditions and employees on the road, such as sales teams, can access systems where ever they are. What’s more, in the cloud, applications can run 24/7, enabling greater access and flexibility.

2. Staying productive

One potential downside of remote working is that it can be hard to make business decisions because not being in the office makes it difficult to arrive at a consensus. The benefit of the cloud is that its built-in connectivity enables teams to access the resources they need to make those decisions. Data is available in real-time, accessible by all who need it and discussions can take place using a growing range of online communications channels, including video conferencing. This enables people to make consensual decisions and keeps the business productive.  – Read More

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Hybrid remote work: 6 strategies to make it successful

Around 40% of managers surveyed by the Harvard Business Review said they don’t have the skills they need to manage a remote team.

Still, remote work is now common and popular because of the pandemic and because new technologies have made it easier to work from anywhere in the world. Many companies now let their employees work a few days remotely or let some teammates work remotely full-time while others work on-site.

Now that more companies are using this hybrid remote work model—sometimes called WFH 2.0 because it’s the model many companies are adopting after an entire year of remote work—team leaders need to tailor their management techniques for these teams’ unique characteristics to ensure their companies continue to thrive and grow.

1. Normalize a hybrid remote work model

Managing a hybrid remote team effectively requires setting clear expectations to avoid misunderstanding and built-up resentment. Some colleagues might feel uncomfortable continuing to work remotely while others are returning to the office. Others might struggle to include their remote colleagues once they’ve returned to office work.

To make the transition as seamless as possible, brush up on communication techniques to keep things as transparent as possible. For example, consider establishing company policies that allow people to work remotely two days a week, or require that people who work remotely full-time obtain special permission from their managers.

Here are a few other ways to build a healthy hybrid remote work model:

  1. Set out transparent and equitable rules for who can work remotely and when, then make sure that everyone on your team knows the company policy. You can do that by emailing everyone a memo or posting the rules in an online channel that everyone uses to communicate.
  2. Don’t make remote work a privilege enjoyed only by your most senior teammates. That could cause some teammates to feel like you don’t trust them enough to allow them to work remotely. Remote work shouldn’t be a privilege, but rather an integral part of your company’s hybrid remote work culture.
  3. Normalize remote work by encouraging team leaders and managers to work off-site at least some of the time.
  4. Recruit and onboard employees remotely. Ensure that the process is the same for everyone, so you don’t accidentally create discrepancies between the way people are hired or shown the ropes. The goal is to standardize the process for everyone and avoid creating inequality.

Darcy Boles, an expert in remote company culture and the Director of Culture and Innovation at TaxJar, argues that companies should be “going hybrid with a remote-first mindset.” That means operating like a remote team even when many of your employees are working in the office.

“Spend at least a few days working outside of the office,” Boles suggests to managers. “Put yourself in the position of the people you’re managing.”

2. Create a cohesive work culture for your hybrid remote team

To create a healthy hybrid remote work culture, you must put extra effort into creating a connected culture between remote and office workers and strengthening the bonds between everyone, no matter where they are located.

Your company’s work culture can make or break your business. Nearly half of all job seekers surveyed said a good work culture is the number one thing they’re looking for in a prospective employer, according to a survey by Jobvite. And 88% of people surveyed said it’s a significant factor when deciding where to work.

One key way to create a connected hybrid remote work culture is to make sure that no one feels left out from the decision-making or creative process. That means ensuring everyone—remote or not—has an equal opportunity to participate in meetings, make decisions, and feel heard. Read more


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5 key takeaways from COVID-19 about remote work

When we had high hopes for a bright new decade, none of us imagined that millions of workers around the world would trade their office cubicles for kitchen tables. It’s been an unprecedented year that’s prompted many sudden and unexpected transformations in the workplace. 

We didn’t think we’d pivot completely to online business meetings or that we’d only discuss work projects by phone or online chat. We had no idea that trainings and events would turn 100% digital or that it’d be a year devoid of business travel.

Attitudes about how and where we work—and the practices covering how we get work done—changed overnight. Businesses had to adapt fast—and they did. These changes will likely stay with us beyond the pandemic.

Eighty-four percent of US companies say they’ll offer permanent remote work after the pandemic passes. Others plan to implement a hybrid arrangement of working partly at home and partly in the office. Having conducted what’s turned out to be a vast work-from-home experiment, businesses have learned that it works.

Here are five lessons the COVID-19 pandemic has taught us about remote work:

1. Remote workers are productive

Without the distractions of a physical office, workers get more done. According to McKinsey, 41% of people working remotely say they’re more productive than they were in the office, and 28% say they’re just as productive. 

Businesses are also seeing healthy work practices that may remain after COVID-19 departs. Fifty-three percent report being more trusting of their employees, 49% are offering more flexible work hours, and 38% have virtual teams working collaboratively across multiple locations and departments.  

2. Cloud technology is essential in times of crisis

We’ve truly learned the importance of technology during COVID. In a Cisco study, more than half of respondents said they are now using technology that was available to them pre-pandemic but which they had ignored or rejected. Sixty-seven percent reported the pandemic accelerated their adoption of tools to take advantage of cloud-based communications, collaboration, and productivity.

Digital tools that let employees collaborate have become the new normal, and we’ll continue to rely on them after the pandemic has passed, especially video conferencing.

3. Social interactions enable collaboration

Working remotely has shown us the importance of social interaction. Sixty-four percent of study respondents report that not being able to socialize around the watercooler and in the lunchroom makes teamwork a challenge. 

They report that, instead, they’re using digital tools for social video conference meetups (67%) to communicate on social chat channels( (54%) and to hold interactive competitions (36%).

4. Employees’ personal lives matter

Remote work during a pandemic has taught us it’s important to consider employees’ personal lives. Not everyone suddenly forced to work at home has a quiet, organized home office without distractions. Some have children at home doing remote schooling. Many partners or roommates are also working at home. 

It’s a lot to handle, but managers can help by checking in regularly, often without a specific agenda, and asking how it’s going. Allow employees to adjust their work schedules to accommodate personal or family needs. Consider offering an extra PTO day for your employees to get some needed rest and relaxation. 

Some employees work more hours at home than they did at the office—remind them to stop at the end of their workday and put the laptop away.

5. Importance of business agility 

We’ve learned that companies need to be adaptive, flexible, and creative in an environment that changes quickly. 

Companies have addressed employees’ needs by creating COVID-19 crisis management teams, changing office rules, and adapting or creating work-from-home policies. They’ve transitioned their suddenly remote office staff to virtual tools and made other changes as the situation evolves. 

Preparing for the future

While we don’t know what the future holds, we know that business won’t return to normal. The pandemic disrupted our work lives in unprecedented ways, and businesses are planning for a future of work that looks vastly different than it did before COVID. – Read more

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