This is a guest post by Gina Smith of spanning.com. Enjoy reading it!
Like it or loathe it, the cloud has transformed the way we communicate, interact, socialize and do business. Some companies have been slow to embrace this new technology. For one, “change” and the fear of the unknown is always scary. Second, once a company immerses themselves into a cloud environment, their entire work culture shifts. For some employees, this shift is a welcome change, allowing them to integrate technologies similar to those they already use in their personal lives. For employees less likely to embrace technology, this shift can cause a certain level of anxiety. Essentially, businesses are in a sort of catch-22. Tech savvy employees tend to be more productive in “cloud” environments, while those apprehensive to abandon their fax machines tend to struggle with new technology. The fact of the matter is more and more businesses are turning to the cloud, which is changing the way we do business. Before we go further let’s discuss some ways the “cloud” is shifting our corporate culture.
Ability to Integrate Devices
Cloud platforms offer the ability to easily integrate computers, tablets and smartphones. Some employees may work better on a tablet than a computer. Or, maybe they would be more productive if they have a tablet for certain tasks in addition to a computer. With the cloud, a diversity of devices is not a problem. Employees can also integrate their own devices. Perhaps some employees find it cumbersome to carry both personal and work computers with them, especially when traveling. The cloud allows them to access company data from any device. Additionally, there are many different mobile and computing operating systems and platforms, and everyone has their preference. With the cloud, you don’t have to force a Mac OS fan into using PC platforms and vice versa. There will be employees who will thrive when given the freedom of not being tied to a specific device or operating system.
Sharing and collaboration are the hallmarks of cloud computing. No more waiting for a colleague across the country to fax or e-mail back changes to a document or project. Real time editing and uploading allows everyone to work together in the cloud, regardless of their location. Microsoft’s Office 365 and Google Apps for Business are examples of popular cloud platforms with easy-to-use collaboration features. Quicker turnaround times have shifted the way we do business, with the entire corporate environment now operating at lightening fast speeds. This is great for employers because employees can accomplish much more in less time. The down side is clients/customers will come to expect quicker turnarounds and faster results.
Less Down Time
No more employees standing around the water cooler for hours waiting for the IT department to “fix” the network or update equipment. Employees only need Wi-Fi access and a device to work in a cloud-immersive environment.
Technology has forced companies into increased accountability to their customers and clients. The days of “working 9 to 5” are over, as we can now be reached instantly through a number of methods. Working in a cloud environment also means having ready access to company files from anywhere and an expectation of being able to deliver work at any time.
Flexible Work Hours
Home offices are becoming more prevalent as companies find benefits in allowing employees to flex their time and even work from home. Cloud platforms allow workers to perform certain duties from anywhere. Companies not wanting to invest capital in large office spaces save money by staggering work schedules. One day, John comes in the office to work and the next day he works from home while Mary occupies the cubicle, etc. The cloud is especially beneficial for sales professionals and employees who spend much of their day out in the field. They no longer have to come all the way back to the office to input data and notes into the network.
In additional to shifting the corporate culture, businesses are finding they can save money with cloud integration. There are a number of articles
and studies outlining the cost-saving benefits of the cloud.
Younger generations have little or no recollection of a world without smartphones, e-mail, computers and the Internet. They thrive in mobile-enabled corporate environments. A recent Forbes article suggests some employees are making a push for their companies to integrate into cloud environments. On the otherhand, there are those who still have a tight grip on their fax machines and local hard drives. As the “cloud” and other technologies force a shift in the corporate culture, it is important for employers to recognize the apprehension among some employees. The key to successful cloud implementation is proper training and integration. Some employees will quickly adapt, but be patient with those who are learning. In my experience, some people are simply embarrassed that they have not kept up with technology and are afraid they will not be able to grasp new devices, concepts and complete shift in the corporate culture. With a little time and patience, they can learn it, become comfortable with it, and embrace it!
Gina Smith writes freelance articles for magazines, online outlets and publications on behalf of a number of companies, including spanning.com. Smith covers the latest topics in the business, golf, tourism, technology and entertainment industries.