The business world is undergoing a major shift. We are experiencing a globalized, connected, modern world of cloud-based workers, which is quite a contrast to traditional, formal, location-dependent businesses. This guest blog from our partners at RapidScale details these changes. 

But what defines a cloud-based workforce? These are distributed or remote employees that are unbound by location, time zone, or device. They remain powerfully connected via technology – or more specifically, via the cloud – and this allows them to work both productively and flexibly.

Yes, cloud computing is driving revenue and boosting internal efficiency, but beyond those innate benefits, it’s quickly transforming the way we work. Cloud has caused a shift in thinking and culture, and it’s pushing business capabilities to new levels.

Cloud is more than a technology change. It’s a transformation of how organizations actually operate.

Remote Capabilities

Business leaders need to step out of their comfort zone and explore the new possibilities of workforce engagement and flexibility, or they risk losing top talent. A recent study showed that 70% of employees would switch jobs if it gave them more flexibility, specifically the chance to work from home more often. To avoid this, leaders need to understand the modern approaches to communication, culture, collaboration, and employee empowerment, because today’s workforce is considering more than just salary. 78% of employees value remote access to data, while 86% value flexible hours. (Softchoice) As cloud computing continues to make it possible to be productive from just about anywhere, individuals and organizations are increasingly comfortable trading in the traditional work location for remote working. And as they begin this shift, they may just see a boost in employee satisfaction and productivity, as 62% claim they are more productive working outside the office. (Softchoice)

Think about this simple example: it doesn’t benefit a business for employees to sit in two hours of traffic every day when they could be spending that time getting work done and saving themselves some personal time. Much of today’s workforce is demanding the ability to be able to work everywhere in the most productive way without burden.

Simplified Collaboration

But cloud’s impact moves beyond improving an individual’s working options. It’s also tying organizations and people together in ways that weren’t previously possible. Real-time collaboration can occur across teams, geographies and time zones, ensuring that work remains consistent, accurate and focused. With the traditional edit-and-email method of collaborating, achieving these qualities is difficult. Teams tend to end up with about 30 different variations of a single document and an inbox that has been taken over by a single project. Even integrating a teeny grammatical change means saving the document under a new name and ensuring that everyone has the correct version.

Thanks to cloud computing, rather than 30 versions, a team can work off of one document that is constantly updated and easy to keep track of. The cloud makes it easy to share ideas, brainstorm, make decisions, refine content, contribute graphics and research, edit, and share – even if team members are separated by continents. Now collaboration can occur in real time, and a team can rest assured knowing that everyone is working off the same information. Improved collaboration leads to more well-rounded and complete work. It also allows team members to grasp the full picture, enhance knowledge, and avoid duplicating work or information. This is increasingly important, as the recent report The Future Workplace found that in order to attract and retain top talent, companies need to foster a more collaborative environment.

Businesses that are interested in beginning a digital transformation need to have a commitment to using cloud tools, which are available and easy to use. It’s not just about integrating the technology in the background. It’s about shifting the business culture and educating the workforce on why this is a key change. This commitment will ultimately lead to a greater cloud payoff. Change is going to occur whether an organization embraces it or not, and businesses that want to remain successful and competitive need to be open to evolving and adapting.