Cloud and mobility are two of the biggest technological changes that affect the way we work. Sage Business Expert Craig Sharp, of Abussi Ltd., explains how you can make the most of cloud and mobility for your business.
In 2014 it’s possible to be pretty much ‘always connected’ either via your phone or the multitude of WiFi hot-spots in cafés, railway stations and hotels. So, with all that connectivity can we begin to think about working in a different way, a connected way, a remote way? Well we can, and the biggest change to facilitate this is ‘Cloud Services’.
In the past, access to your email, documents or business applications such as your Sage software was only possible if you had a large corporate network, IT staff to manage it and very expensive solutions in place to connect back to it – including connectivity via a mobile phone. Now you can take a Sage Online solution and access your accounts via the web; you can have hosted email from Google or Microsoft; Skype and VoIP offer almost free communication from any internet connected device. Costs are lower and accessibility is high.
Running an IT Support company perhaps allows me to see and benefit from these major changes more directly than most, but in my world I can communicate with clients pretty much anywhere, provide remote support via an internet connection and complete admin tasks using my laptop. It may not surprise you to learn that even while writing this blog I’m in a well-known high street coffee chain, on a laptop, using the WiFi to run Skype in order to talk to my support engineers and manage inbound queries that require my direct attention.
However, I am aware that although I’m not unusual in my approach, it’s certainly not common or ‘the norm’ to work in this way. I suspect fear is at the heart of most business owners reluctance to change but it’s a shame as I think many would benefit from a more flexible approach. Surveys and investigations back up this flexible working theory time and time again.
In a survey conducted in 2013 by YouGov on behalf of Skype, it was found that more than a third (36 per cent) of British workers say they feel they would be just as productive working from home as they are in the office, while 23% think they would actually be able to get more done in their own home than they would surrounded by the distractions of the workplace.
Imagine a very expensive Management Consultant telling you that they could boost your business productivity by 23% – you would say “no way, not possible” and yet the answer is as simple as letting people work to a time frame that suits them, not you.
Businesses unwilling to embrace the benefits of cloud and mobility for remote working may find it more challenging to recruit staff as many in the under 25-30 year old generation are so used to working online that they may think twice before working in a business which to them is ‘old fashioned’.
It used to be a running joke with my mother, who is from a very traditional background, that she used to ask “are you working today” – it was asked because in her world I only ‘worked’ if I went to an office. This approach is common in many business environments and harks back to the time when we as ‘workers’ were paid for our time, not our results. We clocked in, clocked out and were paid based around the number of hours we put in each week. That approach is still the main way we all get paid today, but we are often less productive in such a formal environment and are increasingly able to work and be productive away from the office – so why not embrace this change.