By the end of 2021, roughly a quarter of the workforce will be working from home for at least part of the week.
But whatever the future holds, remote and mobile working is now a key part of everyday life.
According to our Future Ready Report, 44% of employers expect remote working practices to remain in place after COVID-19.
And one reason why employees have managed this shift to remote working (81% of remote workers rate their productivity as good or excellent according to this study) is because of the ability to stay connected to colleagues and critical applications using the cloud.
This is of course just one part of a complete remote working solution.
The cloud has enabled many traditional interactions that took place in the office to continue in the virtual arena:
But it’s not just communication that has adapted to the cloud.
Unified communications have taken the entire voice, text, audio and video messaging, video conferencing and email functions, and put them in a scalable, collaboration-focused environment.
This means businesses are able to replicate entire contact centre and telecommunications operations using a single platform, allowing them to maintain high levels of customer service, wherever, whenever.
Wray Castle is one example of a company using Unified Communications to transform how they work.
They needed trainers to be able to work remotely without worrying about missing calls from customers, while also improving their internal communications.
By adopting a cloud-based phone system that connects and consolidates their fixed and mobile lines across the business, Wray Castle has been able to ensure calls are always directed to an available member of staff, using one contact number.
Having replicated the physical office environment on the digital stage, phase two is improving and deploying remote or hybrid working models.
More than three quarters (77%) of employees say a mix of office-based and remote working is the best way to work in the future.
In another study, 62% of senior executives, and 58% of entry-level office workers said they wanted to combine working from an office to working from home.
Digital workplace services provider Kissflow, has already introduced a mixed working model for employees. They’ve combined three weeks of working from anywhere with one week a month allocated to working from their offices in the US and India.
If employees have shown they can remain productive working from anywhere, it makes sense to make the shift from office-based working permanent. Especially as businesses already have many of the tools they need and employees can decide whether or not they need to come in.
Along with deploying cloud applications, businesses will also need to start investing in enterprise-level broadband and network connectivity. Whether this is Internet Protocol Virtual Private Networks (IP-VPNs) or SD-WAN, these reliable and secure connections will provide the higher bandwidth connections capable of managing cloud-based tasks.
These connections, like the cloud, have the benefits of being easily scalable. As a business’ requirements grow, the connections and cloud environment can easily be scaled with them.
In a study by Vodafone Business and IBM, 73% of businesses said they believed cloud and connected data infrastructure had a significantly positive impact on their capacity for innovation.
With this considered, effective monitoring of an expanded cloud network is as important as deploying the network and connections in the first place. And this is one of the key advantages of the cloud.
Using real-time performance data, managers and IT teams have complete oversight and visibility of the performance of cloud networks and applications.
Also, by being able to identify bottlenecks on the network instantly, they can scale and adapt their network to match changing bandwidth requirements.
For example, video conferencing applications could be prioritised for higher bandwidth connections over those requiring simple email management.
As well as providing real-time monitoring, data analysis can be used to inform future network planning. For example, identifying seasonal trends in data use so they can be accommodated for in advance and reduce the chance of high latency and poor connections.
Using cloud connectivity to expand and improve the future hybrid working model, businesses can create a more flexible and agile application and network environment.
This will be a network capable of reacting quickly to unforeseen changes and challenges, as well as protecting their future in the process.
Whether employees are working from the office, from home, or with customers, having the connections and communications in place means they’ll always have access to each other, and their key applications.
If employees today are expected to be flexible and adaptable to where and how they work, they need the connections and communications that are able to keep up with these new challenges.
Ready to learn more? Find out how to align your business processes and technology by reading this eBook.
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