Once upon a time, people arrived at work in the morning and found themselves back at home roughly nine hours later.
These days, things are a little different.
We’re often seeing that people arrive at work very early in the morning and find themselves back at home much later than they expected — sometimes missing dinner altogether.
On top of longer work hours, people are also taking work home with them.
At this point, that 8-hour workday has turned into a 10-hour workday, and that 40-hour workweek has turned into a 50-hour workweek. In fact, a few years back, the average, full-time working adult spent 47 hours a week at work.
So naturally, the question becomes: Do people have more work or are they less productive?
Well, consider this:
How productive do you think people can be without access to the proper tools when they are working from home?
Probably not very productive — which means simple tasks can potentially take much longer to complete.
And do you think that all 8, 10, or 11 hours of the real workday are spent at the same desk?
Not at all. They’re spent in various meeting rooms, different offices, and at coffee shops, partner buildings, and out-of-town conferences — which means that access and tools will ultimately affect productivity.
In other words, just because you’ve lengthened the average workday, does not mean you’re accomplishing more (check out the Paradox of Workplace Productivity for more insight). For this to happen, you need two things: mobility and flexibility. With these two things, achieving and maintaining productivity — even despite a longer workday — should be much more doable (which actually means your workday might start to shrink).
But how exactly do you promote mobility and flexibility within the workplace?
Well … you do it with the help of the cloud, and here’s why.
The big reason why
PART 1 — THE WORKAROUNDS
With the cloud, working from home with the same applications and data you have access to at work is a possibility. At first, this might not seem like a big deal, but it is.
Consider this scenario:
You have an important project due tomorrow, but it’s already close to 6:00 pm and you still have a lot more work to go. So you decide to take things home.
This being said, you can’t exactly take your desktop computer home with you. However, your personal laptop doesn’t have the latest edition of Microsoft Office, and you have no way of accessing your work files.
As a quick solution, you spend the next 10 minutes sending a handful of documents to your personal email.
It’s not entirely secure, but your hands are tied.
As for not having the latest edition of Microsoft Office, it is what it is, and hopefully, it won’t make much of a difference.
On top of this, you also need access to your CRM platform — there are some stats you need to pull in order to successfully complete your project. You could go through and pull them real quick — but you know that “real quick” actually means another hour. So you tell yourself that you’ll come in early the next morning to finish things off.
PART 2 — THE FALLOUT
You arrive at home, eat something, and get to work. At this point, things don’t take long to fall apart.
Your version of Microsoft Office is actually expired — which means you have to spend the next 45 minutes finding, purchasing, and downloading it.
Once you get things up and running, it’s already after 8:00 pm.
You hop onto your personal email and start downloading all the files you sent while you were at the office. But you quickly realize that you forgot to send the actual project itself.
So you’re forced to remember what part you left off on and decide that your best bet is to work backward. You tell yourself that you can patch together the beginning and the end when you get back to the office tomorrow morning.
You managed to send yourself the majority of the documents you needed (which is a good thing); however, without those CRM stats, things are disorganized and incomplete.
By the time you decide to call it quits, it’s close to midnight and your project is a hodgepodge of random ideas and subpar thoughts.
You have a lot to do in the morning, and you’ll probably have to get there even earlier than you originally planned.
Your entire day has been filled with work, and it looks like tomorrow will be no different.
PART 3 — A BETTER SOLUTION
Rewind back to the part where you knew you had to take work home.
At that moment, there were a lot of loose ends involved and plenty of work was required before you could actually go home and work. With the cloud, this isn’t how things would go down.
For starters, you wouldn’t have to worry about any type of access — whether this be access to your email or your beloved work files. This is because many business applications (including your email and CRM) can be cloud-based and accessed securely over the internet. This means you can simply log into your email or file-sharing solution from your browser.
At this point, you wouldn’t need to spend another 10-20 minutes at work trying to think of every possible thing you’ll need when you get home. It’s all accessible no matter where you are or what device you have.
Speaking of devices, you also wouldn’t have to worry about purchasing and downloading software on your personal laptop or home computer. Instead, these tools can also be accessed over the internet via your existing business subscription.
With a cloud-based business application (like Office 365 or even Google Docs), you can use whatever device you have and still work as if you were at the office — files and data included.
Not only does this equate to greater mobility, but it also means a heightened sense of flexibility — you can work wherever, whenever, with whatever you have. Ultimately, this means you can customize your workflow and in the process, encourage your own special brand of productivity.
PART 4 — A LIFE WITH CLOUD COMPUTING
Obviously, cloud computing can do a lot for mobility and flexibility — which can have a major impact on your productivity.
But the perks of cloud computing don’t stop there.
They can go above and beyond productivity to promote efficiency, conservation, savings, security, collaboration, and much more.
Want to learn more about the benefits of cloud computing? Take a look at 3 of the most interesting benefits of cloud computing.