Back in 1981, only around 1.5% of employees worked from home in the UK, and by the start of 2019 it had more than tripled to 4.7%. However, due to the pandemic and the resulting UK national lockdowns, with many organisations instructed to work from home, these figures have risen dramatically from 5.7% working exclusively from home in January and February 2020 to 43.1% by April 2020.
Since the rise in home-based working, the cloud has become particularly important and many businesses are now harnessing the multiple benefits of cloud technologies. As cloud services can be accessed from any location, this has provided organisations with remote access to critical applications and data, vitally allowing work to continue from home.
Traditionally before the cloud, computers relied on physical servers and hardware which are not accessible remotely. The cloud allows organisations to remotely access communication tools, software, applications, and business documents and databases.
This blog post will explore the effects cloud-based home working has had on businesses, the cloud industry and online security.
Today, with the impact of the pandemic and lockdown measures, it is estimated that around 50% of the entire UK workforce now works from home. Although for many this may not present a long term reality, it’s predicted this will be the new normal for some. This sudden change of working environment has affected many business processes for those working remotely, and clearly this move may require a permanent adaption.
Recent research by Airtasker in the US, revealed that the adaption to working from home actually saw an increase in productivity; suggesting that by eliminating daily commutes, and with colleagues taking regular short breaks, it can lead to healthier, more balanced lifestyles which can have a positive impact on the working day.
However, working from home does come with its own set of unique challenges and drawbacks. The number of distractions can be increased, and it may be easy for employees to feel a sense of ‘disconnect’ from the workplace and the team. On top of this, learning new skills such as time management, can also present problems.
Some studies suggest working from home can have a negative impact on output and performance if the tasks are ‘dull’, where as ‘creative’ tasks usually yield positive results. Therefore, the debate on productivity whilst working from home seems to be subjective, not only to the individual, but also to their role and responsibilities.
The rise in home working due to the pandemic is driving cloud adoption. With an increased need for scalability and flexibility to match a remote working business model, and the cloud’s ability to add resources virtually without investing in hardware, this acceleration comes as little surprise.
Research conducted last year by a UK-based software provider, saw 51% of UK businesses declare that the shift to a cloud-based model had saved their company during the pandemic and 60% were now planning to substantially increase their use of cloud-based services to help see them through the pandemic and for the future.
With the increase of remote workers, online applications and tools have also surged in recent months, including collaboration tools and online meeting and communication services.
Video conferencing tools, which enable organisations to create a virtual face-to-face environment, have seen their daily usage rise exponentially since the pandemic and in March, Microsoft announced that its application, Teams, added 12 million daily users in 7 days, increasing the number of users to 44 million.
For many, working from home was an overnight transition in 2020, with the technology industry seeing a surge in online use as workers began to rely heavily on remote accessibility and cloud networks.
Many home networks, however, are not able to provide adequate levels of security compared to office spaces, in some cases providing an opportunity for cyber criminals to intercept and steal sensitive data. The sudden and unplanned transition to remote working left some businesses exposed, and recent research from a US-based cyber security business, revealed that opportunist cyberthreats as a result of the pandemic shot up 600% from February to March 2020.
However, storing documents, information and data on secure cloud-based applications can help to increase security and, with the correct IT resources, additional security measures can also be taken, such as multi-factor authentication and encryption to ensure your data and applications remain secure. Read our blog, How the Cloud Enables Safe and Efficient Remote Working, for more information on keeping your remote workers secure.
We hope you enjoyed this blog post. As always, if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.
Image credit: Gioraphics/envato.com
Rebecca is a Marketing Assistant at Secura, helping the team deliver campaigns and events, and making sure the team is always on track and organised.
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