For years, companies have worked on the model that people need to show up to work to perform their functions. This approach comes out of our industrial heritage.
In the past, it simply wasn’t possible for firms to employ people from home. For one thing, you could effectively monitor them. For another, workers simply didn’t have the tools they needed to conduct their business from their bedrooms. In the 1960s, even something as basic as internet shopping was hopelessly futuristic, imagine how boosting productivity with the ‘cloud’ would have been taken back then.
Today, though, we’re in a radically different situation. As we’ve come to learn from the current pandemic, skipping the office and moving to the cloud is entirely feasible. But does it go further than that? Could this mass movement to the cloud boost productivity and ultimately increase output? It is an interesting thought experiment.
The elimination of the daily commute
Consider the economic gains, for instance, of cutting out the daily commute. Now we are in a situation where all people have to do to go to work is boil the kettle, make a cup of coffee, and then open their laptops. There’s no need to put on a suit, sit in traffic, or spend money on transportation services. Workers no longer have to consume any of those resources to do their jobs, freeing them up for other things.
The implications of this are truly stunning. Just on the productivity front, employees no longer have to endure long daily commutes. That fact alone means that they are less likely to become burned out and can increase their leisure time.
Furthermore, companies can ask their workers to compromise on the hours that they spend doing tasks. Now that they’re saving time on the commute, they can split some of that saving between leisure and work, benefit companies too.
On top of that, home working actually helps with focus. Colleagues aren’t having to endure continual interruptions by Steve from accounting, asking them questions about payroll. Instead, they can indulge in a bit of “deep focus,” concentrating fully on each task that they need to perform.
The unique productivity benefits of the cloud
Moving to cloud brings unique productivity benefits of its own. Companies that use a database migration service can expect more efficient IT and less downtime, as well as seamless updates. In other words, sending everyone home and using a distributed computing model could provide added operational efficiencies.
In the pre-pandemic world, companies would simply organize all their activities in-house. It required massive expense of resources and often meant getting IT staff to work anti-social hours to prepare networks in advance of the bulk of workers hitting the office.
Now though, all that happens in the background. Companies just choose a cloud service, and it takes care of everything for them. Colleagues get almost entirely consistent service and don’t have to accommodate updates.
Economically speaking, therefore, we could be seeing a step-change in productivity. Long-term, this should have positive implications for the quality of life for everyone in society. When the lockdown ends, we could see businesses boom.