Through cloud computing the physical office is being phased out, making way for a virtual environment in which we all work from our own locations.
At first glance this might seem like a rather lonely existence: gone are the jokes we can throw across the cubicle wall, the ever-present chatter by the water cooler, and the camaraderie of work buddies in the lunchroom.
In a broader view, this also might seem like the disappearance of traditional corporate culture, through which company spirit and morale has been fostered. Corporate culture has usually been maintained through departmental or company parties and gatherings which seem to vanish with the advent of the virtual world.
Science fiction long ago predicted that a totally automated age would bring about a complete departure of the human element. Are these dire visions coming to pass—or is it merely a matter of adjusting what we do within the new paradigm?
The Double-Edged Sword of Working Alone
Working alone is certainly a drastic change.
On the plus side, distractions and pressures that would occur in an office are no longer present. Nearby conversations or arguments can no longer pull your attention from work. The boss isn’t constantly hanging over your shoulder to make sure you’re on the job. And you’re not so enslaved to the clock; it is no longer necessary to report at 9 and punch out at 5. For “self-starters” it can actually be a welcome difference.
For others it might at first seem to be just a little too isolated and some of those “distractions and pressures” might actually be missed. Your “work buddies” are no longer just a few feet away, distracting or not. That boss hanging over your shoulder may have been the motivation you felt you needed and without it you’re lacking the drive to do a good job. And because you’re not having to punch a time clock (whether literally or figuratively) you might feel inclined to slack off and not put in as many hours as you should.
Cloud Computing Culture—Responsibility
The new cloud computing corporate culture certainly mandates a sense of responsibility that may be new to some employees.
They’re going to have to “get themselves going” and buckle down on their own, without a manager telling them to. They’re going to have to ensure that during the time they are working they are not overly distracted by the kids, the dog, the spouse or others who may be around. They’ll need to firmly leave the TV off or be in a room where it isn’t situated. It certainly will begin with the firm decision to be totally responsible on their own for getting their work done, and sticking by that decision.
Another “motivation” will certainly be the job itself; that job won’t be around for long if the assigned tasks aren’t being completed in a timely manner.
Corporate Culture and Camaraderie
Does the new virtual business platform mean the vital factors of business culture need to disappear? The answer is: not by a long way.
High speed broadband and efficient collaboration and communication tools have made cloud computing and virtual business possible to begin with. Those combined with a flexible and intuitive cloud CRM solution enable an enterprise to carry forth as well as—or better than—it did in an office environment.
But communication and collaboration tools are not only good for conducting business; they can also be used for corporate executives to “brief the troops.” Regular virtual company meetings can and should be held so that employees remain well informed of—and enthused about—company direction. Within these meetings corporate culture is carried on as before.
A leading-edge CRM application not only quickly and easily empowers sales and others who deal with customers, it enables the company to function completely as a team and carry on that group spirit and morale as such.
Employees certainly can and do utilize these same tools to communicate and collaborate amongst themselves, so that loss of physical presence and ability to chatter is not so keenly felt, or is hardly felt at all. And what of the odd or humorous comment that could before be thrown across to the next cubicle? For that there are plenty of vehicles including chat clients and social media forums.
So while the new cloud computing corporate environment has most certainly changed things and made us perhaps physically isolated—we are also just as certainly not alone.
See our other articles on the changing face of business.