Technology has the power to liberate the workforce.
With cloud computing, we are no longer tied to office infrastructure; we have the ability to work any time, anywhere, as long as we have a device and an internet connection. This enhanced flexibility is a welcome change, especially for women who are often having to juggle work with caring responsibilities, enabling not only individual tasks but collaborative projects too.
As the cloud is adopted and the technologies within it accepted, positive changes to workplace agility and how businesses enable their employees could help to expedite progress for women particularly in the industries where they are still hugely underrepresented, such as STEM.
With International Women’s Day putting gender equity front of mind, Tanaz Gould, Sales and Solutions Director at Claranet, discusses the importance of implementing technology in a way that enables those who need to work flexibly to thrive.
Putting power in the hands of the employee
Putting the right tech in front of the right people allowed many companies to make the large-scale move from on-premise to remote working fairly seamlessly. But while tech has the power to be liberating, the things that determine the effectiveness of remote working are the culture and strategy wrapped around that technology.
Companies have had to go the extra mile to help their people to stay motivated and drive innovation. It has been crucial to create a structure and space for people to enter and engage digitally, underpinned by the right technology. This is the power of the cloud. But, in order to get the most value out of this technology, companies must integrate these transformative capabilities with their culture.
Bridging the skills gap
Recent data from Accenture found that just 37% of companies are achieving the full value expected on their cloud investments. It is clear that new technology can only truly revolutionise business practices when paired with the right human talent. Therefore, a key part of any digital transformation is a strong training strategy.
As companies across all industries work to keep pace with accelerating digitalisation, new, disruptive tech skills are in demand. By upskilling women in particular in cloud capabilities, companies can facilitate the development of their overall digital fluency — the extent to which they can embrace and use digital technologies to further their knowledge — which is key to closing the gender gap, improving employee efficiency and future-proofing businesses.
Once employees are fluent in the capabilities of the cloud, they are free to focus their energy on innovation. Without having to constantly rely on IT teams to help them realise new visions, employees can push the boundaries and think bigger.
Nurturing a collaborative culture
In the past, women who worked remotely full or part-time may have felt disjointed from their office-based teams. The software and processes that a company uses can have a significant impact on employees’ sense of value and belonging.
Companies must consider whether the platforms they use to communicate and share information encourage company-wide collaboration. They should also consider how effective these platforms are at bridging the gap between remote and office workers: are they bringing colleagues together or exaggerating the sense of division?
A cloud-based platform is crucial in enabling and encouraging knowledge sharing among a hybrid workforce, taking every stage of a project — from brainstorming to delivery — online. Collaborative software helps teams to stay aligned and enables everyone to have equal input.
In this way, this software may also have the effect of flattening hierarchies and opening up new opportunities for women to progress in their roles. Whereas women may have previously been overlooked for key roles due to reduced face-to-face interaction with senior management compared to their colleagues in the office, cloud-based collaboration software may contribute towards counteracting this.
With hybrid working becoming less of a vision for the future and more of a reality, cloud tech will be central to helping the workforce stay connected. And together with the right upskilling and the development of a truly collaborative culture, this disruptive technology could be the key to unlocking the full potential of the future female workforce.
About the Author
Tanaz Gould is Sales and Solutions Director at Claranet. Claranet are experts in modernising and running critical applications and infrastructure. One of only five companies in the world to have all three audited Managed Service Provider certifications from the hyperscalers: Microsoft Azure Expert MSP and Gold Partner, AWS Premier Consulting Partner and Google Cloud Premier Partner.
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