While IT is not usually an issue for HR, James Hawker, Chief Executive of Bluecube, considers that technology can directly play a part in company culture and therefore it’s important for HR to join the discussion:

Remote working is here to stay, so it’s time to consider what role IT solutions and strategies can play in improving company culture in 2021 and beyond.

Company culture is the heart of any business’ operations; it’s not just about being a “fun” place to work, it’s also about instilling a positive mindset, an open, content working environment, and fluid communication throughout teams.

As it becomes much more normal to communicate with colleagues and peers through technology; the way we interact, work together and collaborate in the workspace is altering too.

IT service providers, like ourselves, are seeing a spike in demand from businesses looking for cloud solutions and embedded technology to respond and adapt to the way teams now communicate to continue to foster good culture and positive energies.

Technology can be isolating as much as it can be collaborative. Therefore, it’s important that companies are looking for tools and solutions that bring dispersed teams and digital personalities together in a strategic way. There needs to be just as much emphasis on digital interaction, as placed on physical and social interaction in offices.

Four communication tools for better team integration

1. Teams
Microsoft Teams streamlines a team’s communications. Using Teams allows people to send quick messages and host video calls, but also schedule meetings and share documents straight from the chat window – all the usual communication that brings a team closely integrated together. Microsoft Teams makes it easier for employees to collaborate, creating transparency and growth within an organisation and a feeling of connectivity. Microsoft says employees are typically now part of twice as many teams as they were five years ago!

2. Workspace
Workspace is Google’s solution to the communication challenges of remote work; at a time when culture and inclusion may be more difficult with a dispersed workforce. Workspace integrates all of Google’s apps, such as Gmail, Calendar, Drive, Docs, Sheets, and Slides, to create a smooth collaboration experience for users. A “one-stop tech” solution that combines it all can be the difference in employees being frustrated with admin, and a seamless, happier team.

3. Sharepoint
This Microsoft software allows document sharing, content management, and social networking, in ways to optimise teamwork. Sharepoint is used for internal communication. Fostering tools like this that combine the social and practical elements of team conversations and collaboration make for a much more positive and streamlined working day.

4. Zoom
Zoom has exploded in popularity in 2020, largely due to the pandemic. It’s popularity stems from it being easy and simple to set up and manage, working across all operating systems, such as PC, Mac, iOS, and Android. It’s important to find digital replacements for face-to-face communication. While tools like Zoom still lack some real-life elements, or are capped with time limits, they are a strong replacement to enable teams to still bond, interact and stay connected with colleagues around the world, or in different locations; which is key to creating a strong internal culture.

Benefits of cloud solutions for improved productivity and collaboration

Integrating the cloud into your business’s activities benefits your organisation in a variety of ways. Making the day-to-day running of the company a fun, professional and an enjoyable place to work will harness a strong work ethic and contribute to company culture. These are some of the benefits:

Accessibility
Cloud computing can help an entire organisation shift seamlessly into remote work. Wherever staff are, they can have easy 24-hour access to the information, documents, and tools they need to fulfil their roles. Whatever device they’re using, all they need is an internet connection to access their business’s cloud storage. It’s important for company culture that team members at all levels feel they have the same access to be able to collaborate with colleagues and feel included.

Scalability
Cloud services are more cost-effective than adding physical servers within a data centre and administrators can scale them much more easily. This allows the cloud to be adapted to fit the user’s needs. For example, if a remote workforce grows, the cloud’s flexibility means it’s simple to accommodate new members. This makes it quicker to transition to remote work as an organisation and reduces the amount of downtime you need to plan for. This is key for new team members to quickly feel included in a team and able to start their job straight away to their best of their ability. Removing technology barriers or set-up hurdles makes for a happier employee.

Security
Cloud computer solutions increase an organisation’s cybersecurity protections by ensuring all data an organisation is storing on a server has safety measures in place. Public cloud platforms also give users access to particular security features like data encryption and specific user permissions. When a remote workforce uses cloud services, this not only ensures the security of an organisation’s data, but leaves a level of confidence for the employee that they are able to do their job and interact with their team in a safe way and without risk of exposing their team to risks.

Once you implement measures for your team to support their productivity and improve their performance in their roles, it will in turn trickle down into a positive company culture. IT infrastructure is embedded into most IT service providers’ strategies, but it needs to work like clockwork and now, more than ever, to replace those usual face to face interactions, and to help positively contribute to team culture.

By Lisa Baker, Senior Editor

Senior Editor Lisa Baker is the owner of Need to See it Publishing Group, providing contract news for business and news sites across the UK. Lisa is an experienced HR writer and commentator, editing HR publications for more than 5 years.