While many leaders are preparing for “next time” by simply adjusting their work-from-home policies, they would be in better shape moving forward if they instead took some time to reimagine what their workplaces could be like with the right cloud-based solutions in place.

There has been much talk about the “new normal” and what that may mean for businesses. While nobody (unless you’re a soothsayer) is quite sure what to expect, there have been plenty of ongoing conversations about remote work playing a pivotal role in the post-COVID-19 world – and for a good reason.

Nearly 50 percent of organizations had 81 percent or more of their employees working remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a report published by IT research firm Gartner in April 2020. Because of this, the conversation around remote work has changed significantly for the better.

For instance, when it comes to working from home, employers are no longer the only ones in the driver’s seat. While not every job can be done remotely, many can, and after having proved that during the world’s most massive work-from-home experiment, employees are now demanding change from their employers. More than half (54 percent) of employees would prefer to primarily work remotely, according to the results of a recent survey conducted by tech giant IBM.

CompTIA, the largest IT member trade association, conducted a study in March 2020. The study results show that 72 percent of business professionals have plans to increase investments in remote work capabilities to accommodate the needs of remote workers.  This increase will allow then to adapt to the seismic shift in the way business leaders conduct business in a post-COVID-19 world.

The survey’s respondents also pointed out that the top four investments that would provide significant benefit to remote work capabilities include virtual private network (VPN), collaboration applications, cybersecurity, and cloud. While each of these technologies is necessary in a post-COVID-19 world, cloud computing solutions make remote working possible.

It shouldn’t surprise anyone then that the cloud computing market is expected to grow from $223 billion in 2019 to $295 billion by 2021, at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 12.5 percent during the forecast period, according to a MarketsandMarkets Research report released in April 2020.

Instead of relying on on-premises infrastructure, mostly a combination of hardware, software, and networks (which an IT professional must be able to access physically for maintenance, especially when something goes wrong), businesses are opting for cloud-based solutions.  Cloud-based solutions enable companies to quickly scale their computing solutions and allow their employees to work from anywhere.

While relying on an on-premises data center isn’t always bad (sometimes you may need one), it isn’t always the best option for your business. An on-premises data center usually doesn’t provide you with the kind of security, flexibility, and accessibility you need to ensure your employees can work from home effectively and efficiently.

Before going back to the way you operated your business in a world without COVID-19, reimagine your future by determining how technology, specifically cloud-based solutions, could improve the way you run your business and improve employee performance, efficiency and satisfaction.