Even before the pandemic, a distributed workforce was becoming more and more common. This trend looks set to continue, as people grow used to the benefits of working wherever they like. Of course, for all its benefits, a distributed, remote workforce offers fresh challenges and demands fresh solutions.
One of the most advanced solutions for integrating a distributed and remote workforce is the use of software, platforms, and infrastructure as a service – SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS respectively. SaaS has been used in everything from marketing to CRM tools. This new technology has enabled the spread of remote working, and will continue to support it in the future.
When people can’t see each other face to face, these centrally-hosted delivery systems can facilitate the kind of communications necessary to run an organization effectively. In this article, we’re going to discuss how SaaS can help businesses manage a distributed workforce.
Some of the most profound challenges faced by individuals in the workplace can be met and overcome by SaaS solutions.
It’s clear that, while many of the problems faced by remote workers are personal ones, there’s also a lot of issues with technology and communication. SaaS solutions give plenty of options and opportunities to overcome these issues.
Advantages of SaaS
Essentially, SaaS is a way to deliver software where the user doesn’t need ro download and install the application. Instead, they receive constant updates from their browser via a central host. When it goes beyond an individual piece of software and becomes more structural, it can be referred to as Infrastructure as a Service, or IaaS.
One key advantage of SaaS over traditional software is ease of use. Firstly, it runs through a web browser. Every computer will be able to access this and many employees already understand how it works. This is easier than introducing new software that has to be installed – especially advantageous for the less tech-savvy.
It also means that distribution of content and updates happens naturally and easily over the internet, with no need to ask employees to download new applications and install them onto their computer. While SaaS comes ready made, there is a more customizable option – Platform as a Service, or PaaS.
Another advantage is that, since SaaS is a subscription based model, the provider is obliged to provide good IT support. Rather than using an outdated, “weighty” software, SaaS is normally more streamlined and support comes faster from the central host.
Employee Well-being and SaaS
It doesn’t seem at first like SaaS could be used for employee well-being, but there’s actually a wealth of corporate wellness software out there, much of it delivered by a SaaS model.
Perhaps the best thing corporate wellness software can do is to encourage the socialization that normally happens in a physical workplace. This software can set up social events between employees, integrate between social media, schedule group breaks and so on and so forth.
The loneliness factor of working remotely can’t be underestimated when it comes to employee well-being – humans are social creatures, after all. For many, human contact at work is something that often keeps them going through difficult times.
Some corporate well-being platforms are built to engage employees over voice and video to help them maintain some element of social contact – whether that’s just chatting over a break, or supporting virtual team building activities.
Everyone is different, but a distributed remote workforce as a whole needs some socialization to function. Using SaaS to implement corporate wellbeing programs is one of the most efficient ways to implement that.
Communication and Collaboration with SaaS
SaaS can help any person managing a distributed team which works remotely. Communication and collaboration is vital to the running of any organization, and SaaS management is the way to take your remote management forward.
SaaS communication tools are useful for all the same reasons that we discussed SaaS in general earlier. The list of things they can do is almost endless, but if we consider collaboration as a major problem of working remotely, then their specific capabilities mark SaaS tools out amongst the crowd.
Interactive digital workplaces allow employees to easily share documents of all kinds, receive and update schedules, set up individual and group tasks and monitor those tasks, and many other things. More or less everything that can be done for collaboration in a physical office can be done by SaaS tools in a distributed workforce.
SaaS Supporting the Distributed Workforce
We’ve looked at the advantages of using SaaS tools and two different ways these advantageous tools can support a workforce to succeed in the biggest challenges for the remote worker – problems with technology, their mental wellbeing, and their ability to collaborate.
But in fact, SaaS can support a distributed workforce in many other ways too. Almost all workplace tools have SaaS equivalents, whether that’s data analytics, using SaaS marketing metrics, or anything else.
SaaS tools are a growing market. It’s likely that they’re not just here to stay, but that they’ll actually encompass a lot of the digital business activity for organizations in the future. It’s a wise move to start implementing SaaS tools, especially for a distributed workforce, sooner rather than later.
And at the end of the day, your employees will thank you for it.
The original version of this article was first published on Future of Work.