Remote and flexible working has been high on the agenda for many years, in Social App, Buffers annual report “The State of Remote Working” they found that of the 2500 workers surveyed, a staggering 99% had the desire to work remotely.
In the World’s Best Places to Work 2019, over 60% of the highest-ranking organisations were actively promoting remote working policies. A Gartner report earlier this year, also concluded that organisations supporting a “choose-your-own-work-style” culture, will boost employee retention rates by more than 10%, thereby decreasing the associated high costs of staff turnover.
These are all compelling statistics and as the new generations start joining the workforce, they will be looking to work with companies that offer flexible and remote working practices which is the way they want to work. A failure to offer these could see you missing out on talent.
Our adoption of new technologies and the proliferation of applications now makes working remotely easier and far more efficient. However, there can be pitfalls, and employers need to ensure that they address some of the core issues around data security, work practices and employee wellbeing. Failure to do so can have a significant impact on the output and efficiency of workers and leave organisations exposed to compliance failures and fines.
However, with challenges, often come solutions and there are ways to help alleviate potential issues.
Remote workers have far fewer workplace interactions than onsite counterparts. Sometimes this can lead to decreased visibility, which in turn can start to cause workflow bottlenecks. Management teams looking to adopt a remote working practice, need to find new ways to have visibility of workflows and performance. One such tool is ActivTrak, this allows in-depth visibility, analytics and reporting on work efficiency. This helps both managers and employees, as they both can address any challenges before, they impact both the business and wellbeing.
Policies and Compliance
If employees are displaced it is often hard to convey and reinforce education on your policies compliance and rules. It’s also very difficult for management teams to understand how these policies are being adhered too. The key to success in this area is a shared understanding of the responsibilities of both parties and setting clear and defined rules.
A remote working policy that defines working hours, staying safe and secure is essential. Organisations also need to ensure that the same level of care and diligence around cybersecurity is also applied to remote workers.
Remote and mobile working creates new security challenges. With the growth of cybercrime, diligence and vigilance form an important part of your day to day strategies.
Your data and intellectual properties need to be protected. In a study by technology leader Cisco, 45% of remote workers admitted using personal devices for work. Given that the average home device will lack the levels of security needed to protect your data, this is a massive risk to compliance and security. Employees could also transfer sensitive files between work and personal devices, unrestricted and undetected. Having measures to monitor and track files and usage can reduce your risk exposure.
Other risks include unsecured Wi-Fi networks and data theft. Effective remote working means that we need to be connected wherever we are, this can result in employees taking advantage of public Wi-Fi networks.
The coffee shop, pub or library all offer a connection to the outside world for remote workers. However, using the unsecured Wi-Fi in these public spaces increases the risk of data theft from hacking or even data interception. Organisations need to create policies and educate staff on the risks and rules around unsecured networks.
Common sense also plays a part, don’t be discussing sensitive company details in the local fast food restaurant where many people could overhear.
With current technologies, policy propagation and compliance can be delivered simply and remotely to your employees as well as implementing control over data and file transfers.
Focus on Employee Wellbeing
A happy workforce is a productive workforce and at a personal level, without the interaction and buzz of the workplace, remote workers can face. A report on the “State of Remote Working” found that 21% of remote employees cited loneliness as their top concern. In another study by Ciga, 46% of respondents said they feel alone, sometimes or always.
Employees who are not happy or experience loneliness are more likely to take sick days and be less efficient at work.
Tools to Help you Manage Remote Working
Some employers feel reluctant to monitor employees, the old days of spying and logging are far behind us and monitoring now is all about analytics, efficiency, security and protection. It is no longer just a benefit to employers but also helps employees understand what is required and helps them to achieve that.
ActivTrak is one of the leading solutions when it comes to remote employees. Their cloud-based workforce productivity and analytics provide some great tools, to help both employer and employee. When it comes to keeping your remote workforce happy and efficient, they recommended.
- Establish open communication policies for remote work
- Evaluate support systems and fully integrate software tools
- Track productivity to understand how remote work is completed
- Prevent cybersecurity and data compliance risks from open perimeter devices
- Coach with data to prevent burnout and work-life balance issues
If you would like to find out more about ActivTrak or arrange a free trial, please click here>> or call us on 0114 361 0062