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Telecommuting is no longer considered an employee benefit by employers. It is now an essential option for organizations to adapt to and ensure their business’s survival. This is a new way of working for many people, but with flexible working comes a wave of new challenges.
What equipment is your employee going to be using to work from home?
Are there enough spare office laptops and computers for everyone?
In the ideal circumstances, each employee would have access to computer equipment provided by the workplace to access the business’s network from secure equipment. However, with the increased numbers of people being asked to telecommute, it is likely that many organizations simply won’t have the needed amount of equipment.
This is highly problematic: there is an increased risk of a serious data security breach.
Build a secure virtual private network (VPN). This will mean that the telecommuter has access to the digital files they need to complete their work, and their work is saved and backed up to the company network. A VPN decreases the risk of potentially sensitive data and documents being collected to their home computers.
Assuming the VPN is password protected and has the same robust security settings as the workplace’s IT system, there should be limited opportunity for unauthorized people to access the network. However, homeworkers should be advised on how to protect your digital identity.
· Lack of focus
Working remotely is a different experience to working in an office space. Some people thrive with autonomy, but others struggle to remain focused. Each employee is an individual, and there is no one hard and fast rule that can be applied across the board; however, if you identify that an employee is struggling, this period of home working could be the ideal time for additional training.
If your organization has internal courses employees can complete for their career development, this could be the perfect time to let them study. Career development enhances the organization and the individual. If you do not have access to training materials, some fantastic training opportunities can be accessed online, too. Colleagues must be supported during this time of transition.
The culture of business drives its efficiencies and productivity. Workplaces flourish when people feel connected and happy to help each other. When people have good working relationships, a culture of collaboration and innovation is fostered, so when workers are isolated, there is a real risk that these relationships are negatively impacted.
Get into the habit of regularly checking in with employees using video conferencing technology. Your team can still have meetings and have real interactions with each other, rather than simply communicating through e-mail. Telecommuting creates new challenges for employers and employees alike; however, with the technology that people have access to, the impact on the organization can be kept to a minimum. A distributed team can be a happy and successful team, and they just need to be managed and supported in a different way when they were office-based.
March 19, 2020
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