The novel coronavirus, COVID-19, has swept across the world and infected thousands. Here in New Zealand, we have been fortunate enough to contain the infection to a small number of people through strict preventative and containment measures.
As the threat of transmission grows, more and more companies are encouraging workers to remain at home and complete their tasks from home offices around the country. This can be an excellent transmission prevention tool, as it avoids unnecessary contact between people both at work, and during the commute.
New Zealand will continue to aim to contain this virus, however for those working from home, and for companies encouraging employees to work from home, there are a number of implications to be aware of.
Issues with security
When employees work from home, it raises a number of security concerns for businesses.
For example, laptops and desktops within a workplace are usually set up with tight security controls in place, but individual workers may not have similar controls set up on their home devices.
Another issue is that it can be extremely difficult to enforce security measures for workers at home.
Employees may even be more prone to taking risks when working from home. This could be accessing public or a neighbour’s wifi to connect to the internet, allowing others to borrow their devices, or opening emails with unknown sources.
Businesses should be taking steps now to prevent potential security breaches caused by employees working from home.
- Ask staff to update all software
- Store data securely on the Cloud, rather than on private machines
- Ensure staff use encryption and passwords at home
- Allow staff to use secure work devices where possible
- Set up or use a two-factor authentication system for company data
- Employ a security consulting firm such as CANDA for personalised advice
Issues with performance and monitoring
When employees work from home, it can be difficult for companies to ensure that staff are at their home desk just as they would be at their desk at work. It can also be a struggle for employees to maintain their usual levels of productivity when faced with the distractions of a home office, such as children, pets, and housework.
Businesses will need a certain level of trust in this situation, as without overbearing control measures, it can be near impossible to ensure staff are working as they should be. In all likelihood, employees will enjoy the freedom of working from home, and the extra time gained from avoiding a commute.
Incentivising performance can help both sides to continue to meet work expectations. For example, employers may suggest that if productivity remains high during this enforced isolation, working from home may be more of an option in future.
Issues with staff training
Depending on the workplace, employees working from home can greatly impact any ongoing development or training that would otherwise take place on site.
This can be one of the more challenging aspects of remote working, as one-on-one training sessions are often invaluable.
In this case, employers must make plans to continue training with the tools they have available. Video calls, conference calls, shared screens, and shared online documents are all hugely beneficial for those looking to maintain an ongoing development program.
By setting goals for the staff member and creating a plan to reach each stage, employers can continue with development to ensure no time is wasted during the outbreak of coronavirus.
If you are concerned about information and cyber security as your workers head home to minimise virus risk, contact CANDA for a personalised assessment and consultation on how to best minimise another virus risk – this one of the software kind.