As a result of the pandemic, it’s likely that your organization has supported remote work over the course of the last year. Even prior to the pandemic, your organization may have offered work from home days in support of your employees. Believe it or not, some organizations even had a full remote staff long before the pandemic struck the United States. Long before COVID-19, between the years 2005 and 2018, the number of remote employees throughout the United States increased by 173%. Of course this figure has likely increased significantly over the course of 2020 and 2021 as remote work became a necessity for organizations to support for the sake of the safety and health of their employees. It’s not all bad though, as remote employees have been known to save organizations money through decreased overhead and operating costs.
What isn’t always mentioned when discussing remote staff are the challenges and risks associated with these employees. One of the many challenges that come about as a result of remote staff is adjusting to remote management. For managers, without the ability to communicate as effectively as they would face-to-face with their employees, they may struggle to get the most out of some members of their staff. The same way that these remote employees may struggle to communicate between teams and even with their own team members. Additionally, remote staff has been known to illicit feelings of isolation as a result of extended periods of time without any team interaction.
It’s also worth considering how the liability associated with an in-office employee differs from a remote employee. For example, will your insurance cover a remote employee facing an injury whilst working at home? Will that same policy cover lost or stolen hardware for remote employees as well? What about data breaches as a result of less network security for these remote employees? Making sure your organization has the most fitting insurance policy to cover these situations is key prior to enabling a remote staff.
Workers’ compensation is also something that must be adjusted accordingly for remote employees. Medical bills, lost wages as a result of injury or sickness and the like are all things that should remained covered despite an employee transitioning into a full-time remote position. Making sure these policies cover your remote employees the same way they would in-office employees is equally important.
Mitigating the potential cyber risks associated with a remote workforce is also imperative. Focusing efforts on preventing cyberattacks should be priority number one. In order to accomplish this, most organizations use firewalls, VPN or SD WAN to monitor traffic and ensure the safety of their data. With some help from firewalls and the most up-to-date software, your organization’s data should remain safe. In the event that it doesn’t, your organization should have a cyber liability insurance policy that covers the damages.
Though it may seem like the dangers outweigh the benefits, professionals have a lot to gain from a full-time remote position. More freedom in tandem with a better balance between work and home lives makes for the best possible experience for employees. Finding the balance between challenges and benefits can be difficult, but it doesn’t have to be. With the help of the infographic accompanying this post, courtesy of B2Z Insurance, your organization should be able to mitigate the risks associated with a remote work force.