Is Remote Working Good for Businesses and Their Employees?

blog cybersecurity general-it virtualization

Over the past year, countless companies have found themselves having to adopt to remote workplaces. By last April, 62% of working Americans were operating out of their homes. Though it certainly came with its technological challenges, not to mention cybersecurity threats, most companies and their employees have managed to make it work.  As we now appear to be in the homestretch of the pandemic, most offices are likely wondering what happens next.  

Before COVID-19, many companies had actually been looking towards scaling back remote work. They generally cited the challenges of remote collaboration, virtual meeting hiccups, and a lack of oversite. Now, however, remote conferencing and collaboration tools have been a regular part of life for almost every office worker over the past year. Even beyond the work world, people of all ages have been using video chat and conference call platforms to host family gatherings, game nights, dates, church services, and more.  Digital collaboration has become a normal part of life for almost everyone, young and old.  At this point, the only possible hurdles of remote working are productivity and employee satisfaction.  

Productivity Remains Strong during Remote Officing 

It’s natural to think that employees might struggle to remain productive when they’re surrounded by all of the distractions of everyday life. But despite the skepticism, recent studies have shown that the opposite is true. According to a survey of 800 employers, productivity has either remained the same or improved during quarantine.   This is especially impressive when you factor in all of the added stress and distractions caused by the events that have taken place in the past year.  However, when you look at actual studies done on companies with strong remote work programs, these results aren’t actually that surprising. Before the pandemic, Gallup research showed that employees who were given freedom in where they work and even when they work are more engaged, committed, and productive.   

This type of flexibility is important to workers. According to the same Gallup research, 54% of office workers would leave their job for one that offers more flexibility in when and where they work. According to another study from 2019, remote workers tend to be happier with their jobs than those who don’t have the option to work remotely.  The transition of going fully remote was certainly a challenge for both employers and employees in 2020. But now that we’ve settled into and adapted to these changing times, it’s almost certain that we’ll never fully go back to how things were before.

If anything, a hybrid model will likely become the norm moving forward.  A dedicated office space will still have a place for most businesses, but employees might wish to rotate between working in office and working remotely. This can ultimately result in better attitudes and higher productivity for all.  But first, businesses need to make sure they’re protected against the dangers facing this future of office work. 

Protecting Against Cyberthreats Near and Far 

Traditionally, the bulk of businesses’ cybersecurity strategies have been focused on protecting their inhouse network, on-premise software, and local device devices. As we’ve moved into a more mobile driven, cloud–based world, the need for broader cybersecurity has increased.  In a post-COVID world where the majority of your employees could be working from personal devices on unsecure networks, remote security should be a top priority. Many elements of remote workforce cybersecurity overlap with inhouse cybersecurity: password management, two-factor authentication, device management.  But remote protection also requires tools such as VPNs, private device policies, and more. Additionally, there needs to be a greater emphasis on employee training and responsibility. Cyberattacks increased by 400% under COVID-19, and many of the latest tactics are specifically targeting remote workers operating on unsecure networks.