More employers are opting for a remote workforce. Whether due to the recent COVID-19 health crisis's challenges, costs associated with a more traditional workspace, keeping your talent on the team after a move, or other issues with a conventional commute to the office more employers than ever are taking advantage of the availability of technology and the possibility of having remote team members.
Increase In Telecommuting And Risks
Telecommuting has had an overall 159% growth from 2005-2017, according to this report. So how can a business that is new to the work-from-home game make sure that they are keeping their workers productive and their data secure?
Managing Remote Workers
A recent article from the Harvard Law Review cites these fundamental principles when managing remote workers:
Principles to Keep in Mind
- Approach this new reality with compassion and patience
- Set expectations, communicate deadlines or progress, and check-in as normal
- Connect with your team daily or weekly
- Understand availability and be flexible
- Take a moment to reflect on the opportunity
Balance Will Be Important
In practice, this may be seen as more effort from an employee management standpoint. Still, in reality, these things were happening in offices every day before the Coronavirus Pandemic and resulting social distancing protocols that were put into place in March 2020.
One warning from the Harvard Business Review is that with WFH (work from home) culture becoming more common, we must also be mindful to avoid burnout.
Keys to a Secure Remote Work Program
- Safety at Home / Remote Working Locations
- Information Security
- Setting Expectations
- Having Regular Check-ins
Safety For Remote Workers and Workers' Compensation Concerns
Workplace safety and ergonomics should be just as crucial for remote workers as on-site workers at your company. Remember that remote workers have all the same rights to workers’ compensation for injuries that occur in the course of employment that employees in your facility do. Having Ergonomics and workplace safety included in your remote work policy is a good first step. Regular check-ins can help with this concern. Not monitoring a remote worker's workspace periodically can allow hazards to develop, putting your company at higher risk for a workers’ comp claim.
Information security is the most significant challenge for companies with remote workers. Physical loss or theft of devices containing data or access to data is much more likely. Access to data and equipment is also a concern if an employee is working from home, where the line between work devices and personal devices may become blurred. Equipment protection and information security should be included in the list of expectations for your remote workers.
Keeping An Eye On The Road Ahead
Remember to contact your broker or ECBM for more information on protecting your business’s best interests and planning for business continuity and growth with whatever challenges are on the road ahead.