Over the course of 2020, the coronavirus pandemic has caused serious, possibly long term damage to the corporate world. Businesses and corporations, both large and small, are not immune to the economic destruction caused by the virus. State and federal governments around the world have asked their citizens to stay home as much as possible to help prevent the spread of this highly contagious and deadly virus.
These stay at home requests have greatly affected employees, especially those in the tech industry. Most companies at this point, have adopted work from home or remote models to continue operations and prevent as much disruption as possible.
Thanks to the extensive availability and advanced technology of the internet, multitudes of business owners can now allow their employees to work from home remotely.
The benefits of having employees work from home include:
- Employees working from home have a more flexible schedule
- Employees gain the flexibility to work from almost anywhere away from the office
- Employees save time by not having to commute
- They get the opportunity to spend more time with family
- Many employees enjoy working from their homes
Unfortunately, there are drawbacks to employees who suddenly find themselves working from home and no longer monitored in a work environment. Without proper infrastructure and appropriate protocols in place, employees with little to no exposure to remote working tools can find it hard to adapt to this new work situation.
There are other factors that will require consideration as well, like employee trustworthiness, their ability to learn new skills, and how the employee is able to meet the company’s overall business objective.
Below are key challenges that an organization can face when moving to a remote working model.
Poor employee engagement
One of the most obvious results when companies transition to a new remote working model is the loss of company identity amongst their employees. Without the usual day to day interaction, maintaining company culture can be tough, especially for newer hires. The inevitable distractions at home can lead to procrastination and low morale when employees are no longer influenced by peers to stay motivated, leading to lower employee engagement. Companies can address these issues with things like virtual meetings, and online training programs to personally guide and train new employees.
Communication barriers to team collaboration
Once employees lose the familiar face to face interactions every day, transparency may become greatly reduced as the lack of team collaboration grows. This will lead to conflicts within the team because of confusion and distrust amongst team members.
In the new work from home environment, the face to face discussions and in-person meetings are gone, and achieving the same level of engagement becomes much more difficult. This will eventually affect the overall workflow, but luckily there are online platforms available to help bridge the communication gap a great deal.
There is always a risk of hiccups with technology, but this issue can become more challenging when at-home employees live outside metro areas or live in low-income areas. Not only will your company have to deal with internet outages, broadband network limitations, and application and software crashes, you also have to take into consideration that not all employees will have a dedicated work device or access to stable internet. Without a robust technology infrastructure, disruptions will occur with not only the remote employees but with the overall business productivity as well. Companies must be able to streamline applications at both the macro and micro levels to ensure that every employee will have the access to the tools they need to meet their job goals. This may include computer/laptop distribution to employees or providing access to broadband internet.
At-home employees tend to be at a much greater risk for security breaches and stolen data because they don’t typically use or have access to enterprise-grade security. When these employees connect to the corporate network, they may be enabling or unleashing a cybersecurity threat that can jeopardize the safety of the entire network. It is absolutely critical that companies deploy the right firewall, endpoint verification, and VPN tunnels to protect their devices at home from third party breaches or malware attacks. These are the times we now live in, and the rise in at-home workers is the current reality. This can, however, result in a more efficient workforce, gains in productivity, and cost savings when certain protocols are implemented strategically.