“Working 9-5, what a way to make a living”. While the words of this Dolly Parton song will forever be immortalised, today the 9am to 5pm workplace is a thing of the past. Whether it’s flexible hours, remote working or perks such as gym memberships, businesses now have to offer additional benefits to keep their employees engaged and happy at work.
Small- to mid-sized businesses already face an uphill battle to attract the best talent, but offering these types of perks can be a challenge.
Avast Business surveyed 2,000 employees at small and mid-sized businesses, which illustrate how modern employer and employee attitudes have evolved, but not always compatibly so.
- Mobility over money: 52% would prefer to take a pay cut rather than be restricted to working in an office. A further 12% would choose the flexibility of working from home over an office – even if they were offered an increase of 25% on their salary to be in the workplace.
- A happy workforce: When asked about the benefits of being allowed to work remotely, over a third (34%) said it made them happier, with 32% claiming that it makes them enjoy their job.
- A productive workforce: Flexibility can also have a positive impact on quality of work. 38% of employees claimed to be the most productive when working from home, compared to 35% who felt they were the most productive in the office.
New ways of working = new challenges
While the benefits of granting employees flexible and mobile working are clear, there is a risk to all this freedom – the potential security dangers to which employees open themselves, and their employers.
While one in five employees are increasingly stating that they are the most productive when working in public spaces like a café or library, less (18%) are concerned with the security implications that this could have.
Unsecured Wi-Fi networks expose you to cyberattacks
If staff are accessing sensitive data or logging into business accounts through unsecured Wi-Fi and without using a Virtual Private Network, this puts the business at risk of a cyberattack. There is also risk of a data breach should an employee save sensitive information to a desktop that then gets stolen, especially if passwords aren’t unique and complex.
Business owners also have a responsibility. The research found that 38% don’t receive the technology support they need to work safely from home or in a public place. If employees are enabled to work remotely, it is employers that need to equip them to do so safely.
Three tips for mobile workforce management:
- Keep an open mind: Flexibility and mobility are becoming increasingly popular, yes; but that doesn’t mean that this is the case for everyone. Speaking to your employees about how and where they like to work will not only make them feel like they’ve been listened to, but will also serve as a means to ensure the security requirements to support this flexibility are in place.
- Educate your employees:An organisation is only as secure as its weakest link. Employers need to educate and emphasise their staff on just how they can keep company data and IT property secure, and ensure it’s clear to employees that they have a responsibility to adhere to the company security policy.
- Provide the right support:Small business owners need to provide security measures for mobile workers such as Virtual Private Network solutions for use on open Wi-Fi connections and anti-malware endpoint software for all company and employee Bring Your Own Devices. Employers should not leave it up to employees to provide their own security for company devices.
Whilst soft benefits like increased flexibility with hours and location of work can increase employee satisfaction and productivity, there are very real security issues that need to be addressed. Businesses need to provide the tools that enable flexibility in a secure way, ensuring employees whether they work remotely or from the office are equally supported.