Remote work is one of the biggest trends today. Since COVID-19 transformed our work habits completely, working from home (or WFH) went from something only rare startups allow to something that’s a new norm no matter the industry. While it has many pros, WFH also has various cons and pose as risks both to employees and employers. Not many people know this, but companies are still legally liable for the risks in most cases! So, if you’re in a situation to work remotely, here are the top risks you might be facing.
In order to pull off a successful WFH situation, many remote workers rely on remote access to the company’s network, cloud, email, conferencing tools and others. With the increase in remote work, the world also experienced the increase in cyber attacks, since hackers are taking advantage of employees’ laptops and unsecured home networks to steal ideas, sensitive data and various metrics. While at the office, IT experts can set up firewalls and other protection tools, employees’ Wi-Fis usually don’t have these strong protocols. Also, most employees don’t practise good password hygiene, so cybercriminals can gain easy and quick access to various accounts.
Due to limited support, working from home has the potential to become a huge stressor, especially when combined with the general increase of panic and uncertainty due to the epidemic. Therefore, employers must provide workers with support and guidance during the period of isolation. The support might include flexible working hours to accommodate childcare or care of unwell members of the household, providing support to employees with a line manager, encouraging discussions and communication between employees, adjusting targets and performance goals to count in the current situation, etc.
Many companies spend a lot of money on employees’ happiness, safety and healthy every year. They provide their workers with offices and co-working spaces equipped with ergonomic furniture, large screens and even standing desks. However, employees working from home don’t have access to a professional work environment. But, employers still have a broad responsibility to take measures that will ensure an employee is safe and healthy while doing the work. Since any premise that an employee works from (including their homes) is defined as a workplace, so it’s the employers’ duty to make it comfortable and safe. In order to prevent issues from arising, it’s best to have a trusted employment law firm on your side which will provide strategic and commercial advice to prevent disputation, conflict
and legal problems. With good guidance and protection, you will create an efficient and healthy work environment.
Lack of equipment
At first, workers loved the idea of working from home, but soon they realized that home offices have their drawbacks. Having a home office equipped with quality computers, high-speed internet connection, printers, good furniture and other equipment can be very expensive. Not everyone can afford to equip their home offices, but luckily, the employer is responsible to provide at least a part of this equation.
In most cases, when employees work from home, the employer needs to disperse the equipment to workers’ homes. What this means is that your IS$2000+ MacBook Pros and US$3000+ iMacs will leave the office and live in someone’s house. What if they get damaged while out of the office? Unfortunately, there’s no clear answer to who’s responsible for the damage since working from home is relatively new and all insurance agencies have different policies concerning this question. In order to be safe, consult with your insurer and check your current policy coverage. If the equipment is not covered, consider buying a new work-from-home policy.
Lack of communication
People often have a hard time functioning alone, and especially working alone effectively and efficiently. Some employees might be thrilled to work alone, some might find it impossible to collaborate without face-to-face interaction and team communication. Even though platforms like Zoom, Skype and others have an option to connect through video calls, it’s often not as efficient as spending time together, sharing ideas, brainstorming and working effectively.
Working from home can be tough for certain individuals. Even the hardest of workers often find it difficult to keep a check on their performance at work themselves since self-regulation is a hard job. When the boss is not around, employees might be tempted to take frequent breaks and laze around which results in more idle time and less work time. At the office, everyone is always reminded to stay on the task and work efficiently and effectively, which is not something that’s possible with remote work. Every employer needs to find a way to monitor performance in order to keep the operation going.
Just because the employees are at home, one should not become unconcerned with their safety and happiness. Working from home oftentimes carries fewer risks than working in a normal office, but the risks exist and it’s important to be informed about them.