There are plenty of benefits to allowing your employees to work from home, but that doesn’t mean you can just implement it without consideration and planning. You have to have a system in place that allows you to enjoy the benefits of remote capabilities while mitigating some of its potential risks.
We’ll explain. First and foremost, allowing your employees to work from home on occasion is a fundamentally good strategy, as it means that circumstances have a reduced impact on their individual productivity, as well as the productivity of your organization as a whole. For example, let’s say you have an employee who falls ill, and while they are still perfectly capable of doing their work, they would be a distraction in the office and could potentially get other employees sick as well. With remote capabilities, that employee could stay home and work from there, remaining productive as they recover and avoiding the risk of infecting their coworkers.
Of course, the ability to work remotely also allows an employee on the road to remain productive, and can serve as an invaluable part of a business continuity strategy. For our purposes today, however, the employee working from home provides the best example.
Despite the benefits to maintaining productivity and avoiding an internal health crisis, there are considerable shortcomings to take into account when discussing a remote work policy. For example, the equipment that your employee has on hand.
Returning to your hypothetical employee who has fallen under the weather, let’s say for a moment that they have an important presentation coming up that could foreseeably bring the company some considerable revenue. What would happen if, after spending their entire week at home working on this presentation, their home computer died and the file was lost? There goes a week of productivity, which you’ll still have to pay the employee for, plus the business that would have been brought in by the presentation.
In fact, you could potentially lose business by not following through on a promise to your prospects.
There is also always the chance that they could have their personal system hacked, and your business files could be stolen that way, if you didn’t have the right processes in place. Your data is one of your company’s most valuable resources, so you can’t risk it being breached while it’s accessed on a computer not protected by your network security.
There are countless other scenarios that could happen between the employee working from home and the results of that work making it back to the office. A lost USB drive, a failed email that went unnoticed, their personal computer being stolen – any of these situations could result in necessary data not being where it needs to be.
Keeping Your Data Intact
You have to be sure that your data isn’t being exposed to unnecessary risks, while still allowing your employees to be productive while working remotely. The thing is, without some assistance from your IT solutions, their home computers just aren’t going to be secure enough – and that’s before the risks inherent in transporting data back and forth between the office and their home is taken into account.
Fortunately, there are solutions that you can leverage that will allow your employees the ability to safely and securely access and work on company documents from home, without the fear of data loss or compromise.
You need to ensure that your company is leveraging the tools available to us today, from cloud computing to virtual private networks. Cloud services, like Google Drive or Dropbox, allow your employees to access their work documents from anywhere, and a VPN allows them to securely access your company network remotely by creating an encrypted tunnel to transmit data between their personal devices and your network.