EDITOR’S NOTE: This article has been updated to reflect changes to remote work in 2020.
The evolution of technology has brought about one of the most popular trends in the workplace: remote work or simply calling it WFH (work from home). Given the benefits, many employees are thrilled to seize this opportunity, but not all of them know how to manage their schedule or how to be productive.
Also, when an employee transitions to remote work, he or she must acknowledge all the risks implied. Here we’ll cover ways to work remotely in a secure and productive manner.
Remote work grows in popularity at home, abroad
Remote work is growing at an unstoppable rate right now. The phenomenon was attractive to small agencies and large enterprise alike before the 2020 pandemic. But with so many working from home, there are increased risks that can affect the overall security of these companies.
Avoiding unintentional data loss
Data loss can happen for many reasons, from a failure that deletes files, to password theft, or even theft of the computer itself. The result? Someone could get hold of confidential information belonging to the company for whom you’re working. To avoid sensitive data from falling into the wrong hands, every employee should make sure they’re working from a secure small office network setup.
Be sure to have up-to-date security measures on your laptop
Your home computer should also be properly protected with business-grade endpoint antivirus, web filtering, a network firewall, device-level encryption and other preventative software. A layered approach to security may, at first glance, seem redundant, but experts stress time and again that it’s the only way to mitigate risk.
Be careful with Wireless Networks
If you work outside of your home’s secure network, beware. Public wireless networks are risky and vulnerable to malicious attacks. This is a big issue if you prefer to work anywhere where you don’t have access to a secure network. Something like this is not recommended unless the proper precautions are taken.
Accidental risks at home
Even though you are working from home using your secure WLAN and accessing through data through a VPN, other risks must be considered. Pets or children are a surprising threat, as they have a habit of pressing random keys when the computer or laptop is unattended—resulting in data loss. Read more: Setting up a VPN for a small office
The company laptop should be used only by the employee
If you are a remote employee keep in mind that your work laptop is for you only, it is not a family computer, and its sensitive data should be treated just like in an office. Things like mobile phone or tablet and your laptop are work assets and should be treated with extra care, as they grant access much easier to sensitive data. Read more: Laptop Management Checklist for Remote Workers (Infographic)
Read and follow the company policies
Every company that allows its employees to work outside should offer a clear remote work policy for accessing the company network. Those guidelines should always be followed to protect the company’s confidential information.
Quality Internet service is non-negotiable
A low-quality internet service could make a huge difference when working from home, it could mean failed deadline, missed e-mails, slow upload speeds and many other issues that should be avoided. If this is your case, then the investment in a better-quality internet service (if you have a choice) has obvious benefits.
According to a survey made on the population of the United Kingdom and Germany, it revealed that two in five people had seen or even had the knowledge of devices that were stolen or lost in cafes or other public spaces. These lost items contained information regarding the work place in 75% of the cases. So, the best solution is to not leave your work equipment without supervision, no matter the place you are.
Even though there are many risks for remote working are also a bunch of ways of keeping all the information safe. There are a lot of IT specialists that are working on software solutions to make everything secure. One step that companies do is to outsource to this kind of software programs. They usually are cloud-based applications that need, per example, two-factor authentication for you to connect through the personal or work device. Also, a VPN (virtual private network) provides the security that the information cannot be breached with harmful intent.
If you like working in your PJs and avoiding the commute, here are some other benefits of the remote job:
- Your office is going to be whatever works for you, so you can customize your perfect productive environment.
- Saving money from commuting, buying overpriced lunches, or clothes just for the office, as you can easily whip up your own lunch and coffee if you work from home.
- If you meet your deadlines, you can mostly do your work whenever it suits you.
- You become more independent because you don’t have your colleagues close. Now you must resolve things on your own. Of course, you can still ask questions and get help if you need to. But, a lot of the time, you can do a Google search or utilize the old phone and make a call.
- You are going to enjoy meetings now because video meetings are shorter than regular meetings.
Keep in mind though, you are going to be faced with a significant lack of movement. To increase your movement, take advantage of your flexibility as a remote worker. When you take a break, go for a walk around your area or work out in another room.
About the author
Kaya Johnson is a UK-based sales accountant sharing expertise about working remotely. Her other passion? FPS games: she writes the content at egaminghall.com.