The Covid-19 pandemic has changed the daily habits of millions of people, and working routines are no exception. With millions of people suddenly switching to working from home full time, we’re witnessing a seismic shift in how people work.
Companies have had to set up their employees to ensure the work continues uninterrupted. However, this comes with new challenges: an increase in cybersecurity risks, and ensuring mental wellness and motivation especially for those doing lockdown alone.
Under normal circumstances, getting cybersecurity right can be challenging for many businesses and their employees. In the current work-from-home world, however, managing the myriad cyber risks can be daunting as employees may momentarily drop their guard or download tools promising to make the home office more productive.
Consider these five tips from ESET to reduce your cybersecurity risk:
- Beef up your logins. This is essential for everyone on the team. Basic passwords like “1234” and “abcd” will not secure your work. Many sites recommend a combination of upper and lowercase along with a few numbers for good reason, those passwords are harder to guess. If you’re not sure if you’re on the right track, reach out to your IT security team for guidance.
- Implement full-disk encryption. This will avoid data loss should a laptop be stolen or lost by restricting access. ESET also offers ESET Endpoint Encryption and ESET Secure Authentication to protect confidential work.
- Accessing the company’s internal network from home should ideally be from a company owned device only that is set up accordingly – VPN encryption is important, too.
- Keep company info on company devices: Think twice before using external storage devices.
- Employees should audit their own IoT devices like smartphones and tablets – showing your employees how to do this as they work remotely will enable them to check that their devices are secure. A cloud-based dashboard that provides oversight of different devices on a network will simplify the work being done by your IT security team as everyone works from home. ESET’s easy-to-use Cloud Administrator product can support those wandering Windows and OS X/macOS laptops. Also make sure any mobile devices have a mobile security app installed.
Now let’s look at employee wellness. The big challenge for businesses is ensuring their employees remain productive, motivated and engaged.
Creating the right environment for those who may be first-time remote workers is extremely important for the employees’ welfare and company productivity. Consider the following tips:
- Where possible, encourage people to stick to their work routine and create an ad hoc office space. Try to sit at a table or desk in a regular chair in one area of the house, and start and end work at a set time.
- Agree on a single communication platform outside of the normal e-mail system, a platform that is less formal and provides a more casual communication style – for example, Slack, Zoom, Skype or one of the many other communications or chat platforms that are available.
- Start the day with a team check-in on one of these platforms and take 15 minutes to communicate the day’s agenda with everyone to ensure they have the necessary information and resources to achieve the expected results. This also has the benefit of giving everyone a schedule of when to start their day.
- Keep the communication flowing, watch out for your friends at work and note if they are not participating and reach out to them. Consider scheduling an online lunch to catch up and check in on everyone.
- Don’t micromanage, focus on the bigger picture of the end result, and avoid babysitting or being overbearing. As employees adapt to the new working arrangement, productivity may suffer – but with the right leadership and guidance, the reality is that productivity will most likely increase due to fewer distractions.
With the right security measures in place, keeping a routine and communicating with colleagues, working from home can be as productive and beneficial as being in an office.
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