Once the pandemic started, most companies swiftly switched to working from home. At first, it was extremely uncomfortable for many people as they don’t have a decent home office, and family members trying to interrupt the workflow weren’t really helping, too. But we’ve adjusted, found our ways to comfortable and productive workdays at home, and lately, it was fine for most people.
Now as businesses massively get back to working from offices, it’s evident that a lot of employees are not very excited about the idea of getting back to their workplace. They’d rather keep working from their homes. And employers don’t seem to get upset by this — remote workers are way cheaper than ones that work in the office. A company doesn’t need to pay for the electricity or water they spend, snacks, and other benefits offices usually offer.
But while both sides get their benefits, both suffer from pitfalls, too. In this article, we will go through all the pros and cons of remote work and take a look at cybersecurity challenges and solutions to them.
Pros and cons of remote work
The pros for an employee are quite evident. First of all, you most likely will be able to set up your own work schedule. No more getting up at 6 am if you’re a night owl. No more sitting in the office until 6 pm even if you got all the work done three hours ago. Got tired? Take a walk or a nap. Hungry? Just eat — no one will tell you that you’re eating into your work time. No need for dressing up, commuting to the office and back home, interacting face-to-face with your coworkers. If these benefits sound appealing to you, it means you were made to work from home without the restrictions of offices.
But there are cons to these benefits, too. The lack of need to dress up and have a schedule will most likely result in you getting so disorganized and lazy that you will have a hard time actually getting the work done. So the best advice would be to establish some kind of routine and schedule that will be comfortable for you and let you stay productive. If you succeed at that, working from home will be a breeze for both you and your employer.
It’s best if you create your home office — a dedicated room or at least a zone that will help you get right into the productive mindset once you enter the “office”. It might sound counterintuitive since by moving your work from the actual office to home you want to escape the standard approach to the workplace. But first of all, you can create a workspace you like. And you still need a place where you can comfortably work without harming your health and productivity.
Employers are grateful for remote workers for financial reasons. Out-of-office employees mean that there are fewer expenses overall — no need for a bigger office, smaller electricity and water bills, fewer spendings on food and snacks, computers, furniture, and other stuff. But it is much harder to control the activity of employees when they’re not sitting in the office. Especially, if the management did a poor job. There are numerous ways to efficiently control the work of remote employees without interfering with their privacy. And if a company seems to fail at managing the remote team, the lack of motivation might be the reason. In this case, a business should look into this issue instead of blaming an employee.
Cybersecurity issues of remote work
For an employee, not having someone hanging over the shoulder is a great thing. But not having this nuisance also mean that you don’t have that handy IT guy who makes sure your computer is secure and the corporate data you’re working with is protected. Some companies do walk the extra mile by either setting up personal computers of remote workers in a safe way or providing them with a corporate computer that’s already secure they can take home. If this is not the case for your employer, you should take care of your protection by yourself.
The good news is that it’s not a hard task to perform. You need to take the following steps:
- Update your operating system and all the programs. Keep them updated all the time. Outdated software is full of vulnerabilities that are known to hackers. And by skipping the updates that patch those vulnerabilities, you expose yourself to possible cyber threats. That’s why it’s vital to update your software.
- Have a good antivirus running. Many popular antivirus providers offer quite a good free option for personal devices. Most likely, a free antivirus will protect you from all the threats without offering extra features that come with a paid subscription. So there is no reason for you to not protect your device from malware with an antivirus,
- Use a VPN app. A VPN reroutes your connection to a VPN server thus covering your IP address. This makes it virtually impossible for hackers to intercept your connection and the data you’re transferring or receiving since you will be anonymous. A free iNinja VPN app will reliably protect you from prying eyes at no cost while not cutting your connection speed.
- Set up a reliable password for your router. Make sure your home WiFi is protected with a strong combination of numbers and letters.
- Use reliable passwords for all accounts. They should be strong and diverse. You can use a password manager that will remember all combinations for you keeping them protected.
Employers should also take care of the protection of their remoter workers’ devices because a data leak costs a lot of money and effort and can harm the reputation of the company. So it’s necessary to provide remote employees with either all the software they need (an antivirus, a VPN app) and help them learn how to protect corporate data or provide them with corporate computers that are reliably protected and controlled by the company’s IT team.
It’s not that hard to protect the data from cybercriminals. Yet, most employers and employees ignore the need for cyber protection suffering from consequences later. Don’t follow their example. Protect yourself and your corporate data to avoid any issues.