Is your business continuing to let employees work remotely full-time despite pandemic restrictions being lifted? No matter the number of employees that are going to remain remote, it’s important as a business owner or manager to understand some of the risks associated with a remote workforce. With that being said, some businesses are already ahead of the curve. Believe it or not, between 2005 and 2018, long before COVID-19’s impact on the United States, the number of remote employees had increased by 173%. Initially, this was done in order to reap the benefits, but as business owners and managers have come to find out, there is certainly a great deal of risk that comes with a fully remote workforce.
Again, this isn’t to say that there aren’t any positives as a result of remote work. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Remote employees have reported feeling more freedom as a result of remote work, in addition to reporting additional free time they would otherwise be devout of had they been forced to go into the office. The overarching benefit seen in many employees has been a positive impact on their mental health states. However, as with any business arrangement, there are bound to be some challenges.
One of the first major challenges that plagues businesses with remote employees is the difficulty of managing these employees effectively. This can be a result of managers feeling unable to connect with their employees how they previously would have in the office. Additionally, it can be harder to communicate between manager and employee while remote. Sometimes this is a result of delays in communication, or inability to collaborate between departments as easily as you could while working in the office. Perhaps the most challenging task for managers is making sure remote employees are held accountable for their work. It’s much easier to stroll over to an employee’s desk while in the office to make sure they’re remaining on task. While working remotely, it’s not as simple.
From a businesses’ perspective, there is also some additional liability that must be considered when supporting a remote staff. The most obvious way these employees must be supported is through loaned hardware. Desktops, laptops, monitors, keyboards, mice, etc., anything an employee might need at home in order to complete their responsibilities should be provided by their employer. However, what happens if this hardware is ruined while these employees are working from home? Alternatively, what if an employee’s hardware is stolen? The data breaches that could happen as a result of this are quite dangerous. If your organization is faced with such a financial or cybersecurity related risk, it’s important to consider what insurance options are best for you and your employees.
The two major insurance options for companies with these needs are first-party and third-party cyber liability insurance. First-party liability insurance is necessary for covering the damages that stem from data breaches. This can be as a result of stolen hardware or online phishing techniques tricking your employees. Alternatively, third-party liability insurance is meant to protect your organization in regards to any breach with any partners your organization may be working alongside. Ultimately, in connection with liability insurance, be sure to incorporate VPNs, firewalls, and antivirus software to protect your organization. For more information on how to balance the risks associated with remote employees, be sure to review the coupled infographic alongside this post, courtesy of B2Z Insurance.