A New Employment Landscape
Let’s face it; COVID-19 has permanently changed the world that we live in and how we work.
One of the most significant impacts has been a restructuring of the traditional “office.” In Findstack’s “The Ultimate List of Remote Work Statistics for 2022” (Feb. 3, 2022), Jack Steward notes that during the pandemic, just under 60% of the US workforce worked remotely (NorthOne) and that 16% of companies are now 100% remote (Owl Labs).
Steward’s data suggests that COVID-19 isn’t all to blame. Younger generations have different work preferences. The uptick in remote work began as early as 2017, and 69% of millennials polled in a CBRE study said they would prefer a remote work option to other more traditional benefits.
Whatever the cause, governments are taking action. Globally, legislation is being passed to protect remote workers. In Ireland, a European tech hub, legislation has been introduced that will require employers to have a formal remote work policy. While other countries, including Argentina, Belgium, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Portugal, Russia, Spain, and Turkey, have already made temporary COVID-19 measures related to remote work permanent.
Remote work isn’t just a trend - it’s the future. In an Upwork survey cited by Steward, managers predicted that by 2028 73% of all departments will have remote workers. For businesses, waiting isn’t an option. They must prepare for the remote work reality now.
Why Employees Want to Work Remotely
Some companies are pushing for a full return to in-person attendance at the office but are meeting fierce resistance from employees. In Findstack’s list of remote work statistics, the number one reason people gave for wanting to work remotely was “work-life balance.” The desire is so strong that 99% of people surveyed by Buffer said that if given a choice, they would choose to work remotely in some capacity for the rest of their lives.
There are many reasons why employees are drawn to remote work. In his Forbes article “These Will Be Fast-Growing Trends in 2022” (Dec. 19, 2021), Jack Kelly highlights that employees are drawn to remote work because it enables them to choose where they live and when they work. This flexibility is attractive to parents, digital nomads, and others that require it. In general, workers are now more willing to try new careers that fit their lifestyle rather than fit their lifestyle around a career.
There’s a financial component as well. According to Findstack, working remotely can save the average worker $7,000 per year on transportation, food, and childcare. In contrast, they are earning $4,000 more than their in-office colleagues. A net difference of $11,000!
Better work-life balance, career flexibility, and strong financial incentives are powerful forces for employers to fight against. So don’t fight against remote work; embrace it.
Why Businesses Should Embrace Remote Work
Companies that embrace remote work can reap significant rewards beyond making their employees happier. A recent study by Stanford suggests remote workers earn $2,000 more in profit for companies than their in-office colleagues due to their increased productivity and minutes worked.
Employees are and will continue to be on the move. Brian Kropp and Emily Rose McRae, in their Harvard Business Review article “11 Trends that Will Shape Work in 2022 and Beyond” (Jan. 13, 2022), suggest that employee turnover will continue to rise. New attitudes and expectations about work and careers, coupled with less social pressure to stay, mean more employees are reentering the job market. With many employers offering remote options, it is becoming more difficult for businesses to hold onto their high-end talent. This is why, in an IWG study cited by Steward, 64% of recruiters said that being able to pitch a work-from-home policy helps them find high-quality talent.
Employees are looking for flexibility. Businesses prepared to offer remote work options stand to gain valuable talent in this new market. Those that don’t will lose out.
What Risks Does Remote Work Present
There are many benefits to remote work, but every opportunity comes with risks. Employers are wary of turning the dial completely, and for good reasons. Beyond logistical considerations, remote work can make a business more vulnerable to cyberattacks and negatively impact productivity.
Remote Work Can Be Less Secure
Having workers work remotely opens businesses of all sizes to certain security risks. It is far easier to protect sensitive data when employees are in the office using an employer-issued device on their employer’s server.
In her blog article “Most Common Remote Work Security Risks in 2021” (July 22, 2021) for Heimdal Security, Biana Soare lists several significant risks, including the increased use of unsafe Wi-Fi networks, the use of personal devices for work, and unencrypted file sharing.
One area of particular concern, according to Soare, is passwords. Weak passwords, frequently used passwords, and repeat passwords make even secure environments vulnerable. At the same time, their use in unsecure environments can be catastrophic.
This is why, in a survey by OpenVPN, 54% of IT professionals considered remote workers a greater security risk than traditional workers.
Remote Work Can Impact Workflow
Remote workers face several new hurdles to do their jobs. Many have to navigate time zones and find accessing the tools and information they need challenging. Findstack’s list of remote work statistics states that 17% of workers cited “the lack of communication and collaboration” as the most significant challenge associated with remote work.
Employees in the modern workplace can’t just meet at the water cooler or drop into an office when they need an answer to a question or access to information. While modern means of communication are convenient, delays waiting for a response can negatively impact productivity.
How Businesses Can Prepare for Remote Work
Businesses that want to take advantage of this new reality need to develop remote work policies that foster a creative and flexible work environment, establish robust cybersecurity protocols, and provide their employees with the resources they need to succeed.
Businesses need to maintain regular contact with their employees and set aside time for teammates to interact unrelated to work. Employers should also encourage employees to work set hours and schedule their time to prevent overworking and employee burnout.
Businesses should train their employees on proper cybersecurity measures to address cybersecurity concerns. And, if possible, provide remote workers with company-owned devices pre-installed with cybersecurity software.
Businesses should also insist that all workers use a companywide password manager to improve security and productivity. Password managers encrypt user passwords and store them in one place, eliminating the need for vulnerable spreadsheets or unsafe sharing practices. Multi-factor authentication and secure single-sign-on (SSO) further enhance login security. The latter allows IT admins to adjust permissions to control access.
Tools and Information
Finally, it is the responsibility of employers to make sure that their remote workers have access to the tools and information that they need to do their job. In her Forbes article “5 Common Problems Plaguing Remote Workers And What to do About Them,” Alina Clark recommends that employers invest in and maintain a collection of software tools for employees that can be accessed remotely.
TeamPassword Makes Remote Work Simple and Secure
TeamPassword is a password manager perfectly suited for remote work. The TeamPassword platform allows users to create both private and shared logins that are locally encrypted and host-proof. Once created, logins can easily be shared on teams or with the entire organization.
Unlike a spreadsheet or localized databases, TeamPassword is accessible from any device. Employees can access TeamPassword from mobile, regardless of their operating system, desktop app, or browser extensions. In seconds, users can log in and access the passwords they need - when they need them. This ease-of-access means team members stay in the flow without unnecessary interruption.
Employees can access the tools they need, when they need them, while keeping your business safe. TeamPassword’s all-inclusive plans come fully equipped with a robust password generator, 2-step verification, and Google SSO. These security screens, our frequent vulnerability sweeps and backend fraud detection protect your business no matter where your employees are working.
TeamPassword’s blend of accessibility and security makes it the most remote work-friendly password manager on the market. Don’t believe me? Try it for yourself for for 14-days - free!.
Remote Work Is Here to Stay
Waiting for remote work to go away isn’t just ill-advised; it would be downright foolhardy. The research is clear; remote work is here to stay. Prepare for the future of your business and begin developing a remote work plan today. And remember, there are tools out there, like TeamPassword, that can help.