With the emergence of COVID-19, businesses are urgently expanding the use of remotely working employees. Many employers now face the unique challenge of finding a way to effectively utilize employees working remotely to maintain significant business productivity. With the increasing use of mobile technology, corporate assets and confidential information could also be at risk. However, with the right resources in place, companies can successfully leverage a remote workforce to continue to thrive and potentially increase their competitive advantage. When implementing a remote workforce, there are a few considerations for employers seeking to enhance and protect their business during COVID-19.
- Review remote work data protection policies and processes, including those addressing the use of personal mobile devices for company business. Companies should train employees on appropriate use of both personal and company-owned devices, and how they can securely access and save company data. In addition, ensuring that all necessary systems and software are in place and fully up to date is critical to prevent potential breaches. Great policies and procedures also include a system for monitoring system weakness and employee compliance.
- Review your employee handbook and be sure that it addresses the issues that are specifically related to remotely working employees and complies with applicable federal and state labor laws. A well-written handbook will include guidance for calculating work time and overtime when working remotely, how employee work will be monitored and making reasonable accommodations for qualifying persons. Conducting training with employees can help ease the transition and head off questions for those who may be working from home for the first time.
- Review your risk management policies and procedures to confirm that they address the specific risks associated with remote employees, including the use and protection of company assets, the treatment of confidential information and the health and safety of employees. More than just a cybersecurity issue, your employees and your company need standards and procedures to protect your company’s most important or sensitive assets. This would also be a good time to review your insurance policies to ensure that your business is covered should a data breach occur or employee injury occur.
Businesses who can quickly and effectively adjust to this new environment will outpace those who do not, better serving their customers, cutting their expenses and attracting new customers as their competitors fail to keep up with the changes.
Consultant Jeffrey B. Miller is available to discuss your specific business needs in addressing challenges of a remote workforce during COVID-19 and how Granite GRC Consulting can provide an assessment of your current policies and procedures.