Friday, October 9, 2015

3 Risks of a Remote Workforce

(This article originally appeared on my LinkedIn profile.)
Newsflash!! Remote work is no longer an employee benefit, many see it as a requirement to even consider working for you. I've been fortunate for years now to work in a field where my presence is not always required in the office. In many cases I actually have to work remotely, from airports, hotels, or a vendor's crammed conference room. It's rare that my entire team is ever in the office at the same time.

But what risks come along with a remote workforce? Consider these 3 risks if you're considering a remote work policy.
1. ProductivityLess control of your employee's daily tasks and schedules can lead to missed deadlines and increased cost if it takes your employees longer to do their work. Also, your management team must be equipped and skilled in managing a dispersed group of individuals. Self-motivated employees make this model much easier, but some people work better in a more structured environment and some may not want to work from home, for whatever reason. Consider other benefits for those who choose not to work remotely or are unable to.
2. Information TechnologyRisk in this area largely depends on the size and tech savvy of your workforce. Younger workforce members primarily use mobile devices for personal use, (e.g. laptops, tablets, etc.) and will easily adapt their workflows to that model if allowed. Remote technical support can be challenging and costly. Plan accordingly to avoid down time and frustration. Don't forgot about those employees who can't support the technology at home. Some may live in remote areas with unreliable internet activity, or maybe they don't have internet access from home at all. Also broken/damaged equipment can lead to additional costs. A coworker once brought a laptop in with a cracked screen, with her dog's paw print clearly visible.
3. Information Security/Risk ManagementIn addition to implementing adequate security controls for transmitting, storing, and backing up sensitive company information, you need to consider risks such as lost/stolen equipment. The nature of your business may require you to limit remote capabilities in order to adequately protect your data.  And on one trip I took TSA actually switched my laptop with another travelerMore on that here.
Note: The image above was actually a commute to work. I wouldn't mind that assignment again.

- Dragon's Lair Security |
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