The disruption caused by Covid-19 has created a massive shift in priorities for almost everybody in the world. Government of most countries have shut down their borders to prevent new cases and to curtail the spread of the virus in their respective countries. Most businesses across all industries find themselves suddenly trying to maintain business continuity having to adapt to a home-based workforce, repositioning infrastructure and service, re-alignment of business models to continue operating. This new development introduces fresh concerns due to the influx of personal computers and remote user’s endpoints into the organisation’s network. Most organisations did not have ample opportunity to vet such personal computers before connecting them to their infrastructure, therefore, exposing their IT Infrastructure to significant risks and vulnerabilities.
The pandemic has made most organisations trade-off IT Security to the continuity of business due to the rapid way covid-19 invaded the business space. This trade-off gave hackers and cybercriminals a full day.
The world could not have been more prepared for this pandemic, over the years, we have seen tremendous improvement in technological advancement especially collaborative ways of working through cloud-computing, video-conferencing, high-speed internet connectivity, software as a service, high-earned laptops and smartphones. All these technological innovations are already being put to use by many businesses all over the world allowing workers to simply continue doing their jobs from wherever they are and providing a means for teams to collaborate and work together actively.
For businesses that were unsure on when and how to embrace some of these technology innovations, Covid-19 helped expedite their decision making; switching to remote working model was a no brainer for such companies to remain in business.
Businesses that have to activate a remote working model due to the global pandemic will inevitably be characterized by degrees of chaos. This is because of the fluid nature of both the dynamics of the disruption and the variety of security and risk implications that have arisen, i.e. fast-moving measures taken to sustain the business and safety of their staff.
Organisations need to make some security trade-offs to keep businesses up and running and keep employees productive. Social Distancing (SD), Employee Workforce Schedule (EWS) and Work for Home (WFH) model are some of the strategies organisation are putting in place to ensure the lives of their employees are protected. Business can continue during this new normal. Some of these strategies will surely become our normal way of working even after the pandemic.
Governments and regulators from different countries are formulating guidelines to enforce the social distancing directives by the World Health Organization (WHO). Most countries and State Governors are relaxing the lockdown to open their economy and boost business activities; several framework/policies are being developed to ensure strict adherence to the social distancing directives.
It is highly paramount for HR Practitioners to develop a functional remote working framework that will ensure organisations realise considerable benefits from employees who will be working remotely from home. Also, there is the need to put proper guidelines in place for effective employee utilisation and benefit realisation to the business.
Every organisation needs to come up with an effective Remote Working Policy to ensure employee productivity irrespective of their locations in rendering their services since everyone cannot all be in the office at the same time. Human Resources (HR) Practitioners will have to revise the existing remote working policy (if any) or come up with an ad-hoc remote working framework for those organisation that did not have any of such policy in place.
Staff Wellbeing & Emotional Stability
Employees should not see remote working as a deserved holiday where they are opportune to spend their time as they wish. There is a need to exhibit a high level of professionalism during this period because this is the new way of working. We will have to brace up and adapt to the new change Covid-19 brought. These past few weeks have shown many businesses that remote working is possible and cost-efficient. The future will surely see more businesses embracing remote working as an effective and viable business model.
Organisations need to build governance around the remote working model to ensure compliance of staff members. Regular virtual meetings must be encouraged by several sub-groups /teams to ensure adherence to the remote working policy. A well thought out governance process needs to be put in place to monitor the performance and output of personnel while enterprise-wide virtual meetings can be scheduled once a week or bi-weekly to feel the pulse of employees.
Divisional Heads / Team Leads must hold regular virtual meetings with their respective team members to entrust confidence and convey management support to all employees who will inevitably build trust among the entire workforce during this trying period. Constant communication with employees will surely keep all staff members focused, empowered, motivated, accountable, confident and encourage job security.
Staff Managers or Team leads should schedule one-on-one calls with each of their team members, enabling them to express their needs, feelings and concerns. Also, they need to be sensitive to people’s emotional stability and support. The Management must have a contingency process in place to manage expenses, reimbursements or cash advances, unexpected or emergency expenses that may arise.
At pcl. we support organisations to develop and implement business continuity initiatives, remote working infrastructure and security for sustainable operations.