Remote work arrangements are fast becoming a ‘new normal’ embraced by both employers and employees. While employees enjoy increased flexibility and less time commuting, employers can save money on office space and widen their talent pools.
However, employers should ensure that their workplace policies consider certain aspects of remote work. These include security, work classifications, hours, wages, safety, posting of required notices and more.
We’ll begin by looking at some of the privacy and security issues associated with an employee working at home.
The growth of remote work since early 2020 has created “digital sprawl,” according to a recent article by Cybersecurity Dive. Managing security becomes challenging when workers log in to company systems from remote locations and use an array of devices and networks that an employer’s central authority can’t control.
Employers should determine if employees’ wireless Internet connections, files and equipment are safe from unauthorized persons. The employer’s information technology (IT) department should ensure that malware and a third-party virtual private network (VPN) protect employee devices.
In addition, employers should require that all computer and mobile devices are password-protected and that the passwords are changed regularly.
Employees may have access to a wide range of sensitive, confidential and proprietary company information that is exchanged over wireless networks. These exchanges can expose a company to unwanted vulnerability. Employers should remind remote employees of their obligations to protect that information and the rules surrounding confidentiality and acceptable transmission of sensitive data.
It’s a good idea to provide regular training on the latest cybersecurity threats, such as phishing, ransomware and other scams. The employer’s IT team should identify vulnerabilities and points of entry into company systems and educate employees on how to avoid falling prey to cyber-attacks.
In future articles, we’ll look at other important legal considerations for remote work.