Remote working was once viewed by many as something that only a few lucky people got to enjoy. Companies that offered the option to work from home were few and far between and most remote workers were self-employed or freelance. However, over the past year, all of that has changed. Working from home has become the new normal and employees in the vast majority of industries have been thrust into work-from-home situations that many did not envision or even want. And while most of us have managed to settle into the new situation and make the most of it, working from home has created a new set of challenges for employees and their employers.
One of the biggest concerns surrounding remote working at the beginning of the pandemic was the security implications that this would have for businesses. While working from home, employees may need to access sensitive business data over home Wi-Fi networks that are simply neither as strong nor secure as those in the office. Additionally, as the pandemic took hold, there was a significant increase in phishing attacks designed to dupe unsuspecting remote employees into giving away sensitive data under the belief that they were speaking to a trusted senior-level employee or partner company. To make things work in terms of security, companies have had to step up employee training in this area and many are working with reputable managed IT services to put tighter security measures in place.
Working together as a team might be something that comes naturally to many people while they are at the office, but being at home without any contact with teammates can be a whole different story. Working on group projects has been challenging for many employees over the past year without the option of being able to talk it through in-person with their teammates as and when needed. As a result, companies and their employees have relied more heavily than ever before on the use of cloud-based video calling and collaboration tools to ensure that workflow is streamlined and communication between teammates is easy.
Adapting to the New Work Environment
Working from home is certainly not for everybody. While there is definitely a fair share of employees who love being able to pick up their work on their couch or from their private home office, there's an equal amount of employees who prefer going out and getting into the office to get into the right mindset for work. Even when you are used to working from home, it can be a very distracting environment, particularly during the lockdown periods where there are likely to be other adults working at home at the same time, or kids doing online school work. For many newly remote workers this year, one of the biggest challenges has been finding a way to drown out distractions and keep themselves in a good work routine when they aren't leaving the house.
Have you been working remotely over the past year as a result of COVID-19? What has been the most challenging aspect of it for you?