Remote Working: The Good, The Bad And The Hybrid

The current pandemic has brought on a large workforce experiment. With more than twelve months of experience under our belts, we are forming a clearer picture of what the future of the workforce might look like — and this will, at least partially, mean — remote working. So, here we looked at some of the research to learn both the good and the bad.

Remote employees might be more engaged…

Research suggests that engagement increases when employees spend some of their time working remotely. To be specific, the optimal engagement boost occurs when three to four of the working days are spent off-site. And this is not a feel-good situation for employees only, but for the companies too: well-engaged employees are more productive.  

but they still feel more cyber-secure at the office.  

How many work video meetings have you had recently? Whatever the number is, the real answer is probably “too many”. A recent survey found that  more than half of employees report having discussed sensitive information on work video calls, and every tenth employee has had their call hacked while working remotely. Consequently, many employees feel less cyber-secure while working from home. And while managers state that they educated their employees on potential Covid-19 scams, the majority of the employees say otherwise.

Employees trust their remote work ability…

On the bright side, employees — especially the millennials  — are generally very confident in being able to do their job efficiently if they are required to work remotely indefinitely. Every second employee says they are equally (or more!) productive working from home.  But it’s not just millennials who enjoy remote working, 71% of employed parents with younger children say they feel confident to do their jobs remotely too..

but there are still numerous  distractions.

But this is not to say that those parents aren’t challenged — almost a third say that the difficulty of balancing childcare and work is concerning them. Just how much work and personal life have  blended is apparent from one simple truth: trying to concentrate on  work  while swinging your baby to sleep or teaching  your puppy a new trick. It is harder to concentrate on work when you can simply enter a wiki rabbit hole or watch an episode of your favourite  TV show. Unfortunately, distractions do not magically vanish even during the video calls: a distracting background noise from you or your colleague is the most common meeting challenge of the times.

Remote work makes a company more attractive…

Top companies know that it is their employees who drive the company’s business success. So, being able to attract and retain the world’s best talent is what makes you competitive in today’s business world. And in order to be more attractive to the world’s best talent, companies might want to consider offering flexible work arrangements, even post pandemic. More than a third of workers say they would change job if it offered the ability to choose where to work from. While remote work does allow companies to widen their talent search, it is still not always a plausible solution for many.

but the hybrid model might not be the way either.

For example, when the cloud giant Dropbox reviewed the best strategies for its own people, they conducted detailed research into remote working models. They discovered the challenges of hybrid working, such as  inclusion, promotion, career growth, and more. This led  Dropbox to develop a model called “Virtual First”. Virtual First means that for all employees, remote working is the default for tasks they complete solo. However, the company’s physical workspaces will be reserved for collaboration, learning, and development. Virtual First preserves the perks of remote working but also recognizes its limits.

Whichever direction each organisation chooses, CISOs may need to revisit security policies and technologies to ensure that there are no security blindspots. After all, facilitating remote and flexible working will only be a success in the long term if networks and data remain safe under all circumstances. A proactive approach, which prevents future file-based attacks without sacrificing productivity, offers a win-win for everyone – no matter where they are based.

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