Do All Your Employees Really Need to Work from Home Until January 2021?

Large businesses the world over are extending work from home operations far beyond mandatory lockdown periods. Google recently announced that all its employees would work from home until the end of the year while Facebook and Zillow said it would allow its employees to do the same if they wished. Amazon and Microsoft report they are allowing employees to work from home until at least October while Slack says it will do the same until at least September. The move begs the question: should other businesses follow suit? 

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Tristan Stewart, a Dallas IT outsourcing specialists offers the following pointers to consider that can help you determine the best course of action for your company.

What are the Advantages of Working from Home?

A growing number of businesses are discovering that leasing large offices and paying high utility bills is no longer a must to run a successful business. Allowing employees to work from home can not only help a business save large sums of money but also improve employee morale. Many people who can work remotely jump at the chance to avoid lengthy commutes to and from work. What's more, a recent study has found that employees who work from home work longer hours and are more productive than their colleagues who work in a traditional office setting.

Furthermore, companies that bring employees back to the office will need to make huge changes to adapt to the post-pandemic "new normal". Office furniture may need to be moved around or even upgraded to ensure social distancing. Business owners may need to provide hand gel, masks, alcohol wipes, and other accessories to enable employees to avoid infection. Staggered work hours could take a toll on employees who are asked to work at inconvenient times. It's also worth noting that there is a very real possibility that the state or even Federal government may declare a second lockdown if COVID-19 cases rise exponentially after the economy is reopened. Allowing workers to continue working from home whenever possible helps a business to avoid the hassle of bringing workers back only to send them home again a few months down the line.

Are There Any Disadvantages to Working from Home?

The work from home model leaves companies vulnerable to cyberattacks for several reasons. Many employees use personal devices that are less secure than business laptops. These devices may have outdated software, inadequate antivirus/antimalware protection, or use little or no password protection, much less two-factor authentication. Additionally, employees connect via a home network that isn't as secure as a company one. Companies that don't have strong endpoint security can be breached via a compromised device or connection, putting huge amounts of personal data at risk. Businesses that do opt to allow their employees to continue to work from home would need to put strict cybersecurity measures in place. Partnering with an IT managed services company that can provide proactive cybersecurity services, support, and employee training is important for any business owner who wants to avoid common yet potentially devastating cyberattacks.

Should all your employees work from home until the end of the year? There is no one right answer to the question. A lot depends on a company's needs, location, current situation, and a host of other factors. While there are many good reasons to allow employees to work from home as much as possible, there are also real risks involved. Businesses throughout the United States will need to not only assess the current situation carefully to make a wise, well-informed decision but periodically re-examine the initial decision to ensure the business is operating as safely and efficiently as possible.