Rearranging layouts, installing protective screens, arranging for deep cleans…. there is certainly plenty to think about for those businesses which are contemplating a return to work. Whilst some businesses have remained open throughout the crisis, others have had no option but to shut down. Now as lockdown is gradually starting to ease, all businesses face the challenge of optimising workflow whilst ensuring the ongoing safety of employees, customers and others.
For some businesses, particularly those which had instigated home working as a means of remaining open over the last few months, the solution may well be to continue to encourage employees to work from their homes as far as possible. It’s a proposal which might gain favour with the workforce.
Certainly a survey released towards the beginning of May revealed that 57% of those working from home would be happy to continue to do so for at least a further month, whilst 60% acknowledged that they would like to undertake more work from home in the future than they had previously. Moreover 84% of those surveyed said it was important or very important for employers to offer a homeworking option.
The success or otherwise of homeworking will of course depend on a number of factors. These include the nature of the work to be undertaken, good communication links, and whether employees are able to set up a secure and safe working space. It’s one thing to crisis manage, perhaps using an ironing board or a bed as a workstation, quite another to contemplate such working conditions over the long-term. Nevertheless, the ability of businesses to actively manage their communication links, perhaps by diverting calls to home phones or running regular teleconferences has certainly helped to maintain workflow in difficult circumstances.
Whether home or office working, it is important not to let the need for creating physically safe working environments outweigh other aspects of business security. For example, as some measures start to ease, now is the time for companies and their employees not to let their guard down when it comes to telephone security. That call that arrived from a number that you thought you recognised, that request just to check a piece of information, that answerphone message asking for instant action: all could be from scammers looking for a way into the organisation.
So whilst the work required to create physically safe spaces for employees may be taking up much of your time, it could well pay to take some time out to work on telephone security. Look at practical areas such as ensuring that dial in passwords are not set to a default 123 or that calls to premium numbers or overseas are restricted. But also look at providing refresher training to your people on safe telephone techniques such as how to recognise phishing calls, the importance of checking before divulging information, and why giving your full attention to a call is key to ensuring that you don’t accidentally break security protocols.
We are just taking the first cautious steps out of lockdown. Making sure that safety is at the heart of what we do now could contribute not only to taking those first steps securely but also to delivering an ongoing culture of safety which will stand businesses in good stead as they rebuild for future success.