Stay-At-Home Jobs Taking Reigns of COVID-19 as Work Culture Challenges Mobility Head-On

Working from home has become a hot topic as the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, causes destruction to worldwide public health and the global economy. However, stay-at-home jobs are not a new concept. In fact, their prevalence has been increasing steadily throughout the 21st century—which has allowed us to maintain some level of normalcy and save a significant number of jobs during this global pandemic.

Why Are “Stay at Home Jobs” Appealing?


In the last decade, remote work has increased by 91 percent—a staggering number. However, it’s not surprising when you consider the benefits both employers and employees enjoy with the creation of a virtual workforce.


Employers


If you’re on the fence about hiring a remote team, consider these benefits:


Reduced Turnover

Employers who offer stay at home jobs to their employees enjoy reduced turnover, which equates in a cost-savings and a moral boost. In fact, a national survey found that 73 percent of workers who complete their work at home reported higher job satisfaction.


Increased Productivity

Various studies report that remote workers are more productive than in-office workers. They are also more willing to go the extra mile in exchange for the ability to work from wherever they please. In fact, one study found that 53 percent of remote workers were willing to work overtime, compared to 28 percent of in-office employees.


Reduced Overhead

Offering work from home options to employees decreases a company’s overhead significantly. According to one study, if 50 percent of the U.S. workforce worked from home just half of the time, businesses would save $770 billion per year between overhead costs, increased productivity of employees, reduced absenteeism, and turnover.

Access to Top Talent

When businesses hire in-office workers, they are limited to the residents within a specific geographical area—or those who are willing to relocate to that area. However, virtual workers can live anywhere in the world, allowing businesses to choose from a much larger talent pool.


Employees


The following are the most common reasons why workers accept jobs working from home:


Flexible Hours

Many employees do not perform their best between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Some enjoy working early in the morning, and then like to enjoy free afternoons. And others are night owls, who work best when most people are asleep.


Quiet Atmosphere

Offices full of people are filled with distractions. Many employees enjoy the quiet found in their own homes, where they can concentrate more easily and work more efficiently.


Achieving a Work-Life Balance

For Millennials, achieving a work-life balance is a top priority and has a significant impact on job satisfaction. Parents value the ability to be there for their kids before and after school, and those with and without young children enjoy the flexibility of fitting their work into the life they want to live.


Increased Efficiency and Focus

As we mentioned above, studies show that remote workers tend to be more productive than their in-office counterparts. This can be attributed to their increased efficiency and focus—compliments of working how they want, when they want, and where they want.


Remote Working Trends


Technology is a driving force in remote work.

The advent of technology such as smart phones, instant messaging, video conferencing, in-home wireless networks and high-powered mobile computers has made it possible for businesses to not only function, but thrive, with completely remote teams. This has allowed for a shift in norms and expectations for the workforce.


Remote work attracts and retains talent.

  • 80% of U.S. workers said that they would turn down a job that does not offer flexible working options.
  • More than 1/3 of U.S. workers said that flexible working arrangements are more important than holding a more prestigious job.
  • In one survey, more than 75% of respondents said that flexible working arrangements was the most effective non-monetary way to retain employees.
  • 90% of employees said that flexible working options would increase morale, which correlates to retention.


Remote workers enjoy higher pay.

On average, remote workers make $4,000 more per year than in-office workers. Additionally, remote workers save money on costs associated with commuting and working in an office—such as apparel, meals, gas, vehicle maintenance, and more.


The aforementioned factors have motivated both employers and employees to opt for more remote work, however, this move comes with another benefit as well—protection from unpredictable circumstances such as the COVID-19 pandemic.


How COVID-19 Has Accelerated the Trendline


The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted businesses all over the world in the worst way. It has forced us to restructure every aspect of how we live, and may, in fact, turn out to be the most significant catalyst for business transformation ever.


The future of work requires restructured workplaces, redefined roles, rapid learning, and reserves of trust—organizations are being challenged to do all that and more as they address this pandemic. In order to keep their heads above water, businesses must employ a perfect transformation in leadership, culture and technology.


Leadership

As shelter-in-place orders swept the world, corporate offices cleared out and the workforce turned to virtual tools to conduct their day-to-day operations. This created a new challenge for business leaders, who were tasked with quickly learning how to manage from afar and trust their teams to do the right thing.


Culture

A company’s culture is an essential piece of the survival puzzle during this pandemic as the world embraces a newfound commitment to humanity. Often, this comes at the expense of efficient production. For example, distilleries are making hand sanitizer, vehicle manufacturers are building ventilators, and clothing designers are sewing face masks. Public perception is even more important than the bottom line than ever before.

Technology

In order to emerge triumphant from this global pandemic, businesses must utilize technology to virtualize. Some have literally transformed overnight, while others will struggle with data processing policies, access to reliable highspeed internet, network security, and more.


Challenges to Expect When Employing a Mobile Workforce


In order to reap the benefits of sustaining a remote workforce, you need to prepare for the challenges and threats that may endanger your business when your employees work from home. These challenges and threats include:


Email Scams

Email scams are a threat when your team works together under one roof. However, the novelty of working from home offers scammers with new opportunities to trick your employees into releasing sensitive information. It’s important to remind your employees to use common sense and to verify the legitimacy of all requests for information.


Weakened Security Controls

Those who hold stay at home jobs are not protected by a sophisticated office network that includes an internet proxy, a next-generation firewall (NGFW), a network access control (NAC) and an intrusion detection system (IDS).


Attacks on Remote-Working Infrastructure

Creating a new infrastructure for remote workers comes with a slew of new risks. Distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) protection will become even more essential to prevent attacks that could prohibit remote workers from accessing the company network over the internet.


Errors and Creative Solutions

Creative solutions for working virtually may turn into costly errors, especially when you and your employees are first learning how to work from home. Jumping on a Zoom call to discuss the company’s intellectual property sounds harmless enough—until you get “Zoombombed.”


Malicious Insiders and Housemates

Unfortunately, the threat of malicious company insiders does not go away when your team works from home. And on top of that threat, you also need to consider the potential threat from your employee’s housemates and guests. Data can easily be transferred from a company device to a personal USB or drive; and members of your employees’ households, visitors, and contractors can easily eavesdrop on confidential conversations or see the company’s intellectual property displayed on desks or screens. It is essential to put in place procedures to safeguard your business from this risk and then educate employees on those procedures.


This is why it is in the best interest of your company to have a security partner who can assist you with the unique needs that come hand-in-hand with building a remote workforce.


Why You Should Use Alexant


Alexant is your trusted and reliable partner for building a mobile workforce. Utilizing our vast experience and both commercial and open source tools, we offer network security assessments (Vulnerability Assessments and Penetration Testing) that will evaluate the status of your system from multiple points of view to ensure that your business remains protected. We also offer managed security services that includes full support and management of all security elements, including desktop clients, servers, firewalls, policy development, implementation, and management. Build your secure remote workforce with Alexant today.

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