As property costs continue to rise, many employers have turned to a cost-effective alternative: the remote employee. Unfortunately, while the benefits of employing remote workers outweigh the cons, there are some safety-related downsides to having an extensive list of remote employees on payroll. Here are a few ways you can cut down on the risks of employing remote workers and keep them—and, by proxy, yourself—out of harm’s way.
Outline Cybersecurity Protocols
Just because an employee doesn’t work in your office and on your network doesn’t mean they can’t serve as a backdoor into your company’s inner workings. Weak passwords, a tendency not to lock one’s personal devices, and unsecure Wi-Fi networks can all contribute to a remote employee’s company-related information becoming compromised, leading to a huge headache for you and a stern talking-to (or worse) for them.
The easiest way to ensure that your remote employees don’t fall victim to cyberattacks is by preparing them for such attacks up front. Your employee handbook—to which, of course, all remote employees should have access—should contain specific documentation regarding cybersecurity protocols which fit your remote workers’ circumstances, not just those of your company.
If your company can afford it, allocating office-specific devices such as laptops or workstations to your remote employees—with the caveat being that the employees must follow a set of cybersecurity guidelines while using them—may prove useful in combating poor practices. This isn’t mandatory, but your employees will probably find it easier to respect technology that belongs to you rather than their own devices.
Perhaps the best thing you can do for your remote workers’ cybersecurity is invest in a good VPN, but this is an extra step that won’t matter if your employees don’t have a firm grasp on basic concepts such as choosing secure passwords, avoiding phishing emails, and other common-sense items.
Emphasize Physical Safety
It’s no secret that texting while driving is a serious problem, so make sure your remote employees aren’t engaging in it—if for no other reason than if they are, you may end up liable for any damage they cause to themselves or others.
There’s no hard-and-fast way to prevent employees from using their phones while commuting, but you can refrain from calling or texting them at times during which you know they’re on the move. To that end, consider implementing an alert policy wherein your remote employees must let you know when they embark—and when they’re safe to talk again—during working hours. This will both help you keep track of your employees’ commuting hours and ensure that you don’t inadvertently tempt them.
If your remote workers are truck drivers, the lines are probably a bit less blurry insofar as you most likely have a set of strict guidelines pertaining to technology use while they’re on the road. If not, make sure your employees understand that you have a zero-tolerance policy for dangerous behavior that includes things like texting and driving, calling and driving, and so on.
The same general principle goes for sick days and overall physical (and mental) health. While your remote employees have the option of working with their bunny slippers and hot water bottles in full effect, treat your sick remote workers the same way you would treat your in-house staff and let them take a day (or more) to recover. This will both build trust and prevent the afflicted employee’s condition from worsening.
On many levels, remote employee safety requires the same level of diligence as on-site staff protection. Finding the right balance without intruding into your employees’ personal lives can prove difficult, so don’t hesitate to ask for support—if you have any questions about how you can establish a safe infrastructure for your remote workers, call Abacus Payroll at (856) 667-6225 today!