WFH Policies and Procedures – 3 Essential Training Gaps

Man in a work from home set up and using a laptop device showing an online meeting and discussion with his colleagues.

With more employees than ever working from home, many businesses are rapidly discovering training gaps in their WFH policies and procedures. In order to provide your employees with the best possible opportunities and resources, you need comprehensive policies that will adapt to this new normal–one that, according to many professionals, is likely to continue long after the pandemic ends. Does your WFH policy need an upgrade due to these training gaps?

1. Communication Gaps

When an employee working in the office has a question or problem, it’s easy to check-in. They need only walk down the hall to check in with a coworker or poke their head through an office door in order to ask a question of a manager. For some employees, help is only a cubicle wall away. 

Unfortunately, that changes dramatically when employees have to work from home. For some employees, it’s very difficult to get help or to communicate with other staff members. For others, it’s all too easy to communicate–and they may abuse group chat options and even over-share private information. 

Addressing the Communication Gap

To help address the communication gap, create clear standards and policies for employee communication. Remind employees that they need to keep personal information out of work chats, but make sure they know where to go when they have questions. You may also want to create regular check-in policies that will help keep you up-to-date on what your employees need. Casual check-ins can help keep the conversation going so that you have a better idea of your employees’ needs. 

2. Security Challenges

Your security provider manages your work network very effectively. You have worked hard to close security holes that could lead to data breaches or malware on your network. You may even have clear policies in the office that guide what devices employees can attach to the network.

Unfortunately, most employees don’t have the same protocols in place for their home offices and networks. They may, for example, be running their company laptops on the same network they use for their kids’ phones, their home devices, and a host of IoT devices, all of which could pose potential security holes. 

Woman in a work from home set up writing down on a notebook and using a laptop device and calculator.

Increasing Security in a Work From Home Environment

If your employees are working from home, you need effective security solutions that will keep your network running smoothly–and free of potential threats–regardless of what threats they might instigate. Talk to your security provider about available security solutions, including increased antivirus and anti-malware protection. You may also want to include:

Additional Training Regarding Security Protocols 

Many security professionals find that employees are often the weakest link in an organization’s security. If your employees do not know how to secure their devices and their networks and do not understand security protocols, they cannot provide the robust protection your organization needs–especially with the increase in cyber-attacks throughout 2020. Make sure your employees know how to protect their home devices and networks, which will extend additional protection for your company network. 

Clear Protocols for Company Device Use

More employees are taking their company-issued devices home. Some companies even sent employee workstations home along with their employees during lockdowns in early March or purchased additional equipment to make it easier for employees to work from home. This makes those devices more accessible to many employees, who may start, over time, to use those devices for their personal needs. Unfortunately, personal device use can increase the threats to your network and data. Create clear protocols regarding how employees can use those devices to help keep them safer. 

Information About Where and When Employees Can Use Company Devices or Access Company Resources 

Many employees, when working remotely, don’t just work from home. Some may choose, for example, to work from public networks. If you want to protect your organization’s security, you may not want to allow employees to work from unsecured public networks. Conversely, you may want to put additional protections in place that will decrease the odds of a successful malware attack even if employees are on an unsecured network.

3. Access and Permissions

Many employees are struggling with access to the documents and platforms they need to complete their daily job duties. Often, multiple employees will need to access the same document in order to get access to vital client information, complete job duties, or simply remain up-to-date on policies. Unfortunately, with employees working from home, it can take longer to receive answers to common requests. 

On the other hand, you want to make sure that your work from home protocol does not allow all employees access to all information. If a security threat does make its way through your protections, you want to make sure that the threat can access only the segmented information available to a specific employee, not everything on your network. Not only that, with employees working from home, it could be easier for an employee themselves to represent a threat. Restricting permissions can help prevent many of these challenges. 

Managing Access and Permissions When Employees Work from Home

In order to help keep your network and data safer, start by assigning permissions based on employee needs. Each employee may have access to specific information or platforms based on their position within the company and their specific overall needs. In addition, you may want to assign employee access to confidential or secure documents on a project-by-project basis. An employee who does not work with a specific account does not need access to that account’s information–and protecting it can help secure your organization. 

The work from home transition has proven difficult across multiple industries. Many companies made that transition on the fly, cobbling together solutions that would help their employees be productive again as soon as possible. With increased remote work here to stay, however, your company needs to address these critical gaps in work from home policies and procedures. Contact us today to learn more about the solutions we can offer for increased security and technology options.

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