After a year of full-time telecommuting, some companies realized that not everyone always needs to be in the office, and introduced hybrid mode, allowing employees to alternate between the traditional workplace and the home office.
Hybrid work mode has both pros and cons. Many people find it difficult to switch between home and office, some face technical problems. Risks to personal and corporate information security also increase. We tell you how to combine office and remote work so that productivity only increases and confidential data are not endangered.
Take advantage of flexible mode
Some people prefer to work on the couch, while others only tune in to a productive atmosphere in the office. Which type of work suits you best? Observe yourself and determine, and pay attention also to what tasks are easier for you to perform in a particular environment. For example, you might find it easier to conduct business negotiations in the office, and it’s easier to concentrate on a report at home (or vice versa). From this you can better plan your work week: what you do at home, and which tasks you leave for presence time in the office.
Discuss with your supervisor the possibility of coming into the office at non-standard times, for example by lunchtime. This way you can finish some of your work remotely in the morning and not waste your nerves in traffic jams or in public transport during rush hour. If you are a night owl and find it easier to work at night, find out if you can adapt your work schedule to your biological rhythms and, for example, stay in the office until late at night.
Create a working environment
In the office you may be distracted by chatty colleagues, and at home you may be disturbed by spouses who also work remotely and are always on the phone, or children playing. It’s not easy to concentrate in such an environment. For starters, it’s a good idea to talk to both of them. Plus, at home try to either provide a separate office for work, or at least, if possible, fenced off from the rest of the apartment working corner.
However, sometimes it is impossible to get rid of distractions. In that case, try to minimize their impact: use special apps or something more serious like earplugs or noise-blocking generators.
Be aware of your health
In the home environment, many find it difficult to finish the day’s work: you may not notice that it’s already night outside the window, but you still continue to write a report. Overwork will result in insomnia, headaches and other unpleasantness. And no one cancels the emotional burnout, because of which can stultify even your favorite business. So regardless of whether you work at home or in the office, try to start and finish work at the same time, to be more aware of your work time try to use employee hours tracker.
And don’t be tempted to sit down (much less lie down) at the computer in your pajamas. No one is forcing you to wear a business suit, but it will be easier for your brain to tune in to work if your appearance is close to the office. The more you separate home and work, the easier it is for you to enjoy both. Even if you work partly from home.
Take care of the physical security of your work data
As long as you are in the office and working through the office network, the information security department (if it exists, of course) takes care of much of the security of confidential data. But when you have to take your laptop and documents home and back, they are at risk: your backpack or bag can be forgotten or lost, and sometimes they can be stolen.
If possible, have different devices for the office and home – it is more convenient and safer than constantly carry a laptop with you. For travel on public transport and abroad buy a special rugged backpack made of cut-resistant fabric, with hidden zippers and locks.
And of course, don’t put a notebook with work passwords in the same backpack as your laptop (and don’t have a notebook at all, for that matter). Better yet, use a password manager to automatically create complex passwords and keep them in a safe place. If the system administrators at your company do not like these utilities, you will have to memorize all the passwords. In this case, it is better to use mnemonic rules.
Protect your work data
If you do carry devices with you, it’s better to anticipate the risks of losing them – and try to mitigate the consequences. To prevent sensitive data from falling into the wrong hands, it needs to be encrypted. Operating systems have built-in solutions for this, such as BitLocker in Windows and FileVault in macOS. There are third-party solutions as well, but they can only be installed on the devices you use with the permission of your company’s information security specialists or system administrators. Encryption will block access to your hard drive to anyone who doesn’t know the special password – even if your laptop is stolen, intruders won’t be able to get to your work documents.
An alternative to disk encryption is not to store data locally at all, but to send it to the cloud. For example, to Google Docs, which in recent years has been a serious competitor to offline tools for working with texts and spreadsheets. But it is important to remember that access to online documents has to be set up correctly.
The main advice is to look for a service that supports two-factor authentication, so it’s harder for hackers to get into your account. And before using such products, again, consult with your company’s IT specialists so as not to inadvertently violate security policies. However, don’t send sensitive information to the cloud – they can be hacked, too.