Although the worst of the Covid-19 pandemic is – thankfully – over, some of the changes made during the last two years appear to be here to stay. Hybrid working, with workers spending perhaps two days a week in the office and the rest working from home has become commonplace. In a recent industry survey, over half of business owners who were surveyed stated that they expect their business to full embrace flexible working going forward.
This flexible approach might be great news for employees but may have a serious impact on the way the recruitment process works, especially for those people who work in highly regulated industries such as healthcare or finance. Only a very small percentage of companies say that they have introduced new ways of checking up on members of staff who are being recruited to work mainly from home. Background screening should be done in exactly the same way wherever an employee is to work. That usually involves checking references carefully, looking at social media accounts, verifying qualifications, and asking for a basic DBS check to find out about any unspent criminal convictions.
Security and Safety in Home Offices
Most traditional offices have some form of security, even if it’s just someone on reception keeping an eye on who is walking into the building. Other offices, especially those handling personal data or sensitive information, have swipe card access, CCTV, and numerous other security precautions. Being “on duty” in the office makes us act differently too, and lots of companies have policies about password protecting files, removing sensitive documents from desks at the end of the working day, or logging out of databases at lunchtime. At home, we tend to be more relaxed about logging out of the computer when we go to the kitchen to make a coffee and are less likely to have cupboards which can be used to lock away sensitive information. Not everyone has a dedicated space to use as a home office, especially younger employees who might be living in a flat share with several other people who are relative strangers.
Risk Assessment for Home Offices
Businesses in all market sectors should be conducting a risk assessment to mitigate against the risks of losing sensitive information or having a security breach caused by someone working from home. No boss wants to think that they can’t trust the people working for them, but your business appearing in the press for all the wrong reasons can seriously affect whether or not your business can continue trading. For most businesses, there are significant cost savings associated with having fewer people in the offices, and it makes sense to plough some of these savings into providing the IT equipment and other items needed for your staff to work safely from home. It’s also important to remember that not everyone wants remote working. People who are living in a shared flat and working in their bedrooms might prefer to come into the office and have total separation between home and work.