One of the perks that many small business owners and workers may enjoy is that they don't necessarily have to go into the office every day, avoiding the difficulties of fighting traffic and dealing with all the other headaches of office life at larger employers. A new survey shows just how beneficial they can find this experience to be. However, it might also open them up to a number of threats, and can increase companies' need for tech insurance.
Today, some 93 percent of all small business owners across North America say they either work remotely or have employees who do so on a regular basis, according to a new study from the advisory company BizLaunch. More than half of respondents – 56 percent – say that they believe working remotely actually increases employee productivity as well.
In fact, many small business owners say that the reason this can be so helpful is that it not only increases employee satisfaction, such as by reducing their stress levels and giving them a potentially improved work-life balance, but it also helps to keep costs down for the companies themselves, the report said. In all, nearly nine in 10 say the quality of life improvement is real, and 71 percent likewise enjoy savings as a result of allowing workers to avoid coming into the office.
"With the cloud-based technology available to small businesses nowadays, it makes financial sense for small business owners and their employees to work remotely where possible," said Andrew Patricio, founder and chief executive officer of BizLaunch. "It has the potential to save a great deal of money and allows them to work from anywhere – including their own homes."
However, many feel the exercise can improve
While small business owners seem to broadly favor the ability to work from home or elsewhere, they also apparently recognize that they can improve their own plans for allowing their employees to do so, the report said. Nearly half said that they could implement daily or weekly progress reports with their workers or others who might work with them remotely, just as a means of staying on top of any potential issues they may face. In addition, 37 and 36 percent, respectively, believed that a face-to-face meeting or weekly conference call with their entire team would likewise help them to better make sure the plan is working as it's supposed to.
Of course, giving employees the ability to work remotely can be perfectly beneficial for all involved, but it might also increase the risk of a data breach if the workers in question are tasked with handling any sensitive information as part of their jobs. In many cases, these incidents might be accidents, but they can nonetheless be especially harmful if their computers are compromised in some way. Whether it's downloading a virus or other piece of malware on their home computer, or simply connecting to an unsecured WiFi hotspot that's also being occupied by a hacker with nefarious intentions, even seemingly innocuous missteps can end up causing massive problems for small businesses as well as their customers or clients.
When allowing employees to work remotely, owners might want to think about the value that small business insurance policies designed specifically to protect them financially in the event of a data breach might provide them. Data breach remediation costs can run into millions of dollars, and that's a large enough amount of money to potentially push many independent companies to the brink of financial ruin, if not over it.