Working Securely While Traveling (Or At Home) This Summer
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Summer is a popular time for vacations —particularly for small business owners and employees with families — so it’s important to reiterate guidelines matching that type of flexibility, whether working from home or while traveling.
Here are a few things to consider this summer, including why it’s important to accommodate employees who need some flexibility and a couple of reminders on how to work securely from home and on the road.
Assuming summer is not your peak business season, try to be flexible for employees who want to adjust their schedules, such as parents who need flexibility due to children being out of school and at home. This flexibility is highly sought after by employees in today's culture.
It’s important to try to work with employees who ask for adjustments to their schedules this summer, whether it’s vacation or work-from-home time. Find ways to reschedule on-site shifts or even, depending on your type of business, set them up to work remotely.
Your efforts to accommodate their summer schedules will translate into loyalty to you and your small business — a crucial factor in retaining workers in this tight labor market.
Keep in touch
Small business owners who decide they can get away during the summer months —whether for vacation time or a hybrid work-vacay trip -- will face a list of prep to-dos to manage time away successfully.
Besides planning for operations and employee changes or guidelines, it’s a good idea to touch base with other key stakeholders before your time away, such as community partners, clients, or fellow entrepreneurs and small business owners.
“This proactive approach not only gives you time to work out any potential issues together before you go, but it also makes your clients and contacts feel valued and important to your business – which, of course, they are,” advises Laura Spawn in an article for Business News Daily.
“Most importantly, make sure your clients know they will be taken care of while you are away and that they have a go-to team member available to handle anything that needs attention during your absence.”
Use technology to work securely
As organizations rely more and more on external contributors like contractors, professional service cos., gig workers, etc., it’s become even more important to have the technology in place to support them, wherever they are.
VPN service, or a Virtual Private Network connection, is one of the best precautions a business can take for protecting remote workers’ network connections and data. By using a VPN, you can —and enable your employees to — continue their work securely while traveling or at home working this summer.
“VPNs provide employees with secure access to an organization's internal network and data, from anywhere,” writes Macy Bayern in a post for TechRepublic. “The tool provides a secure tunnel between an individual's device and the service data center, encrypting the transmitted data.”
Eighty-three percent of the organizations told a 2022 global executive survey they have data and tech systems to support their complex workforce.
But only 35 percent said they have data and technology systems that support managing both employees and an extended workforce in a “holistic or integrated way,” according to the survey conducted by MIT Sloan Management Review and released in a Deloitte Insights post.
Look for a provider that can offer your business mobile VPN and site-to-site VPN, such as Sparklight Business, which includes both in a list of other features in their Managed Services and Managed Router for businesses.
Working in a hotel/Airbnb
If you plan to work while in a hotel or Airbnb, you’ll want to check out the internet speed they’re offering to see how it matches up with your remote work needs.
“Many hotels know their guests expect internet access, but that doesn’t mean it has to be any good,” writes Shira Ovide in a story for The Washington Post.
Hotels also are stuffed with WiFi-blocking obstacles such as walls, electrical equipment, and other humans all sharing limited internet bandwidth. You might need to move around or contact hotel personnel to see where to go to get better Wifi access.