The working world of the future: mobile working comes into focus 

By Sandra Rios, below, Head of LastPass Business 

While the pandemic presented companies with unprecedented challenges, it also opened many new opportunities for workers. Many of them continue to benefit from flexibility in home offices that they no longer want to do without. Pre-pandemic, it was widely unimaginable for many companies to integrate mobile working into the enterprise. However, remote working helped many companies successfully weather the early days of the crisis and it’s now hard to imagine life without it.

Many are now asking what future developments in the world of work will look like, what remote work strategies companies should pursue and how they can improve their compliance policies. Pre-pandemic integrating wide-scale mobile working into the enterprise just wasn’t possible. But research found that almost three-quarters of employees now want to work remotely. Of those, 62% said they would be happier working at home, and, in exchange for more flexibility, would be willing to accept lower pay. To successfully integrate a long-term and functioning mobile working model, it’s vital to integrate the right technologies and commercial compliance measures.

Remote working strategy: the right technology

The choice of technology has a direct impact on employee satisfaction when working from home. As many companies sought a return to normality when the pandemic ended, the cost and expense of remote work setups became significantly reduced.

But IT decision-makers find it more difficult to support employees who work from home. In most cases, the reason for this comes down to choosing the right technology to be able to create comfortable working conditions. It is essential to consider the recommendations from both IT and HR departments when evaluating potential technology investments.

In the early part of the pandemic the need and usage of collaboration tools exploded. These had a major impact on employee satisfaction in home working environments and are highly effective at facilitating communication and the exchange of ideas and are now very much the norm. The “Zoom call“ has become an all-pervasive description of them.  However, it is vital that security is never neglected when using these tools. The use of password managers, which help to automate password management and improve security, are great tools for this. With features such as Single Sign-On (SSO), a password manager can make it very easy for employees to quickly access company systems and increase productivity levels.

SME Publications/ SME XPO 2024

Compliance guidelines influence the mobile working world 

To ensure the success of a flexible working model, it’s essential to comply with the specifications and guidelines. To improve compliance, businesses need to introduce effective and robust compliance policies. However, password security cannot be overlooked either. Without good password management, employees can fall victim to highly damaging data breaches, so in addition to reviewing compliance measures, it’s a good idea to take a close look at existing company password policies.

In many companies, for example, employees are required to create a different, secure password for each online account and update it regularly. However, this approach often leaves wide security holes in practice.

A recent study by LastPass shows that 45% of employees had not changed their passwords in the past year – even though they knew the potential for jeopardising their web-based security. This is where the use of a password manager is vital, with automated password creation and storage in an online vault for each account. Here, logging on to a website becomes automatic and it’s not necessary to enter the access data for each user account. Certain password managers are now also able to monitor the dark web. If login data is disclosed, employees are warned, allowing immediate action to be taken before further accounts are attacked.

Another important factor for enhanced compliance strategy, which is often overlooked, is extensive education around cybersecurity. Although employees are aware of the increasing number of cyber-attacks, they often underestimate the immediate danger. Careless activity, such as using insecure passwords or sharing access data with colleagues, can inevitably lead to data leaks, and consequently, severe consequences within an organization.

Such widespread underestimations are always a risk for any organisation and can quickly lead to serious legal consequences and damage to a company’s brand reputation. Businesses should conduct regular employee training on password security and its practical implementation – a measure which can significantly improve overall corporate compliance, many also now have nominated “Security Champions” dotted around their business.

Developing an effective and profitable remote work strategy

The future of mobile working is full of potential and offers benefits to both employees and companies alike – it’s clear that it will not be going away any time soon. Companies with a mature remote work strategy can benefit from engaged employees, higher productivity, increased revenue and lower costs. Critical to implementing a flexible work model is a robust IT security setup for the workforce alongside effective management.

Companies that implement the right technologies and enforce strict compliance measures will be those that fully reap the benefits of location-independent working in the coming years.

SME Publications/ SME XPO 2024