Telecom firms highlight potential dangers of allowing staff to work from home

Telecoms companies have alerted employers to the potential pitfalls of letting staff work from home.

Service provider Thus said that companies allowing employees to work from home must ensure that they have the right systems in place to protect against outsiders using this route to access company networks.

Furthermore, staff use of private e-mail accounts and internet access at home could lead to more computer viruses getting into company systems, if their computers were not protected by robust anti-virus software.

Matt Cantwell, head of product portfolio at Thus, also stressed the importance of maintaining a healthy work-life balance.

“It is important to make sure employees are productive when at home, but being in touch with work via Blackberry and other devices may also lead to workers believing they need to be on call 24/7,” he said.

Thus called on businesses to implement a clear policy on remote working and to educate their workers.

Cantwell said he was surprised that a Friday had been designated National Work from Home Day, as it reinforced the stigma attached to working from home.

Alistair McKinnon, senior product manager at NTL Telewest Business, agreed: “Employers fear that staff will watch daytime TV rather than crack on with their work. This is a misconception.

“The fact is, the home offers a more productive working environment, free from the distractions of the office,” he said.

“There also needs to be a balance between being contactable at home, and always being on call.”

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