The Coronavirus Crisis has thrown up many challenges in the UK but out of bad may come some good. Already a growing trend within Generation Z before the outbreak, other segments of the labour market appear set on achieving a better work life balance. So, we tackle some key questions and threats that business owners need to tackle as working remotely looks see to become part of the new norm?
Who are Generation Z?
Generation Z is comprised of people who were born between 1995 and 2010. This generation already makes up around 32 per cent of the world’s population. As such, Generation Z will soon make up a substantial portion of the world’s workforce.
Therefore, to attract and retain the top talent, businesses need to understand what Generation Z staff look for when making decisions regarding their careers. These statistics might help your business when it comes to recruiting members of Generation Z:
Flexible Working Schedules – Thirty-three per cent say they would never tolerate an employer who did not allow them any input regarding their work schedule.
Supportive Management – Thirty-two per cent say they are more motivated to work and remain at a business longer if they have a supportive manager.
Diversity – Seventy-seven per cent say that a business’s level of commitment to diversity would sway their decision to work there.
What are Employee’s Rights in Regards to Flexible Working Requests?
Despite the government attempting to reduce lockdown measures and allow more businesses to reopen amidst the pandemic, many employees may prefer to continue to work from home. Although working from home may introduce certain challenges, many employees are being freed from the stresses and expenses of daily commuting. Additionally, employees have other ongoing responsibilities that have been made easier by working from home, such as caring for their families.
Even if businesses choose to reopen and request that staff return to the place of work, it should be understood that all staff who have been employed for more than 26 weeks are entitled to submit a flexible working request.
Staff who have been successful and productive while working from home may believe that they have shown their employer that ongoing remote working will not detract from the businesses future. If granted, flexible working requests will allow staff to continue to work from home as well as theoretically allow for other liberties, such as flexible hours.
Businesses may deny flexible working requests for many reasons, such as any associated costs, inability to restructure work or problems related to customer needs. Therefore, if your business intends to deny a request, you need to be prepared to provide clear evidence as to why a denial was given. Regardless of the decision, businesses are required to respond to flexible working requests within three months.
A survey led by Lewis Silkin showed that by the end of June 25 per cent of businesses had already acknowledged requests from staff for ongoing remote working arrangements or had been asked for increased flexible working hours. Therefore, businesses who intend to reject these requests should be aware that the rejection could lead to a discrimination claim under the Equality Act.
It should also be noted that remote working was already a rising trend before the pandemic. Therefore, given the amount of understanding that many businesses have now been able to gather due to the lockdown, they should be prepared to give sufficient thought and consideration to any changes to working or organisational policy request.
Safeguarding Your Business: Increased Threats When Remote Working
Although there are numerous benefits for a company when its team is capable of working effectively in multiple remote locations, there are also additional risks. Here are just a few quick examples:
- With less face to face interactions, cybercriminals may experience greater joy when attempting to intercept sensitive communications and subsequently instruct key account employees to make fraudulent payments.
- The security of the company’s sensitive client data will depend on employee’s acting responsibly to take adequate precautions in order to protect and prevent illegal access to the information. When spread across multiple locations the threat poised is exponentially higher.
- The data on a hard drive may not be the only intended target of theft, expensive computer equipment itself is at greater risk when out of the office
How to protect the company from the increased threat posed by remote working practices is a question many businesses should be asking themselves. Good risk management programmes that include regular staff training and robust safety protocols are of course a key element. Plan Insurance Brokers can of course offer advice in these areas
However, the benefits of having Commercial Crime Insurance and Cyber Insurance Cover in place should not go without consideration. Many businesses may believe that they are not a target for criminals, but this kind of negligence or casualness can lead to devastating losses. Irrespective of size or industry, a commercial crime insurance policy is a layer of security that all businesses should research.
Whilst Cyber Insurance will provide insurance against specific online risks, Commercial Crime cover can offer protection against losses of property, funds or money that are stolen from a business. This insurance covers a wide variety of crimes. Some examples of incidents that could happen to a business, and would be covered under a commercial crime policy, include:
Transfers by Fraudulent means – Damages or losses stemming from a criminal either conducting or arranging a fraudulent transfer of funds or goods.
Alteration or Forgery – Damages or Losses relating to cheques, bankers drafts etc being forged or altered.
Social engineering – Damages or Losses caused by a criminal imitating a person of authority, such as a director and using their influence to steal funds or property.
Employee crime – Damages or Losses relating to money or other property being stolen by employees through theft or forgery.
Working from home can bring many challenges to your business at Plan Insurance Brokers not only can we help provide you with the right insurance to protect your business and employees, but we also can help with your risk management needs.