Staff in small companies need less employer support than those in larger firms

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supportAccording to a recent Kaspersky survey, people who work in companies with fewer than 50 employees, on average, need less employer support when working remotely, compared to staff in larger businesses. Emotional or psychological support is an exception.

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected many companies, but small businesses have suffered more than others. According to research, in some countries, up to 90 percent of small companies have experienced a negative impact from the pandemic, such as drops in production, sales and revenues, and even complete closures.

In companies with a dozen or fewer people, the way employees get through these challenges can very much impact the state of the entire business. Therefore, it is important for leaders to monitor how employees feel and supervise the consequences that this can have on their business.

Kaspersky’s latest survey claims that the largest gap in support expectations is seen in social aid and additional benefits, such as covering internet or phone bills. 33 percent of small company employees would like more support with this, in comparison to 36 percent among those working in medium-sized businesses. The same pattern is true for required technology support, like helping to provide the right equipment and IT tools (31 percent compared to 33 percent). This may be due to the fact that it is more common for people in small organisations to arrange their own working environment, use personal devices for work and take care of access to work services.

It is important for leaders to monitor how employees feel

Emotional or psychological support is needed to almost the same extent for all businesses: 17 percent across small organisations and 16 percent across bigger ones. The impact of COVID-19 has not only affected people’s work and daily lives but has also caused anxiety for their own health and that of their loved ones, as well as overall optimism for the future. So, mental health support may be significant for any employee.

“People who have experience working in small businesses may feel more self-sufficient in the new working reality and this has helped their organisation to concentrate all of their resources on survival. However, to maintain employee productivity and moral, it is still important to make sure that staff have all that they need for work. When it comes to their technology set up, employees need help to use IT securely even if working on personal laptops and managing access to all web services alone,” comments Ivan Salikhov, Product Manager at Kaspersky.

To facilitate remote working conditions for employees, Kaspersky recommends the following actions:

• Open and honest communication is crucial for employees, as they seek cues from their managers on how to react to crisis situations. Organise ‘Ask Me Anything’ sessions with the company’s top management so that they can talk to employees about how your business will continue working in the new circumstances.
• Run surveys to understand the emotional state of your employees, their workload, if they have everything they need for remote working, and if they have clarity on the business processes. This gives a better understanding about specific circumstances people are in today and helps to make more balanced decisions.
• Help your employees manage information overload and the feeling of being overwhelmed at this uncertain time. Keep your teams informed of the facts and current situation, as well as on how to stay safe and healthy.
• Create HR and IT online communication channels so that everyone can easily solve their issues. Provide guidance for all employees on how to enable remote working and use certain software. It can be done through webinars or group calls.
• Educate employees to use basic security practices when working remotely, such as how to avoid becoming a victim of email or web phishing, or how to manage accounts and passwords.
• Adopt a cloud-based security solution. Even small companies should protect themselves from cyberthreats, regardless of whether employees work on corporate or personal devices.

The full report, ‘Securing the Future of Work’, can be found here.

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