Over half of UK business will have hybrid offices by next summer

Over half of UK businesses will have a ‘hybrid’ workforce by next Summer, according to new research.

In a survey of 1,000 business owners by cyber security specialist Nexor, 9% said they have already transitioned to a hybrid model, while 45% plan to do so over the next 12 months. Only 3% of bosses said they’ve always had a distributed workforce, highlighting the impact of the pandemic on the world of work.

Those planning to make the change are not without their reservations though, with productivity being the biggest concern for one in three UK employers. Other worries include:

  • Maintaining an even playing field where all employees feel they have an opportunity to progress (28%)
  • Communication (24%)
  • Managing split teams effectively (24%)
  • Collaboration (20%)
  • Cyber security (18%)

When it comes to cyber security, four in ten bosses admit their biggest challenge is ensuring their business is sufficiently protected. A further 23% said their main hurdle is knowing where to start, or being able to afford adequate cyber protection.

Looking ahead to 2022, 63% of employers will be increasing their cyber security budget. A further one in ten (41%) will be investing in a stand-alone cyber insurance policy over the next 12 months.

Fergus Mathieson, Head of Markets and Propositions at Nexor, said: “No matter the industry or business, security concerns surrounding hybrid working affect everyone. Repeatedly one of the highest causes of successful cyber attacks is human error. This is not at the fault of the user, especially given the resource that goes into this kind of attack, but is often due to a lack of training and overlooking the human factor when it comes to security.

“However, the human element can also be part of a company’s strongest defence to stop a successful attack and also limit the degree of damage if one is successful. Therefore by providing the proper training and tools to staff, this will ensure that even in the hybrid world you can be sufficiently protected.”

The biggest cyber security measure entrepreneurs look to implement within their company over the next 12 months is more staff training. Hiring a security consultant, adding extra firewalls, employing higher levels of encryption and making two-factor authentication were also popular answers.

While one in five bosses give their employees cyber security training once a month, the same amount admit their employees have never had any cyber security training, or, if they had, it was only when they first joined the company. It is recommended that businesses refresh their team’s knowledge at least once a year.

Darren Hockley, MD of eLearning specialist DeltaNet International, adds: “I’m a strong believer that prevention is better than cure. The best way to reduce the risks of cyber attacks is to invest time and resources in keeping your systems secure and ensuring that your employees are aware of the cyber threats facing your business, whether they work from the office or at home.

“To achieve this, it’s important to embed a strong culture of compliance throughout the organisation, ensuring that staff feel the same sense of ownership for cyber security at home as they do in the office. It’s up to business leaders to continually reinforce this culture by setting the right tone from the top, identifying and managing new risks, and offering ongoing and engaging awareness training on the subject.”

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