As social distancing practices become more and more common and employees are adapting to the new professional environments, meaning they are working from home, private life and the professional one may be the same. According to a latest survey conducted by Kaspersky, “How COVID-19 changed the way people work“, about half of the respondents (51%) who work from home and who are visiting adult websites admitted they are doing it on personal computers that they also use for work or on devices granted by their employers.
COVID-19 has radically altered the corporate cyberthreat landscape. Quarantine measures have forced a huge number of people to switch to remote working. The study surveyed more than 6,000 working people worldwide to find out their perspective and disclosed that more than two-thirds of respondents (68%) said they use their own computers. That means no one knows what might be happening on some machines that process company data or access corporate infrastructure.
For example, 33% of respondents admitted to visiting adult websites on personal computers that they also use for work, while almost one in five (18%) employees are doing it right from the devices provided by their employers.
These employees might be live targets of hackers who can steal card details or try to trick users into installing malware.
The survey also found out that:
55% say their employers have provided them with devices to work from home;
26% of workers say they do not have separate rooms for all family members who need to work from home;
33% of survey respondents have said there have been more conflicts with their children over internet usage limitations;
51% of workers admit to watching adult content on devices they use for work purposes;
73% of workers have not received any IT security awareness training from their employer since they transitioned to working from home;
53% use a VPN when working from home;
27% say they have received malicious emails that use COVID-19 as the main topic of interest.
Organizing a home office
The survey revealed that around half (46%) of respondents have never worked from home before. While some employees are allowed to work more flexibly and do tasks remotely, many of them have always been expected to head to an office or workspace on a daily basis. A third (32%) of employees say that they are now working in less comfortable conditions than was the case in their usual office environment. This may well be the case because they do not have the office furniture that they are usual provided with at work. For example, many people are suffering from back pain by resorting to using kitchen stools or slouched on their sofas.
Businesses are trying to help their staff work from home effectively and this is key to making sure the transition happens as smoothly as possible. In fact, more than half (55%) of those surveyed say their employers have provided specific devices to work from home – such as computers and mobiles. What’s more, workers are familiar with the hardware they have been provided with, as 73% say they are still using the same devices they worked with before. And while two-thirds (68%) of respondents have said that they are using their personal computer to do work for their employer, the majority of them (48% of all respondents) had done so in the past as well.
This preparation and familiarity have resulted in good news for employers, as most (40%) of the workers surveyed say they have not yet seen any changes in productivity since the COVID-19 outbreak began, and more than a quarter (29%) feel that they are even more productive.
Resolving family disputes
The majority of workers surveyed also stated that they live with other family members, with just 11% living alone.
Living with others creates its own set of challenges, as everyone in a household needs to be able to work effectively and remain productive during working hours. Over half (52%) also have their partner working from home with them, and more than a fifth (23%) of the workers surveyed say other family members are working from home too apart partner.
This can put more strain on the family unit, as everyone tries to find a place where they can concentrate on work. It’s not just parents who need a quiet space, older children living at home might be employed too and need their own space. The challenge of everyone having a usable and productive space is compounded by the fact that a quarter (26%) of the workers surveyed say they do not have separate rooms for family members who need to work from home. Additionally, the vast majority of workers (84%) say they allow other people in their household to access their personal computer that they use for work.
Furthermore, around a fifth (21%) say they have experienced family issues due to the need to work from home. This could affect both adults and children, with both parties becoming even more reliant on the internet for work, school and socializing.
While services like video streaming and gaming can keep youngsters entertained, at the moment some children may want to spend more time online. A third (33%) of survey respondents have said there have been more conflicts with their children over internet usage limitations, with 33% also saying it is now much more difficult to regulate how much time their children spend online. When parents need to focus on their professional tasks rather than play with their children, finding the balance can sometimes be tricky.
Maintaining a work-life balance
While there is no universal answer for getting this perfect, it is important for everyone to feel like they are spending a fair amount of time both working and relaxing at home.
For instance, 31% of workers say they have spent more time working since transitioning to working from home full-time. However, 46% are now spending more time doing personal activities. This could well be down to no longer needing to commute to the office or travel for work-related reasons, like attending sales meetings or industry conferences.
Behavior is also changing, with workers understandably spending more time consuming content on their devices while they stay at home. For instance, 47% have said they spend more time watching videos, with around one-in-two (48%) people doing so on devices they use for work. More unexpectedly though, half (51%) of workers who have started to watch more adult content, admit to watching it on work devices. Around a fifth (18%) do this on devices provided by their employer and 33% use their own devices which they also use for work-related purposes. This activity might demonstrate how personal activity and working life can blur into one when spending so much time at home.
More than half (55%) of the workers surveyed say they are now reading more news than they were before they began working from home, 60% of which is done on work devices.
Other causes of concern for workers include phishing scams and shadow IT. For instance, more than a quarter (27%) of survey respondents say they have received malicious emails related to COVID-19 while working from home – an activity which Kaspersky’s experts are paying strong attention to during the pandemic. Scammers may be trying to prey on worried workers who want to learn more about the coronavirus pandemic, as well as potentially vulnerable corporate networks while staff are stuck at home.
Meanwhile, the adoption of video conferencing, file storage services, file sharing services and personal messaging apps are all on the rise as we rely on the internet to share information and keep in touch for work purposes. Some employees are not strictly only using their business accounts for work-related purposes.
, 42% of workers say they are using personal email accounts for work and nearly half (49%) have admitted to increasing how often they do this. Additionally, 38% use personal messengers for professional reasons, and 60% say they now do this more often since working from home. File sharing services that have not been approved by IT departments are also being used a lot, with 53% of respondents saying they use these more often for work-related purposes. Using such services has great benefits to keep staff connected but can come at a cost if one or more of them become a target for cybercriminals.