A recent Kaspersky survey on the challenges facing small and medium businesses at the beginning of the pandemic reveals preserving jobs was a priority for almost half (43%) of organizations across the Middle East, Turkey, and Africa (META) region.
However, the most prioritized challenge was the introduction of new technologies to ensure the smooth running of business under these new circumstances (60%).
According to the report, business performance is directly impacted by employee satisfaction. During the pandemic, work satisfaction and engagement among employees became more crucial than ever before, especially for small businesses affected hard. A strong team is more likely to be resistant to the crisis and better able to cope through lockdown, risks of infection, and uncertainty about the future.
As a result, team retention has become a priority for companies, even though many have faced budget cuts (40%), reduced pay or working hours (43%), or temporarily closed offices or branches (30%).
The same holds true today, with 45% of organizations in the META region planning to increase personnel costs such as wages and benefits in the coming year. Bringing salaries up to the pre-COVID-2019 level or even increasing them should help businesses retain talent, negating the need for recruitment.
The preservation of jobs and employee satisfaction, among other factors, were dependent on how employers adapted to new and extreme working conditions. As such, the top priority for most organizations (60%) was to provide staff with new technologies, equipment, communication and collaboration services to switch business from offline to online and let employees work remotely or in a hybrid model.
“Reshaping working processes has become the crucial task for company owners and executives to save jobs and maintain their business. Fortunately, there are many easy-to-manage services available, including free ones so they can do this even if they do not have a dedicated IT administrator or additional budget. However, it is important to ensure digital tools are used safely and to educate employees on security awareness – not only for their convenience but to protect their business from cyber threats,” said Andrey Dankevich, Senior Product Marketing Manager at Kaspersky.
To help business leaders ensure working conditions for employees, Kaspersky recommends that the SMEs should check free guidelines on spending less on IT, communicating with customers securely, working with freelancers, and many more. When processes are in place, they should also educate employees to use basic security practices for remote work, such as avoiding becoming a victim of email or web phishing or how to manage accounts and passwords. Kaspersky and Area9 Lyceum have created a free course to help staff work safely from home.
There are various security products that ensure the safe use of cloud services – messengers, social media, and collaboration tools.