Spotlight: Top 5 Remote Working Mistakes to Avoid by Javvad Malik

Updated: Mar 12, 2021

More people are working from home than ever before since the pandemic started. It can be a tough transition and takes some getting used to. It’s also very easy for people to make mistakes when working remotely, which can cause issues not just for the individual, but also for the organisation.

Luckily, I’ve been working remotely for a number of years and have made all the mistakes you will likely encounter. So here are my top list of things to look out for.

1. Mixing business with pleasure

When working remotely, we can often become lazy and use one device for both our work and personal lives. Mixing business and pleasure on the same device is risky in its own right, but perhaps the one to look out for the most is to ensure you’re using the right account for the right thing.

It can be all too easy to send an email from the wrong account, or worse still, if you have access to the corporate social media accounts end up tweeting a personal and potentially embarrassing story from the corporate account for the world to see.

2. Double check

Email is a great tool, but also can be a huge liability. Whether you’re dealing with multiple clients, or just trying to keep track of all the incoming messages from colleagues. It can be easy to become distracted when working remotely and accidentally send an email to the wrong person.

The results of this could be very serious, especially if it ends up with you sending sensitive or personal information to the wrong recipient - which could impact the company brand, result in a penalty, or lose a contract.

3. Oversharing

It can get lonely working remotely. You miss the hustle and bustle of an office and water cooler conversations. Social media can help fill the void, but it can lead us to do things we shouldn’t. Like sharing photos of the office party, with lengthy discussions on a public forum about who was there, what was being worked on, and some jokes about the manager.

It can also be tempting to snap photos of your new home office setup for the world to admire, although, care should be taken so that nothing sensitive is visible in the photo.

4. Pyjama’s and unprotected information

Working from home can instil a sense of complacency. Working in pyjamas on the sofa can leave us unconcerned with leaving laptops unlocked or sensitive documents strewn across the living room.

While this isn’t often an issue, the last thing you want is for documents to be misplaced, or secret information overheard or viewed by a guest.

5. Listening to your CEO

We all want to be good employees and in particular, we don’t want to upset the CEO. So, if they send an email asking us to do something, we make sure we prioritise it above everything else.

It can be difficult to identify a spoofed email from a criminal claiming to be your CEO (or otherwise senior person) so look out for the red flags and do not be so hasty to carry out the request without checking to see if it is legitimate.

Working remotely is not the easiest thing in the world especially if you’re used to working in an office. Mistakes are easy to make which can have huge consequences. The good news is that with a bit of training and awareness, these, and other mistakes can be very easy to avoid.

Javvad Malik

Javvad Malik

Javvad Malik is a security awareness advocate for EMEA at KnowBe4. A security professional of 20 years, Malik has began his career as an IT security administrator. He’s since worked as a consultant, an industry analyst, and a security advocate. Malik is well-known within the information security industry, having spoken at many events and conferences around the world in addition to being a YouTuber, podcaster, blogger, and researcher.


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