A global health pandemic has no respect for borders, and organizations across the world are being confronted with a series of challenges in terms of working practices. Remote working – working from home – has rapidly become part of "the new norm" but has given rise to a new set of privacy and security issues. And however much working from home will likely form part of a more permanent employment strategy in the future, it is unlikely ever to replace working from a physical office in its entirety, and the "normal" that existed pre-COVID-19.
As businesses orchestrate a safe return to their "usual" routines, it is clear that life will be anything but "usual". The likelihood that employees will have to accept their health being tracked and monitored – with daily temperature checks as a minimum – has clear implications on future privacy and data protection policies, and the legal, moral and emotional impact that such policies may provoke.
Attitudes to privacy do appear to be changing.
Before the pandemic, the use and sharing of personal data by several social channels for their own commercial ends was the story that dominated the global media. Twelve months on and the focus has shifted to the more serious issue (most would argue) of sharing data to save lives and stop COVID-19 in its tracks. Indeed, early findings of a recent EY survey of over 1,900 global consumers suggests that altruism is emerging as a driving force.