Working from home – a ‘New Normal’?
Over the last 2 months many office workers will have been working from home and embracing the highs and lows that this entails!
If a Working From Home policy did not previously exist in your firm, the chances are that this will have been put together very promptly in order to meet the lockdown deadline suddenly announced by the UK Government.
Of course, the question that has arisen since there has been any talk of an exit strategy from the lockdown is – what happens now?
It is worth considering your insurance policy as you create your ‘New Normal’. Some firms may now wish to retain a degree of flexible or home working for staff, as much of the work has been done in its forced implementation.
Employees returning to the office are likely to have mixed feelings, with some perhaps hoping to continue some form of home working and others being very grateful to be back at their desks with their co-workers.
Discussions on LinkedIn and on news channels have portrayed that many office workers have enjoyed working from home around their families and during hours more suited to their personal productivity, which has led to their improved mental wellbeing.
We have heard that the reduced traffic in the lockdown months has made a noticeable difference in our air quality in towns and the planet overall. News readers and environmentalists have debated whether more official Government guidelines may come in to support these reduced levels in the near future.
So, as you consider your return to work strategy and any continued working from home plans, here is a list of things you may wish to consider and speak to your insurer about:
Once children return to school, the home schooling burden will be removed from the parents of young families. However, would your firm condone the employee doing the ‘school run’ in on a home working day for example? How might this impact on your public liability insurance if an accident occurred in working hours? Ensure your staff know what is and isn’t allowed in a work day.
Consider setting hours for when staff must be available and KPIs to ensure work is delivered to deadline. Regular breaks from the screen are important and too many hours in one sitting can cause tiredness when mistakes can be made, such as clicking a link on a scam email and inadvertently causing a cyber breach.
Cyber liability insurance is always a hot topic and figures from ‘Action Fraud’ state that cyber scams have risen by 400% during March 2020* in the UK lockdown period. Ensuring your business data remains safe as staff work from home is essential. Employers will need to ensure that guidelines around home or work laptop usage are followed, which should state how passwords are stored, documents are shared etc.
A large consideration is whether your Cyber insurance policy would cover your firm for a cyber attack at an employee’s home whilst using a personal computer to work from.
Check your office contents or equipment breakdown insurance for how your IT and portable equipment is covered, if it is away from the designated office.
Consider assessing your employees’ home office arrangements to avoid potential health issues such as poor posture in future, particularly if you have Health Insurance for your staff.
Whilst these points need to be considered, please remember insurance exists to protect you from risk so you can focus on running your business.
Embrace the positive changes that working from home can offer your staff and do contact our experienced team if you would like to discuss any impact on insurance for your business.
* Action Fraud website: Coronavirus-related fraud reports increase by 400% in March