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Home working – Insurance Advice For Employers

Thanks to changing attitudes in the workplace, increased tech and a legal right (after six months) to formally request flexible working, it’s no surprise that there has been a boom in the number of employees choosing home working in recent years, writes Ian McDowell from Autoline Insurance.

Indeed, if the figures are anything to go by – statistics reveal a surge of 800,000[1]people becoming homeworkers over the past decade and an expectation that by 2020 half[2]of the UK workforce will be working remotely – this is a trend set to continue.

It’s not hard to see the reasons why employees might favour this form of flexible working. With it, comes more time and reduced stress due to less time spent commuting, financial savings, and improved work/life balance. Indeed, it seems employers too, have come round to the many proven benefits working from home can bring. According to a recent Labour Force Survey, carried out by the Office of National Statistics in the UK, more than 1.54 million people now work from home for their main job, compared to 884,000 ten years ago.

Companies which actively encourage homeworking have reported greater productivity, improved staff morale and employee retention, fewer sick days and access to a wider talent pool.

Whether employees are already working flexibly, or if your business plans to introduce a flexible working policy in the future, it’s important that businesses pay heed to the insurance implications of having staff who work from home.

To ensure your business is adequately covered for such working conditions, you should consider the following checklist of insurances:

Employers’ Liability Insurance

A legal obligation, employers must have Employers Liability Insurance, covering liability for personal injury to employees, while acting in the course of their employment. The cover must extend to where any employee, even if this is just one person working for you part-time, is working from home. Most – but not all – policies do this automatically, but employers should check their policy wording to ensure they are covered.

Public Liability and Products Liability Insurance

It is also sensible to confirm that any Public Liability Insurance, which covers the legal liability of the employer and its employees for injury and/or property damage to third parties, covers situations where the employee is working from home.

Hand in hand with Public Liability Insurance is Products Liability Insurance. Anyone whose business relies on the supply and manufacture of products (which many of those who work from home are involved with, such as those selling on Amazon) should ensure they have this cover.

Business Equipment

Where portable business equipment, such as mobile phones or laptops are used, it is prudent to have “all risks” cover, protecting specified items against loss, damage or theft outside of the office environment.

Cyber Insurance

It’s not just remote workers who are at risk. Permanent employees who occasionally do work at home can face (and cause) security issues when remotely interfacing with an organisation’s network.

Cyber insurance can cover the cost of restoring corrupted data, data breach expenses, financial loss following cyber-crime and loss of income following a cyber event.

These are just a few of the insurance considerations when introducing remote or home-based working arrangements. Other considerations include Professional Indemnity, Goods in Transit and personal accident insurances, which may also need to be taken into account, depending on the type of business.

Working from home clearly has benefits for both employer and employee and is only going to become more popular, as businesses adopt working styles that fit with the lives of their staff.

It’s important that business owners discuss any changes to working patterns with their insurance broker, and regularly review their cover, to make sure that the adequate protection is in place.

[1]Analysis of Government figures by the Trades Union Congress

[2]Office of National Statistics (ONS) figures