In June 2022, The Guardian reported that almost a third of the office workers in the UK were still working from their homes1, as hybrid working has slowly become normal practice for many employees.
To head to the office or stay at home is one of the most debated issues of the moment, and it’s an issue everyone seems to feel strongly about one way or another. On the one hand, many home workers argue that they get more done in their home environment without grappling the daily commute, while others say employees should be onsite where their bosses can speak to them face to face.
Whether you’re on Team Home or Team Office, there is increasing evidence to suggest that working remotely boosts productivity2, and if your own employees are still working from home, you need to consider its impact on your usual office insurance for the longer term.
Let’s start by looking at the positives employers are seeing from letting their employees work from home.
As more employees have gotten used to working from home over the last few years, employers who don’t offer it as an option run the risk of looking less favourable when recruiting in comparison to those that do.
In fact, a study by PR Newswire revealed that 80% of US jobseekers would turn down a role that didn’t offer flexible or remote options3.
Employers who encourage remote working are also finding that remote employees are more productive than those based in the office4.
For example, one study suggested that those who work from home often work 1.4 days more each month than those in the office. This could be because home workers save time, energy, and money by not having to travel to and from work, boosting energy and morale.
Forbes asked their Forbes Business Council members to share their thoughts on the subject in July 2022 and found that the general feeling is employees should be offered the choice, enabling them to work where they feel most comfortable5.
As businesses around the world continue to implement the option for home working in their longer-term strategies, it’s a reality business owners aren’t going to be able to quash anytime soon.
It’s not just company strategies that need to adjust to fit remote working – where and how your employees fulfil their roles also has an impact on your office insurance requirements. If you haven’t revisited your policy since the pandemic, now’s the time to think about where your staff are working and make any relevant adjustments.
If you think about it, your remote employees could be logging in from their own homes, their favourite café or even their friend’s home. If they’re getting the job done without a hitch, their whereabouts probably have little impact on your business from day to day – but they can have a huge influence on your office insurance cover.
One of the biggest considerations for employers is the heightened threat of cyber crime that comes with offsite employees.
Even employees who follow your cyber safety procedures could still find themselves more vulnerable to an attack than they would be in the office, and that means it’s more important than ever that your office insurance includes adequate cyber protection. If you don’t have it as part of your policy, it’s probably available as an add on.
Even if they’re working from home, it’s likely that your employees are still using company equipment. Double check the terms of your contents insurance, as this may only cover equipment in your office itself. You’ll need to be sure that any equipment used by your remote workforce (such as company laptops) is protected even when they are not in the office.
Lastly, check where you stand when it comes to your public liability cover. This key area of your office insurance covers you if a member of your team causes damage to a building or item. It’s crucial that you ensure this includes any location an employee could carry out their work, and not just your own business premises.
If you think your office insurance cover may have gaps now that you have employees working from home, contact one of our specialist advisors to discuss your specific cover requirements.
1: The Guardian: Out of office? How working from home has divided Britain (02-06-22)
2: www.vox.com: Tell your boss: Working from home is making you more productive (30-05-22)
3: Forbes: How remote work can increase business profits (13-10-22)
4: Business News Daily: Working from home increases productivity (29-06-22)
5: Forbes: Should your employees return to the office? (11-07-22)
Mike Stephens FCII is a respected senior industry professional and Fellow of the Chartered Insurance Institute (CII) with well over 40 years’ varied experience in the commercial insurance sector as a commercial insurance broker, underwriter, and conduct manager.
Date: July 19, 2022
Category: Small Business