Working from home, either running your own business or as a company employee, is a wish for many people. No traffic, casual attire, and flexible hours are just a few of the many reasons cited when workers explain why they want to make home their office.

As the Covid-19 pandemic swept the world, a large number of businesses set up their employees to work while staying safe at home. Numerous employers discovered benefits to a homebound workforce and plan on keeping their staff out of the office for the foreseeable future.

The work from home revolution does bring different challenges for employers who have their staff outside the traditional business setting. Additionally, those who operate their business from home face hurdles to overcome. Chief among these new issues is understanding and obtaining the correct business insurance.

Employers’ Insurance Concerns When Employees Work From Home

It can be a bit overwhelming to think about all of the elements that are necessary to transition employees from a central office to their homes. While as an employer, you may be focusing on equipment and Zoom connections, making sure your business insurance will cover relocated employees must be a priority.

Will My Responsibilities Decrease When My Employees Work From Their Homes?

It is imperative to address and mitigate health and safety hazards in the workplace, including those that arise when employees work remotely, to the reasonably achievable extent. Employees working from home may encounter various risks such as:

  • Inadequate workstation setup, like poor lighting
  • Suboptimal work conditions, such as noise disturbances, insufficient heating or cooling, and electrical safety issues
  • Prolonged sedentary periods
  • Obstacles that could cause trips or slips, like toys or clutter from home improvements
  • Psychosocial concerns, including extreme job demands, limited job autonomy, insufficient support, unclear job roles, or negative behaviours like cyber harassment
  • Substandard facilities, including poor ventilation or lack of utilities
  • Exhaustion from excessive work hours or the expectation to be constantly available
  • Exposure to family and domestic violence
  • Challenges associated with working in isolated areas or difficulty in accessing assistance

To manage Workplace Health and Safety (WHS) risks effectively, it’s essential to adopt a structured four-step approach, which includes:

  1. Identifying potential hazards
  2. Evaluating the associated risks
  3. Implementing measures to control these risks
  4. Continuously reviewing and adjusting control strategies to ensure their effectiveness

Given the diverse nature of home and living situations, the specific actions required to manage risks will vary. For comprehensive guidance on addressing WHS risks for home-based workers, refer to the available resources.

Furthermore, engaging in discussions with employees, and their health and safety representatives (HSRs) if available, about health and safety matters that impact them is crucial. Such consultations are key to fulfilling your WHS obligations to safeguard employee health and safety, as employees are often best positioned to identify risks in their home workspaces. Their input is vital in pinpointing and evaluating hazards, as well as in developing and applying effective risk control strategies.

What Are Some Other Insurance-related Factors Involving at Home Employees?

  • Public Liability Insurance – You must be sure that your public liability insurance coverage is sufficient and will extend to all locations your customers may engage with members of your company.
  • Workers Compensation Insurance – Because specific policies differ, make a point to check in with your insurance professional regarding your Workers Compensation Insurance. Be sure to connect with your employees regarding their mental and physical well-being after shifting to work from home.
  • General Property Insurance – While the property insurance cover you have is sufficient to cover home-based equipment, policies often differ or have specific exclusions. There are several areas to consider carefully.
    • Check your policy for monetary limits and find out if any equipment needs to be listed separately for full coverage
    • Learn specifics about your coverage if an employee working from home uses their personal computer and data is lost or stolen. The scenario may sound unlikely but can have a significant impact. You may be in without cover as your business policy may not cover an outside computer, and the employee’s home insurance will likely deny a claim related to business.
    • Remember that your employee’s home and contents insurance generally will not cover company property, and your business insurance will not cover personal items belonging to your employees

** It is worth noting that your insurance cover and rates reflect the degree of compliance to predetermined safety standards. If your employees work in an environment with subpar safety, you run the risk of claim denial, rate increase, or policy termination. Additionally, it is the employer’s responsibility to notify their insurance professional regarding the relocation of employees. Please be aware that not every insurance company will cover employees who work from home.**

working from home

Insurance Concerns When Operating a Business From Home

In much the same way many people dream of working at home instead of the office, scores of people say operating their own business from home would be a dream come true.

Pursuing this dream takes a significant amount of time, determination, and know-how. Realising when to ask for expert help is also crucial for success. Your business insurance is one instance when taking your best guess can lead to disastrous consequences. Here are some specific areas where a knowledgeable insurance professional can offer security, knowing your cover is correct.

Will My Home and Contents Insurance Policy Cover a Business I Operate From My Home?

The short answer to this question is no. Many business owners sustain significant losses, including losing their business because they mistakenly believed their business and related goods had cover from a home and contents policy. In order to be sure that your company is fully insured, speak with an insurance expert about business-specific insurance cover.

What Kinds of Insurance Will I Need if I Run My Company From My Home?

There are several types of insurance cover that will protect you and your business from the unexpected. These policies include:

  • Public Liability Insurance – If clients or suppliers visit your premises, a Public Liability Insurance policy is a must. There only needs to be one loose brick or a damp floor, and suddenly a costly injury occurs on your business’ property. Public Liability Insurance covers your company in these instances as well as if you are deemed liable for damaging someone else’s property.
  • General Property Insurance – You are likely aware of how expensive many of the tools of your trade are and how much you rely on them. With a General Property Insurance policy, the useful items you carry with you as you are out and about have the protection you need.
  • Business Interruption Insurance – If an event such as a robbery or vandalism keeps you from operating your company, a Business Interruption Insurance policy can keep your bills paid.
  • Accidental Injury Insurance – If you run your own business, you do not have Workers Compensation cover. However, accidents still happen frequently. If you have an accident and cannot work, an Accidental Injury Insurance policy will help with your mishap costs and possibly pay you a lump sum.
  • Machinery Breakdown Insurance – Many professionals consider Machinery Breakdown Insurance an absolute necessity. Whether you rely on equipment to produce goods or computers to complete daily tasks, you would be wise to consider cover.
  • Income Protection Insurance – Should you become sick or injured, an Income Protection policy can help you make ends meet until you are able to work.

Regardless of your situation, you can rest assured that the knowledgeable professionals at Grace Insurance will help you get the insurance cover you need. For questions or an appointment, contact Grace Insurance right away.

Please Note: The material provided in this blog post is for informational use only. It does not constitute legally binding insurance advice and should not take the place of a consultation with an insurance professional.