Working from home insurance issues are a frequent concern of anyone who finds themselves regularly working from home rather than commuting into an office.
The good news is that for most people, working from home has very little impact on their insurance. Emerald Life home insurance could be perfect for you just with an online quote, but if you have a more complex situation then we have experienced UK staff available quickly on the phone to help you out.
While working from home has been a growing trend, the Coronavirus pandemic has had a seismic shift with the UK Government first issuing advice against travel to work in March 2020 followed quickly by actually banning it for a number of weeks.
This has created a huge opportunity in this space at a time when software companies like Zoom and Slack have made collaborating remotely easier than ever while cloud-based systems mean whole companies can exist without a single location.
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Working From Home Insurance Key Questions
In general if you are just carrying out clerical work with a laptop then you probably don’t need to inform your insurer that you are working from home.
It might be worth mentioning that the property is now occupied during the day as that decreases the risk and may result in a lower premium if you are switching insurer.
However, if your working from home role is more complex than this then you might need to look further.
If you regularly have clients visiting your home then you should probably inform your insurer as this has an additional risk of liability if they are injured. Most home insurance policies include public liability for damage done by the home but you should consider if this suits your needs, as there may be exclusions for business being carried on in the home.
For instance, home insurance public liability cover would not cover other events at your property unrelated to the building, like if you are a hairdresser and a customer had an allergic reaction to a product. Often, your home insurance public liability cover is designed to cover injury to guests rather than customers or clients.
Perhaps the biggest change with working from home insurance is your contents. A home office could increase your total contents value so you should check this is still covered under your existing level of cover. If your employer owns any items then you are not responsible for insuring those and so they can be excluded.
Most insurers require individual high value items to be specified on the schedule. That could be anything from a computer to musical equipment so check these are covered. Otherwise you may need to look at other business insurance products more geared towards business tools rather than home contents insurance.
Self-Employed Home Insurance
If you are self-employed and your business address is your home address then your insurer will probably want to know more details about the type of business you carry out here. Obviously this could be all sorts of things that overlap with the previous concerns of working from home as an employee.
Again think of anything that could prove a risk to the house in terms of security and damage.
In general it is likely that if your business involves working with other people on the property then you may need to consider a form of business insurance.
If you are storing products at your property then it is up to the insurer whether these fall under your contents or are business assets that need a separate policy depending on your situation.
WFH – It Makes Sense
Remote working has seen an explosion in uptake with many employers and employees citing a better quality of life thanks to location-independent work.
For some “digital nomads” that can mean travelling the world or living in locations with a lower cost of living like East Asia while earning a salary more in line with the cost of living in places like London.
But for most the benefits of working from home in their home country are simple.
Time, Money, Mental Health
The average commute time in the UK is 58 minutes, so that’s two hours a day spent travelling when most of us are struggling to balance work, family and sleep. For those working in London that climbs even higher to 81 minutes.
With the staggering cost of rail prices and commutes often combining elements of car, rail and bus it is no suprise that the average worker travelling into London spends £305 per month commuting. That’s before you take into account the high property prices of the South-East driven by this daily ritual.
There are also big benefits of working from home from a productivity standpoint. While working from home has a reputation for manifesting laziness, studies have actually shown the bigger picture is more complex. For instance, we are all aware of absenteeism with workers taking too much time off but have you ever heard of presenteeism?
Much of our modern working practices date from when our jobs were far more hands-on such as in manufacturing, where output had a direct relationship with time. If you spent a certain number of hours by your machine then your productivity was guaranteed.
Today though with many of us occupying more strategic jobs this is no longer the case. Creative workers in particular tend to have fixed times when they are more productive – whether that’s first thing in the morning or a flash of inspiration late at night.
Presenteeism is a serious issue when employees force themselves to be present in an office even when they are not effective – through stress, tiredness or illness – just to prove they are worth employing.
Nicholas Bloom, a senior fellow at the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research, conducted a study in 2015 with Chinese travel agency Ctrip. He found that giving a sample of employees the choice of working from home resulted in a 13% increase in output and a 50% reduction in quit rates, which when rolled out to the whole company resulted in a 22% productivity increase.
This might not be your current situation at the moment if you’ve found yourself on the kitchen table between homeschooling and queuing for the supermarket. After all, the final days before lockdown saw transport networks full of employees taking home their office monitors and chairs.
But as this crisis resolves and home working becomes more common, setting up your home office and making sure you have the right working from home insurance could be mean a brighter future for your nine till five.