An employers responsibilities regarding hybrid working IMAGE

Changes in how – and where – work is conducted was an unexpected side effect of Covid-19. While some roles demand a return to the workplace, many more have embraced the technological and business developments that allow remote working to continue. Whether your employees work entirely from home, or enjoy a hybrid arrangement, as an employer you still have obligations you need to fulfill. So if your company has adopted a hybrid working approach, it may be time to review your insurance cover. Not only can this help to ensure continuation of cover, it could potentially reduce premium in some areas.

Health and Safety

Your duty to ensure the health, safety and welfare of your workforce continues regardless of where they are physically located. There have been calls for employers to carry out risk assessment for all employees that work some of the time from home, but as yet this is hard to implement. In the office, the employer will want to undertake regular workstation assessments, but this may not be feasible for remote working.

Aside from the physical set up of the remote worker, there are some well being concerns to consider. Remote working is best suited to computer or telephone-based work but whatever the employee’s role, don’t overlook the feelings of isolation that may develop and ensure team members are taking adequate breaks. New recruits and inexperienced employees are particularly vulnerable, so ensure they are receiving adequate supervision and that this is regularly maintained. And establish the working hours you expect, not forgetting to timetable in regular breaks. 

Equipment and expenses

While employers aren’t obliged to provide equipment for their remote workers, it might make sense to ensure your workers can function efficiently. Appropriate IT is fundamental, and some employers may consider upgrading the workstations and desk set up of their remote workers. Additional expenses such as heating, lighting and broadband are not the responsibility of the employer.

Insurance and liability

Both employers and employees should consult their insurance policies to make sure that all equipment is covered and remote working is permitted. Policyholders will generally have cover for their personal office equipment, for example laptops and computers, in the contents section of their household policy. Check the stated limits are sufficient in the event you need to replace an item.

Equipment provided by the employer to an employee to use to work remotely is the responsibility of the employer and is typically covered under the business’s material damage section of its policy. If your property is stolen or damaged when on an employee’s premises, this should be reflected in your policy—it may need to be changed from a fixed location to an all-risk location. 

Your hybrid working arrangements may mean you have fewer visits from customers to your premises. In which case, it is important to review your public liability cover to determine if it still reflects your risk, and whether it is possible to make savings in this area.

If any part of your property is unoccupied, your insurers might see this as a material change in risk, and may be reluctant to offer cover if the building is empty for more than 30 consecutive days. So check your policy to see if it includes an unoccupancy clause.

The risk of a cyber incident can be heightened when staff use home Wi-Fi connections, so take practical steps to improve your cybersecurity can help, such as implementing a Two-Factor Authentication login system, and strong email filtering tools.

Adapting to new ways of working can be a challenge, and is different for every business. Britton Insurance will find the best business insurance policy to suit your individual needs at the best price available to us from the market