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Hybrid working from home - here to stay?

The Australian workforce continues to evolve following the changes imposed by Covid-related lockdowns. In addition, there has been increased focus on a healthy work-life balance, with employees continuing to prefer working from home at least some days a week or part-time. For some companies, working from home (WFH) has always been an option, but it was only introduced on a large scale as a result of covid lockdowns. The strict health measures may have ended, but the new workplace flexibility is here to stay for many white-collar employers. So, it is necessary to review your risk management plans and look at the best way to minimise your WFH risks.

Is a work from home arrangement right for your business?

There are various reasons why employees may want to work from home either part-time or full-time. These could be caring for an elderly relative or children, distance to work or just for a better work-life balance. Recently a poll was undertaken and many of the employers approached believed that time in the office is required for training and culture-building. Yet, some time working from home does not affect productivity and may give a better work-life balance to employees. All employees can request workplace flexibility, however, not all are legally entitled. The FairWork Ombudsman has lots of free guidance and tips that will help you comply with workplace laws; these can be found here.

Assessing work from home arrangements for specific employees:

Key questions that need to be asked include:

  • Does your employee need to be supervised in their role and how often?
  • What effect will this have on any potential teamwork?

If teamwork is important to the role or if they supervise other employees, then working home may not be practical. Not forgetting the costs of setting up a safe work environment in your employee’s home as employers bear the same responsibility for health and safety even if their employees work from home. 

Assessing insurance considerations for work from home employees:

Essential questions to be asked to manage WFH risks are:

  • If your employee meets with customers at their home, what happens if the customer injures themselves on their property?
  • What happens if your employee injures themselves at home during their work time?
  • What if all their business equipment is stolen, or their laptop or computer is infected by a cyber virus?

Agile CyberCare covers small businesses against cyber threats and data breaches, including 24/7 emergency response for incidents.

Cyber Liability Insurance is designed to help protect you from claims and support your profitability in the event of a cyber breach or attack.

Agile CyberSelect is aimed at mid-market to corporate clients and is a comprehensive Cyber Insurance policy with 16 policy benefits and 24/7 incident response.

Below are some considerations that you should discuss with your adviser to ensure your insurance policies safeguard your business, employees and customers. 

  • Workers Compensation: Covers any psychological or physical injuries sustained by your employees when they are working from home.
  • Public Liability: Insurance that covers any injuries to customers on your employee’s premises. 
  • Computer Insurance: To cover loss or damage to company equipment. 
  • Cyber Insurance: To provide cover for hacking of smart phones and computers and loss of confidential, personal, or sensitive data by cyber criminals. 
  • Management Liability: Protects the directors and officers for legal costs and damages in the event of a breach of WH&S or employment laws. 

To assist you to decide whether you have the right insurances in place now for work at home employees, talk to one of our insurance professionals today. 

General Advice Warning: This advice is general and does not take into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. You should consider whether the advice is appropriate for you and your personal circumstances. Before you make any decision about whether to acquire a certain product, you should obtain and read the relevant product disclosure statement.

All information above has been provided by the author.

Insurance Advisernet, ABN 15 003 886 687, AFSL 240549

This article originally appeared on Insurance Advisernet News and has been published here with permission.

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