The Covid-19 pandemic has, at last, established the remote working trend that was gaining traction among US companies only gradually in recent years. According to an analysis by Riverbed, it’s expected that about 75% of the workforce will ask their employers to extend their telecommuting hours by 35% in the latter half of this year. The same report also predicted an increase in productivity by 35-40% of the remote working population. Another report by Fundera revealed that about 5 million employees in the US telecommute for half of their work hours, and the number has increased by 173% since 2005. This apart, We Forum supports the stats further by revealing that only 7% of the working population in the US were allowed to work from home previously, which has now increased to 60%, as per an analysis by Talent Lyft.
With such a high number of employees working from home, there has been an ongoing doubt regarding the home insurance coverage that they own. So, are there any changes in the insurance requirements, or remote working doesn’t offer any additional insurance benefits? Let’s shed some light on this.
Is your home insurance enough for business purposes?
Apart from the building, where you live and work, the homeowner’s policy does cover many of your belongings, like furniture, equipment, precious possessions, etc. against damage, fire, theft, and loss. For example, your expensive DVD player, television, furniture, clothes, paintings, and jewelry should be included in the list of items that the policy covers. If you have your office equipment in the building, as you’re working from home, such a policy goes to the extent of immediately covering for damage up to a specified value. Thus, your current homeowner’s policy should be enough to give you some relief concerning the shift to working from home, but it’s best to talk to your insurer once to prevent any misunderstandings in the future.
Will the insurance cover additional business equipment?
It can be tricky to understand the difference between ‘business equipment’ and domestic ones, like kitchen appliances, television, and the other things mentioned above. Some business equipment may include high-tech photocopiers, design tools, servers, laptops, printers, and more. If so, you should check your insurance policy if such items are included in the list of contents that it’s currently covering. Many a time, you may need to make some adjustments in the policy to include these items and create a more protected home-office to work in peace. While ‘business tools and equipment’ are generally categorized under anything that gives you financial gains, the lines are blurred and, sometimes, difficult to interpret. Consulting an expert here should help.
The differences between full-time and independent contractors
Maybe while talking about personal property insurance in your homeowner’s policy, you ought to know that it differs in the case of full-time and partial remote working employees. A full-time working from a home employee may enjoy complete insurance benefits for any equipment that has been provided to him/her by the company, limited insurance coverages for personal properties, 100% coverage under Worker’s Compensation and limited liability coverage regarding injuries to guests or business associates on the property. As you’re working from home under the jurisdiction of the company, you’ll probably be provided with all the extended insurance and tax benefits, so that you don’t have to worry about anything and focus more on the work at hand.
On the other hand, independent contractors are generally paid more by the organizations they work for, as they have to take care of their insurance requirements, like business property insurance, liability insurance, and business interruption insurance, on their own.
How to ensure workplace safety for remote working employees
The remote working trend has caused a major shift in the work environment with the home being the hub for all office-related work. This has also increased the chances of injuries, health hazards, and ergonomics-related issues to some extent, especially for employees, who don’t have a proper workstation at home. While your Worker’s Compensation insurance may be extended by your employer to include injuries, trips, falls and other accidents at home. You can also go the extra mile to ensure your own safety by opting for extra coverage, personal property extensions coverage, additional liability insurance, and of course, flood and earthquake insurance to stay safely at home and work peacefully.
While it can be quite an investment to buy so many insurance products, you can discuss your requirements with your insurer and let them help chalk out the most appropriate solution for you without breaking the bank.
Working from home is the norm now and all employees should think about extending their insurance cover accordingly. If you’re prepared to address all the risks and threats that may affect your productivity, you’ll be more focused and productive.