Live Assured When Working from Home
According to globalworkplaceanalytics.com, “3.7 million employees now work from home at least half the time.” While this can have positive economic impacts such as less traffic, less utility expenses, etc., it also represents a grey area regarding liability situations that have previously only existed in the office environment.
For instance, if you should fall in your home while working, should a worker’s compensation claim be filed? What happens if a customer visits your home for business, and your dog bites him? If you get into a car accident while traveling to the grocery store on company time, whose insurance pays? These are situations that could prove to be a liability risk for telecommuters and those who employ them.
Being a relatively new concept, there are still many undetermined areas of responsibility in the remote workplace. To ensure that you and your employer are on the same page, discuss the following concerns before you begin working from home:
To lessen the likeliness of a “workplace” injury, many companies will provide remote employees with the proper office equipment, such as a desk, chair, and monitor. If your employer will not be providing these items, be sure to understand how ergonomics will apply to your home workstation to help prevent common injuries such as back and eye strain.
One of the biggest risks of working from a remote location is the increased possibility of a cyber-attack. Ask if your employer has software in place to secure the company’s data, whether you’re logging-on from the office or your home. Be aware of your own responsibility in protecting company information as well. Taking simple precautions, like using strong passwords and updating your computer regularly, can help reduce the likelihood of a cyber-breach.
With the comfortable, personal atmosphere, it might be tempting to allow customers to visit your home to conduct business, but it’s best to avoid this practice altogether. Conducting company business on personal property increases the likelihood of a messy liability lawsuit, such as a slip and fall or dog-bite. Conduct all company-related business at the office or an approved meeting place.
While telecommuting is much different than operating a business out of your home, it’s a good idea to discuss your remote work and schedule with your independent agent to ensure that all associated risks would be covered under your current renter’s or homeowner’s insurance policy.
While potentially risky from a liability perspective, telecommuting has proven to be beneficial to both businesses and employees. A simple conversation with your Human Resources office and your independent insurance agent can help alleviate liability concerns. For more insurance tips and information, log-on to www.preferredmutual.com.