- “What concerns should I have?”
- “What guidelines do I need to follow?”
- “Where can I obtain home workers insurance?”
Steps to Protect Your Work-from-Home Employees & Business
- Ensure that employees’ homes are safe for business. Before they begin working from home, require that employees comply with the health and safety policies of your business. Have your employees fill out a working-from-home safety survey, or do an inspection yourself. Check that furnishings and equipment are ergonomically designed so that the employees can work safely. You’ll also want to see that lighting and ventilation are sufficient.Be on the lookout for hazards. These can include exposed extension cords. Be sure that the residence has adequate fire extinguishers and smoke detectors.
- Once you’ve inspected the office space, take a photo for your records. Every six months, check the work environment to ensure that the employee continues to comply with the requirements.
- Designate a dedicated work area. If possible, assign the employee to a specific room or area of their home for working. This helps minimize the likelihood of injury claims. It also encourages the employee to set boundaries at home that will motivate them to remain productive.
- Ensure their homeowner’s policy is up-to-date. Require employees to check their homeowner’s insurance coverage. This ensures that their homes and property will be covered in the event of damage done during working hours. Have your employees supply you with documentation regarding this and keep it on file.
- Focus on cybersecurity. Ensure that all employee devices including laptops, tablets, and desktops are protected from intrusion. Have an IT professional set up a secure connection from the employee’s home to your company network. Connections with weak or no security leave your company open to hacking. This can put your entire business at risk. Also, insist that only employees use the company’s equipment.
- Stay in direct contact. Unless you check in with offsite employees regularly, you won’t know if they are having difficulties. Stressed workers tend to be less productive and can be prone to accidents. Make sure you have the right telecommuting tech tools in place to communicate and collaborate with your work from home employees. Check in daily and consider setting up weekly or biweekly video calls. This will enable you to see them in their home work environment. Monitoring their progress will also help you determine if an employee is better off returning to the onsite office environment.
- Review your insurance. Speak with your insurance company about having employees work from home to make sure that you are adequately covered in this area. Insurance specialists may advise that you obtain management liability insurance. Such insurance would cover the legal expenses that can arise from having work-from-home employees.
- Create a telecommuting policy. Clear guidelines regarding working from home can help prevent misunderstandings. It can also help protect you if something goes wrong with a home office situation. In your work from home guidelines, detail what is required of your employees. Be sure to include specific work hours, taking regular breaks, and adhering to safety procedures. Also, include employee rights such as your workers’ compensation coverage. Have telecommuting employees sign the document. This document should stipulate the specific details of the work-from-home agreement. Always keep these documents on file.
- Communicate that telecommuting is a privilege. Let employees know that you are allowing them to work from home as an employment perk. Make it clear that you have the right to rescind their work-from-home privileges at any time and for any reason. For example, say their home fails to meet the specified safety requirements or if their work performance suffers. Then you can ask them to return to the office.Offering employees remote jobs where they have the freedom to work from the comfort of home can enhance productivity and make your company a desirable place to work. Understand your responsibilities as an employer of offsite employees. You want to help protect them and yourself from the liabilities inherent in working from home. This way your company is sure to reap the benefits of the burgeoning telecommuting movement.
FAQs About Home-Based Business Insurance
Does My Home-Based Business Need Insurance?
- Work-related injuries
- Potential lawsuits
- Office and business equipment
Do My Remote Employees Require Liability Insurance?
Examples of Home-based Insurance
Business Property Insurance
Commercial Auto Insurance
Business Income Insurance
What If an Employee Is Injured While Working From Home?
What If a Customer Visiting a Home Office Is Injured?
Who Is Responsible If a Telecommuting Employee Damages Property or Equipment?
Before such cases arise, it’s imperative that employees check their homeowner’s insurance coverage. They need to make sure it covers them working from home.
Source: The Hartford, “Liabilities of Letting Employees Work From Home” https://www.thehartford.com/ website. Accessed June 7, 2021. https://www.thehartford.com/small-business-insurance/liabilities-employees-work-from-home
© Copyright 2021. All rights reserved. This content is strictly for informational purposes and although experts have prepared it, the reader should not substitute this information for professional insurance advice. If you have any questions, please consult your insurance professional before acting on any information presented.