laptop showing virtual connectivity

Working from home?

In these unprecedented times, more and more of us are working from home. Whether you are a practised homeworker, or new to it due to ‘social distancing’ or even ‘self isolating’, the same practicalities apply to keep you and your business safe.

When it comes to home insurance, some policies can restrict or exclude cover if your home is being used for business purposes. Similarly, your portable electronic equipment (ie laptops, phones, tablets) can be subject to limits. Another consideration is your car: does your car insurance policy include cover for business travel, or is it just the ‘social, domestic and pleasure’ category? All these need to be checked, reviewed and addressed to make sure you have the right cover should the worst happen; if you don’t then you could void your insurance and any claim would be rejected.

Then there’s safety to bear in mind. You might not be working in a ‘traditional’ office, but still need to make sure your workstation is adjustable to your own needs to prevent eye/back/wrist strain. If you are employed, then your employer is likely to carry out a ‘Display Screen Equipment’ (DSE) workstation assessment if you are using screens.

Safety also encompasses that of your data: ensuring your client information is kept secure is essential – it is the lifeblood of your business after all. Making sure you have good security procedures in place is incredibly important and doesn’t have to cost the earth. The National Cyber Security Centre has some useful, free, guidance; it’s not just about strong passwords.

Duncan Sutcliffe, director, Sutcliffe & Co, added: “The phrase ‘risk management’ can sound scary and intimidating, especially considering why many people are now working from home, but having a few things checked such as your cyber security and your insurance will save a lot of additional headaches in the future.”

Here are 10 top tips for working from home in the current climate:
  1. Check your home insurance cover for ‘administration duties’ or items used for ‘business or professional services’ – if it doesn’t, then speak to your broker or insurer
  2. What about your contents cover? You’ll want accidental damage cover for portable computer equipment outside the home
  3. Although not currently applicable, at some point you may have clients or colleagues meeting in your home. If so, check your home insurance policy includes public liability cover
  4. Does your car insurance have ‘business use’ cover?
  5. Check your firewalls, passwords and general cyber ‘hygiene’ to help keep your data secure
  6. Use a VPN (Virtual Private Network) if your business has one available – this encrypts your traffic, which is essential to protect data when it is transmitted
  7. Are product samples used for work covered by either your own or your employer’s contents insurance?
  8. Will you be using/storing hazardous materials? Are they being stored safely? Does your insurer know about it? If not, speak with them or your broker
  9. If you are employed, is the equipment you’re using appropriately covered by your employer’s insurance?
  10. Be cyber-aware: hackers are using the Coronavirus to get people to click on links, which can give them access to your systems; similarly if you are sending payments, then check bank details via phone (not using the number on an email) as these types of emails are easily cloned.

If you’re not sure what insurance you might need to protect you while you’re working from home, then give our team a call on 01905 21681 or contact us for advice.

Duncan Sutcliffe
Director, Sutcliffe & Co Insurance Brokers - Worcester, Worcestershire