The workplace as we know it has dramatically changed over the last few years.  Daily commuting to a traditional office space has been replaced with virtual offices, collaborative workspaces and remote employees. 

According to recent studies, regular work-at-home, among the non-self-employed population, has grown by 140% since 2005, nearly 10x faster than the rest of the workforce or the self-employed.

Employees are thrilled to bypass traffic and long commutes to a traditional office.

In fact, Risk Innovations transitioned to a remote office in March of 2018. The transition has been very positive.  Staff morale is at an all-time high, productivity is through the roof and our team’s work life balance has never been better.

But employers need to be very careful.  Remote employees raise significantly more challenges with Workers’ Compensation, as the employer has little to no control over the home premises of the employee. 

It is a real underwriting concern for our Workers’ Compensation carriers and as such, an important question on the Acord 130 application:

22.  Do any employees predominantly work at home?  If “YES”, # of Employees:__

There is good news! 

Here are some best practices to ensure your work from home policy benefits the employee AND the employer: 

  • Physically inspect the employee’s home office to make sure it is safe.
  • Clearly define the physical boundaries of the home office. If the boundaries are not well-established, an employer might be liable for an injury that happens anywhere on the employee’s property.
  • Set specific work hours.  Otherwise, an employee could argue that an injury occurring at any time of day or night is work-related.
  • Specifically describe the scope of the employee’s activities. This reduces the possibility a clerical employee could successfully present a claim for doing a physical activity while in the home. The policy should make it clear that activities falling outside the employee’s job description are not the employer’s responsibility.

Risk Innovations’ combines industry-leading Workers’ Compensation expertise with firsthand experience of being a remote office.  We help your clients navigate the changing workplace and ensure all of their bases are covered. 

Source: Property Casualty 360