Commercial Insurance Profile – August 2021

Understanding Changing Sources of Liability Post-COVID

Employers have had many adjustments to make since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, and there still may be more to come. Even as the UK begins to reopen fully and return to life somewhat resembling pre-COVID conditions, it’s important for organisations to realise that many things have changed.

Many changes in organisations’ daily operations will have sizable effects on various workplace exposures and liabilities. Potential issues that may need to be addressed could stem from building closures during the pandemic or the ongoing utilisation of remote work. Whether employees are returning to a traditional work environment or continuing to work remotely, employers are responsible for their health and safety. Even an employee who develops a health problem while working full-time from home could file an employers’ liability claim.

According to Aviva Director of Commercial Claims Chris Hughes, the insurance organisation has observed a noticeable decrease in claims related to workplace slips, trips and falls. But while there may be fewer workplace accidents associated with the aforementioned risks due to fewer employees in the physical workplace, other risks may become more prominent.

Some questions employers should consider asking themselves to assess potential sources for liability claims after the pandemic include:

  • Have all employees been provided with appropriate equipment to maintain good ergonomics?
  • Do managers communicate regularly with remote employees to notice and provide support for various issues, such as feelings of isolation or burnout?
  • Has the water system in physical workplaces been tested for legionella?
  • Have building inspections and equipment maintenance and testing remained up to date during the pandemic?

For more information on employers’ liability claims, contact us today.

Help Remote Workers Be Productive and Collaborate

Working remotely has emerged as a valuable alternative to a traditional work environment. This type of arrangement not only helped many organisations maintain operations during the coronavirus pandemic but has also emerged as a way for employers to access larger talent pools. However, there may be potential issues with remote work, such as employees struggling to maintain productivity or collaboration.

There are several steps that employers can take to enable their remote workforce to be productive and collaborative, including:

  • Limiting distractions—While various programs and software can be a large part of making remote work possible, an excessive array of applications and services can result in unnecessary distractions. Consider when programs may begin to be redundant, such as utilising multiple different instant messaging services.
  • Providing guidance—While remote work has become more common, it still might be a new or difficult concept for some workers. Employers should take the time to clearly communicate remote-working best practices. For example, organisations should be clear about when employees are expected to be at their computers and when working hours can be flexible. Employers can also benefit from sharing various tips for staying focused in a remote environment.
  • Establishing meeting rules—Video meetings are an essential component of remote work, especially when communicating about collaborative tasks. While these virtual conferences can be helpful, it’s important to establish various standards to keep meetings focused on the intended subject. Employers may achieve this by requiring a formal agenda for meetings or by asking employees to mute their microphones when it’s not their turn to talk.
  • Being creative and social—Natural, casual interactions may be less frequent among remote workers. However, these situations may be necessary for sparking creativity and collaboration. Try to recreate these kinds of experiences through, for example, extracurricular meetings with the purpose of having fun, team-building or simply socialising.

For more information, contact us today.

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