Ordinarily, we wouldn't head an article with an abbreviation but for a huge percentage of those of us who usually work at an office, working from home has become one of many new normal things during the last year or so.

This has led to a significant increase in changes being made to homes  to better suit 'WFH'. With many companies likely to implement a more agile and flexible working pattern for many as lockdown measures ease, it seems certain that the way we all work will change in future.

The transformation of the home into a more flexible place to combine living and working ranges from simply changing the layout of a kitchen or using a spare room through to structural alterations and adding outdoor buildings – the latter perhaps being an effort to separate family and office activities, or indeed to prevent small children and pets from making their presence seen and heard during Zoom meetings!

If you have made major changes to your home, then you should consider what this means for your insurance and we have highlighted a few key points below.

  • Cost of work – has this been factored into the sum insured for your buildings?
  • Outdoor buildings – do you have sufficient cover for outdoor buildings?
  • Security – home offices are likely to contain expensive and theft attractive IT and associated equipment, not to mention possible sensitive files. If you have converted part of your home, ensure that all security measures are extended to include these areas, particularly outdoor buildings and converted garages.
  • Ensure that any electrical upgrades are carried out by qualified electricians.
  • Make sure that your insurer is aware that you are working from home. Different insurers will have varying responses but it is important to let them know for the avoidance of any doubt.

If your job necessitates physical business meetings at your home once the rules allow this, then you will need to make your insurer aware and check that your public liability insurance cover is adequate and consider any potentially hazardous obstacles within your home and grounds. This might include slip, trip and fall areas and also any pets – the latter in particular being something that is rarely an issue within the office environment!

You should always refer to your own employer for specific guidance on any COVID-related precautions and of course follow all appropriate NHS issued guidelines.

We've all seen things which are unprecedented – another word which has become more commonplace than ever and we thought we'd finish this article with a lighter hearted look at some portmanteau and phrases which have been invented during lockdown.

  • Shoffice – Shed + Office
  • Zoombombing – hijacking a video call (see our earlier pets & children comment!)
  • Elephant in the zoom – similar to the above, featuring questionable background or attire
  • Netiquette – proper online behaviour and manners
  • Blursday – any day when the disorientating effects of lockdown hit home
  • Coronalusional – see above!
  • Quaranteam – a group formed during quarantine to deliver a project
  • Miley Cyrus – rhyming slang for virus – we like this one!
  • Quarantini – cocktail created from random bottles found hidden in your kitchen or drinks cabinet
  • Coronacoaster – the emotional ups and downs that most of us have experienced during lockdown

Like many of you, Lockton and its staff are starting to prepare for a return to working more normally; in the meantime, we remain on hand to help, advise and guide you with any questions you have about both working from home and what this means for your insurance and any other advice you need.