What’s the damage? Accidents and working from home

broken typewriter

More than half of workers have seen vital business equipment damaged since Covid-19 forced millions to work from home last year.

More than six in ten admitted responsibility but other blamed everything from clumsy children housemates and partners.

Overall, more than one in three said that they’d had more accidents than they did when they were working every day in the office. The most common reasons cited by Direct Line Insurance were:

  • Spilling food or drink on it (29 per cent)
  • Electrical faults, including power surges (23 per cent)
  • A trip or fall (20 per cent)
  • Leaving the equipment on a hot surface (19 per cent)
  • Partner or housemate using it (16 per cent)
  • Leaving it outside (13 per cent)

And none of this came cheap. More than seven in ten said there was more than £500 worth of damage, while over one in three reported it to be more than £1,000.

The problems are also taking time to be resolved. Over a quarter said it took 3-5 working days, while 26 per cent saying it took up to two weeks.

But surprisingly, many employees aren’t reporting these issues to their bosses. Many thought they could fix it themselves, believed they might have to pay out of their own pocket or simply feared a reprimand.

The most common items of business technology damaged were: Laptops (25 per cent), mobile phones (22 per cent), desktop PCs (19 per cent), desk phones (11 per cent), and tablets (10 per cent)

Regionally, London was the most accident-prone city, with an astonishing 77 per cent of Londoners saying that they had damaged their business technology since the first national Lockdown.

Jane Morgan, SME Product Manager at Direct Line business insurance, said: “Our research shows that working from home can be risky. When vital business technology is damaged, there can be a significant impact on an organisation’s ability to operate and on its overall productivity levels.

“There is also the financial impact to consider. If an organisation doesn’t have insurance which covers business technology, the costs of replacing or repairing equipment could be significant – hitting SMEs at the worst possible time just as the economic outlook is improving.”

Direct Line has launched Business Tech Essentials, a new service to help businesses get back up and running quickly in the event that essential tech is damaged or stolen while working from home.

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