15th September, 2020

According to Direct Line research, the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a massive 18.8 million people working from home in the UK. And of these, about half are working from home for the first time.

While some people will be returning to offices, 2.3 million people now expect their home to become their permanent workplace. A further 9.3 million will work from home more often than before.

So, whether working from home is new to you or you've been doing it for years, here are our top working from home tips.

Create a workspace

Creating a dedicated home office adds around 4% to the value of a home, according to Direct Line's analysis of property listings across the UK. 73% of estate agents agree, stating that a home office makes a property more desirable. If you're going to be working from home a lot, then this is something to consider.

However, we don't all have the luxury of a spare room, attic or shed which can be turned into a home office, but that doesn’t mean you should do all your work lounging on the sofa. Some people choose to work in the dining room or kitchen where a table and chair is often already available. The kitchen is a good choice as it can allow you to more easily separate your work life from more relaxed time in the other rooms of your home. You'll also be near the kettle, which is a bonus.

Make sure you're covered

So, you've sorted your workspace, but what happens if your work laptop gets stolen or you spill your morning coffee over your MacBook?

The good news is that if your employer has provided you with equipment to work on – such as a computer/laptop, monitor and headset – this will usually be covered by their business insurance.

If you own your work equipment, then you'll be covered under home contents insurance for things like fire and theft. Damage caused by an accident will require accidental damage cover, so be sure to check your policy has this if you need it.

If your work is largely on a phone or computer, then you probably don’t need to let your insurer know. However, if working from home means you’ll have more visitors coming into your home or you're holding business stock in your home, you should call your insurer to check you have the right cover in place.

Set out clear working hours

When you're in the office it's easy to stick to the 9-5, but this routine can disappear rapidly when working from home. Before you know it, you’re working until 7pm and forgetting to take a proper lunch break. This can lead to burnout and lack of productivity.

Do what you can to stick to defined working hours. This might be your usual office hours, or you might want to discuss changing your hours now you don’t have a morning commute to contend with.

If your colleagues know your working hours, it's much easier to switch off at a specific time without the guilt of leaving someone waiting for you to respond to an email. Similarly, when taking a lunch break, try to step away from your work, rather than sit over your computer with a sandwich.

Stay connected

Working from home can be lonely, which some people will find more difficult to cope with than others.

This won't be such a big problem if you're doing one day a week at home, but if you're home full time, you'll want to remain connected to friends and colleagues using the technology available to you.

Whether it's Microsoft Teams, Zoom or any other video calling service, having regular conversations with other people is really important to your mental health and wellbeing. This could be a simple 15 minute catch-up each morning, or perhaps a regular Friday afternoon social.

We hope this advice will help make it easier for you to work from home. Find out more about what Direct Line Home Insurance can offer.