I think the whole area of going back to work is fascinating and no doubt laden with risk.
Risk for the companies, the economy and importantly employees and their families. There are so many questions;
- How long do we stay working from home?
- Surely, we can't do this forever?
- Do we wait for a vaccine?
- How do we stagger the return to work?
- What happens if I do decide to go back to the office, will it even be worthwhile?
- If I go back, and the government advice is 'if you can, stay at home', then what happens to my insurance cover?
- What if I have to travel, are my clients likely to want to meet up?
- Do I have to wear a face mask?
- Can the company force me to use a contact tracing app or not? If I chose not to (for whatever reason), will I be excluded/discriminated against?
Not just work, but as my son looks to return to his Year 6 schooling, we have asked ourselves the very same questions as no doubt every other adult/parent has done too. And the teachers are asking themselves the same questions.
The UK as a whole (initially at least) did a great job in socially distancing, then moving to a full lockdown. These new rules that introduce shades of grey are challenging for many.
But, how do we apply the same shades of grey against a black and white insurance contract? If you could have worked from home, will Insurance pay out now or has that been updated in the T&C's? Can you get the renewal you need if the guidance is not crystal clear?
I've been on a number of calls (Zoom video meetings) over the last few days with my colleagues in Hong Kong; interestingly, they have returned to face-to-face meetings with clients. And I was encouraged to see my colleagues in France in the office yesterday.
Our return to work is imminent, inevitable and in so many cases, needed for our own sanity. Keeping an eye on all of these over the next few weeks as it unfolds at pace will be interesting, as well the insurance world's reaction to how we support and enable a safe return while mitigating as many risks as possible. Insurance companies, brokers and risk mangers here have a unique and positive role to play.
Government guidelines state that people should “work from home, if you can”, with employers told to make every possible effort to allow staff to do so. However, multiple sources said that the company, owned by Britain’s richest man Sir James Dyson, told staff they should start coming back into the office, in rotating shift patterns, from Monday.