Digital Risks Unwraps the 12 Biggest Workplace Risks for the Festive Season

Organisations advised to ensure they are covered appropriately for a worry-free Christmas

Digital Risks, the insurance provider for the digital age, has ranked the 12 biggest risks businesses will face during the festive season. From office breakages to injured employees, the ranking is based on Digital Risks’ analysis of the festive failures businesses are most likely to need to claim for as Christmas celebrations kick off.   

The risks cross a raft of different insurance covers that many modern businesses will need as they fend off festive threats. These include Contents and Equipment (for breakages), Directors and Officers Liability (for claims around misconduct or poor practices), public liability (for damage  or injury to third parties), employer liability (for employee claims), cyber insurance (for cybercrime and data breach claims) and professional indemnity (for professional mistakes). 

Ben Rose, Chief Underwriting Officer at Digital Risks, comments: “Far from putting a damper on festive celebrations, we’ve created this list to put business owners’ minds at ease. Breakages, injuries and theft are unfortunately par for the course as businesses let their hair down for Christmas.  So, to avoid being caught off guard, this time of year is an ideal point to check if a business is adequately covered, so that everyone can enjoy themselves without worry.” 

The 12 Workplace Risks of Christmas:

  1. Office theft – such as stolen laptops: During office festivities, physical security can sometimes slip meaning it’s the perfect time for thieves to strike. Whether office equipment or confidential information, all can be a target for unscrupulous festive thieves. 
  2. Breach of etiquette – such as bad jokes: While Christmas parties are a great opportunity for staff to let their hair down, sometimes this can go too far. When staff or management cross the bounds of usual office etiquette – inappropriate jokes, social interactions – it’s now more likely than ever that they will be rightly held to account. 
  3. Professional mistakes – leading to unhappy clients: The perceived wisdom is that business activities slow down around Christmas, but this is rarely the case. At this time of year, it’s easy for staff to let work slip or miss SLAs, earning the wrath of clients. Client claims for mistakes or missed KPIs are the present no one wants for Christmas. 
  4. Loss of income – through offline websites: Christmas is one of the busiest trading periods for many companies, particularly online retailers. But the holiday season is also a notorious time for IT failure, when people take their eye off the ball. Website error or even a DDoS attack during this peak period can lead to a significant loss of income. 
  5. Property damage – and sizzled laptops: With office parties in full swing, the festive season is a peak time for property damage. Whether dancing on the tables, or trying to perform gymnastic feats around the pot plants, at Christmas, no computer, table or chair is truly safe. 
  6. Employee injury – such as broken ankles: The modern workplace movement – encouraged by the Silicon Valley tech giants – has worked wonders for the work environment. But with many workplaces holding office-based parties, the potential for injury is much higher. The HSE reports that 29% of all workplace injuries are caused by slips, trips and falls – scooters and alcohol definitely don’t mix. 
  7. Accidental data breaches – and stolen files: Sore heads after festive shenanigans can be a big information security challenge. It’s easier than ever to accidentally copy in the wrong email addresses or wrongly attach files that shouldn’t leave the organisation and with GDPR in force, the potential impact of data loss is now even more severe. 
  8. Intellectual property infringement – such as unauthorised images: Marketing increases hugely around Christmas and New Year as brands seek to capitalise on festive good feeling to sell their products. But, in the race to develop compelling campaigns and chose eye-catching festive imagery, intellectual property rights can often fall by the wayside, leaving businesses open to claims from copyright owners. 
  9. Injury to others and property – through accidental damage: Inebriated employees can be a dangerous mix when out of the office, making the Christmas period a peak time for things getting broken accidentally. Damage to property when out and about is a big problem. Likewise, a wrong word or accidental bump into other revellers can easily flare up into fisticuffs, leaving employers and individuals with potentially hefty liabilities.
  10. Social engineering- such as payment fraud: Most employees are vigilant about suspicious emails, but after a night out defences aren’t always at their highest. Social engineering through impersonation is unfortunately growing rapidly and during the holiday season employees are more likely to miss the red flags and accidentally send information or money to impostors. 
  11. Cyber bullying: Bullying in the workplace is unfortunately still widespread, and Christmas parties can be a big pressure point. ‘Funny’ photos and compromising videos of employees enjoying themselves perhaps a little too enthusiastically can be a big source of heartache, especially given how easily and quickly they can be shared today. 
  12. Social media storms – such as poorly-judged posts: Alcohol is often referred to as a ‘social lubricant’ but when people lose inhibitions, it’s easier than ever to text, tweet or post something one shouldn’t. An unpopular statement or ‘joke’ that doesn’t seem so funny in the cold light of day, can easily lead to a social media storm and reputational damage for individuals and companies.

Author: Editorial Team

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