More than one-in-five SME employees who travel damage their tech

More than one-in-five (22%) small business employees who travel with business-owned technology have damaged it, according to new research from Direct Line business insurance.

Almost a fifth (19%) of these workers have lost equipment while travelling or working at a different location, while 14% said that it had been stolen from them.

The most common item of business-owned technology to be lost, damaged or stolen was a mobile phone (50%), followed by laptops (34%) and tablets (24%).

The reasons for damaging or losing business-owned technology are diverse, 27% said that they had dropped or knocked the item, 18% said they accidentally left it somewhere and it was never found or returned, while one-in-ten dropped liquid or food on it. Perhaps most worrying is the finding that more than one-in-twenty (7%) had their technology damaged by another colleague.

Nearly a third (30%) said they would be using shared workspaces, while 19% stated that they would be traveling to a work event or conference and 16% said that they would work from a bar, café, or pub. On average, these professionals expect to spend nearly a whole working week (4.9 days) a month operating from outside their place of work or desk at home.

They also expect to be carrying an expensive amount of business-owned technology. The average worker will carry £1,113 while travelling or commuting, with nearly one-in-ten (9%) stated that they’d be taking £2,000-£2,999 worth of business equipment with them.

Promisingly, many small business workers and their employers are taking extra precautions to protect their work technology now that they will be travelling more and operating from different locations.

Some of the precautions include ensuring that items aren’t left unattended (37%), ensuring items are never left in a vehicle overnight (32%), using protective casing on items (26%), taking out insurance to cover items while travelling to different locations (19%) and lock away items in lockers or safes if leaving them unattended at a location that’s not the workplace or home (16%).

Alison Traboulsi, Marketing Manager at Direct Line business insurance comments: “Our research shows that small business employees have frequently lost, damaged or had business-owned technology stolen. This is concerning as they are going to be travelling more often for work purposes now that Covid-19 restrictions have been relaxed.

“It is important that small businesses ensure that they have the appropriate insurance arrangements in place if company-owned technology is lost, stolen or damaged.”