Being a Mompreneur is incredibly satisfying. You are your own boss, of course, which is not only a joy because you are in charge but also because it makes your company nimble and easily able to adjust to the market. It also gives you the freedom of working out of a home office.
Working alone at home means you can stay laser focused without office distractions, but are you safe while working at home?
I recently found myself needing to take a step back and look at my home office from the perspective of my personal safety, and I was rather appalled that I’d never addressed this before. I protect myself when I’m out at night, when I travel, and when I go to places I don’t know well – but I hadn’t really considered what I needed to do to be safe while working at home.
With over 20 million Americans now working from home this year – and that number is expected to rise to 60 million by 2016, home office safety is something we should all be thinking about. So what should you do?
Get to know the neighbors
With so many people working from home it’s highly likely that one of your neighbors also works from home during the day. Take some time to introduce yourself to your neighbors if you haven’t already, and perhaps find a local meetup of others that work from home as well (plus it’s good networking).
Make your house as secure while you’re in it as you do when you’re not
Sure, we all lock the door behind us and turn on the alarm system when we go out or even when we go to bed, but taking those same precautions when you work from home is a smart bet. If you don’t yet have a home security system, now is the time to invest in one.
Check your windows – and lock them
I’m not suggesting you deny yourself the lovely fall breezes we’re having these days, but I do suggest you be sure you lock the windows in the rest of the house while you’re working in your home office. Also consider window treatments; while it can be nice to see the yard while you work, it also lets strangers see right into your office full of expensive equipment.
Exercise caution when you answer the door
Chances are you often receive packages from FedEx or UPS if you work from home, and this can teach you to relax your guard when you hear the doorbell. No matter how safe your neighborhood is, you need to always check carefully before you open the door to anyone, particularly when you are home alone.
Don’t hold meetings at home
This might seem obvious, but even if you’ve had a long email relationship with a client, don’t meet them at your home while you’re alone. Schedule a meeting in a public place such as a cafe or coffee shop, or even take advantage of coworking spaces that offer conference rooms for meetings to members.
Use a buddy system
If you work alone, it is very important that you have someone you check in with regularly. If you’re meeting a client offsite, let your spouse or a friend know before you go, and check in with them when you return. Use digital tools such as Skype or Gchat to stay in touch with professional friends throughout the day as well (but be careful to not let them become a distraction). Being connected helps you stay safe.
The perks of working from home far outweigh these safety concerns, of course, but it’s still good to bear them in mind. Practicing these basic tips to keep yourself safe will make a difference. Of course, another area of safety and home offices has nothing to do with personal security – it has to do with physical safety.
Did you know computer related injuries increased by 732% between 1994 and 2006? But that’s an entirely different post, of course.
Stay safe! And check those windows.