Many of us work from home offices that are both convenient and comfortable, but are they safe? Unfortunately, we have to worry about crime in all aspects of our lives, and a home office can be vulnerable to a wide array of crimes. If your home office isn’t safe and secure, you could be putting yourself at risk.
Home office safety starts with creating an inventory of all equipment, such as computers, printers, scanners, furniture and other devices. This will help you to notice immediately if something has gone missing, and will ensure you have a detailed list for insurance purposes in the event of theft.
Many pieces of equipment come with serial numbers that are engraved in at least one place on the machine, but this isn’t the case with everything.
To ensure home office safety, create your own identification number for equipment that doesn’t already have one, and engrave it in the device. Just make sure you store the number in a safe place so you can find it if necessary.
One of the dangers of working in a home office is the lack of security for your files. The last thing you want to do is lose the last week of work, but that’s exactly what will happen if you get a computer virus or bug. Make sure you back your work up daily and store the back-ups in a safe place.
Many people who work in home offices have to meet new clients. While this might be an undeniable aspect of your career, it also poses safety concerns. When meeting new clients, suggest a public place rather than your home so you don’t have to worry about bringing a stranger to your house.
You don’t have to bring someone along when you meet with clients, but home office safety dictates that you should let a friend or relative know where you are at all times.
For example, if you have a meeting with a new client at a local Internet café, you should tell your spouse the time of the meeting and when you expect to return. This way, someone knows if you’re late and can respond to the situation.
If you work in your home office, you might receive deliveries from FedEx or UPS on a daily basis. Once this becomes routine, you might let your guard down and answer the door without thinking. Any time someone comes to your home, exercise safety precautions and request identification before answering. Alternatively, you can wait for packages to be left on your stoop if signatures aren’t required.
When you work in a home office, security is of utmost importance to ensure your safety. Solid doors with a thick inner core, for example, are best for all exterior entrances.
It is also a good idea to install a thumb-turn deadbolt lock that can only be used from the inside, and a security system isn’t a bad idea, either. If your home office is adjacent to the main house, make sure it is just as secure as the rest of your home.
Working in your home office all day, you may become lax about safety precautions, which includes your windows. It might be soothing to stare out at your front yard while waiting for inspiration, but if you can see out, others can see in. Blinds, drapes or curtains can help keep prying eyes away from your home and increase the safety of your office.
No one likes to think about the ways in which our home office safety can be compromised, but it helps to prepare for any eventuality. For example, if a criminal were to cut the lines to your home phone, would you be able to reach help? Keeping a cell phone within reaching distance at all times is the best way to stay safe.
Because insurance companies want to protect themselves, standard home insurance plans frequently don’t cover a home office used exclusively for work, and if it does, it might not cover the expensive equipment you store there. If it doesn’t, safety dictates that you should purchase additional insurance to make sure you’re covered.