How safe and secure are you and your family?
If you work from home and have always wanted a safe working environment for everyone, then the Home Office Safety and Security Week is for you,which is observed every second week of January. During which (although should be all the time), remote workers are encouraged to assess and improve their workplace’s safety and security.
Because who else is sick and tired of that office space and being confined in a cubicle? You know, that feeling of being so fascinated by your work you just stare at it all day.
Are you with me?
Thanks to the pandemic and open-minded CEOs, that demanding 8-5 routine might be coming to an end. Perhaps, it already did for you. With the world as we know it today, the idea of working from home has become a necessity rather than a luxury.
You see, any adult can agree that offices are not always the ideal place to work (unless you’re a cold-hearted workhorse machine).
They’re confining. Often uninspiring (except for the exit door). They’re way too long to get to. And your bosses have their eyes on you like a hawk. Not to mention your co-worker who’s a gossipmonger and victim player⸺ yeah we all have (or “had”, thankfully) those.
As the world starts to realize that work doesn’t need a corporate address, working remotely from home is the future.
And why not? It’s more convenient. It’s less stressful (sorry if you’ve got 5 babies at home though). No more commuting and sitting in the traffic thus more time with family. More personalized workspace. Better time flexibility and productivity.
And what’s more? You don’t even have to wear pants!
How good is that?
Working from home caveats
The thing is, however, working remotely ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. That’s why the Home Office Safety and Security Week is here to raise awareness.
With the upward trend of remote work, more and more people will have to face the challenges of working from home.
First, working from home requires self-discipline and family cooperation. While studies have seen higher productivity among remote workers compared to office workers, distractions abound (crying baby, household chores, endless favors from family members, etc.), and the TV remote is at your fingertips (Netflix and YouTube are blackholes that won’t let you get back to work, I tell you).
Make sure to have separation and isolation ⸺ a specific area intended for work alone and away from other people. And speaking of which, having a door intercom can help you identify who’s there. This helps you decide whether someone’s consciousness absolutely has to intrude upon yours or just ignore and carry on.
Second, unlike your company building, your house doesn’t have security personnel working around the clock. You don’t have (yet) the luxury of high-end business safes or an IT expert on standby (unless, of course, you’re the IT guy yourself).
But that doesn’t mean you’ll have to leave your home vulnerable to burglary. Lest you forget, about 2.5 million burglaries still happen every year!
The good news is you don’t have to break the bank on home security companies. Affordable yet effective do-it-yourself security products like CCTVs, alarm sensors, and smart lights are a great way to start with.
Other than that, here are other key points to ensure a safe and secure home office.
Secure your home office devices and valuables
The Home Office Safety and Security Week is geared towards vigilance.
Although your home may not have all the bells and whistles of a corporate fortress, your security options as a remote worker are not limited. And with the increased technology and important documents at home, the more reason to step up your security measures.
Aside from setting up DIY video surveillance and alarm system throughout, do the following and you’ll have peace of mind working from home.
1. Upgrade your home office door locks
Consider your home office as a treasure cave. It’s where you create wealth for your family. Thus, it only makes sense not to be smug about its security.
For this, regular locks won’t suffice⸺ they can be picked and smashed. What you want is an electronic door lock that combines the security of a numeric keypad lock and a physical key. Wanna take it to the next level? Then biometric door locks are ready when you are.
Wait… how about your keys? They’re small and easy to lose, aren’t they? Store them in a key cabinet and you’re set!
2. Secure important documents and data media
Don’t leave important papers and data media just laying around. Wind could blow them away. Burglars could take them away. Family members might be led astray. And your cute little pug can’t be charged with destruction of property, I must say.
But hey (rhymed eh). Would you believe me if I tell you that such many problems can be solved by one thing?
It’s a heavy-duty storage medium engineered to protect your valued documents from fire, water, dust, theft, kids, prying eyes; and you being fired (you lose that irreplaceable file, you lose your job… knock on wood). That’s how useful it is.
A cabinet is too big to your liking?
Then a data media safe is a portable yet durable alternative. It’s perfect for your CD, USB, cold storage wallet, and valuable booklets.
3. Shred before you shed
Don’t just chuck data papers into the bin. Remember that dumpster divers are everywhere and get this…one man’s trash is another man’s cash! Nope. We’re not talking about garbage recycling here.
So, to prevent identity theft and other people snooping at your discarded papers, an effective shredder is a must. It will render your papers, cards, and CDs useless and unreadable⸺ very much so that even Sherlock Holmes can’t restore.
4. Keep devices out of burglar’s reach
When you work from home, you’ll most likely use a laptop for convenience. And when you do, you wanna work somewhere with a great view and fresh air. Where would that be? You’ve guessed it (well, I never doubted you) … by the window.
But therein lies 2 security threats.
One, the window is a common ingress for burglars and people can see your activity from the outside. Two, your laptop is so lightweight burglars only need to slip a finger or two to make it magically disappear.
See the picture?
But fret not. I’ve got 2 security solutions for you.
One, install a window alarm sensor and reinforce the glass panes with security film to make them shatter-proof. Two, attach your laptop to the table or wall using a security cable or better yet, store your laptop and other valuables in ahome office safe after use. Do these and the devil’s effort will be in vain.
5. Secure your mailbox
While working remotely, your boss might send many documents and paperwork to your home address. Beware! Because in 2018 alone, the United States Postal Inspection Service arrested almost 2,500 mail and package theft, suspects.
Alarming, isn’t it?
Not really… if you’re using a high-security mailbox that locks up all received items. Get one (or two, for your good neighbor too) and you won’t have to worry about tampered with or stolen mail.
Make your home office electrical hazards free
When you work from home, you also bring home all the technology required for the job. And that means more power consumption. If overlooked, could lead to an electrical overload⸺ a ticking time bomb… literally.
Before you know it, your circuit wiring is toasted and your house is on fire.
How do I know this?
I may not know much about thermodynamics but our brave men at the National Fire Protection Association report roughly 44,880 home firesinvolving electrical failure every year. Apparently, many are still clueless about electrical safety.
Hence, here’s how NOT to turn work-from-home into a tragedy.
1. Plug your devices directly into the wall outlet
Extension cords should only be used short-term temporarily.
2. Do not turn on too many devices at once
This includes lightings⸺ power consumption is further reduced if you replace halogen or incandescent light bulbs with energy-efficient LED or CFL.
3. Always check your electrical wires
There should be no cracks on the insulation and no exposed copper. If there is, kill the main switch and wrap it with electrical tape. Replace the entire wire if needed.
4. Organize your wires and outlets
Declutter them so you’ll know which outlet supplies what device. Doing so will prevent you from plugging everything into the same line which could overload it. On top of that, keep everything away from pathways to prevent trips and electric shock.
5. Be careful with liquids
Water, coffee, or any liquid for that matter (I hope your pet doesn’t pee on the floor) is a great electric conductor. So, be mindful of where you place them to avoid spills.
Time to go to work… at home
Working from home while living with your family can be challenging. But with open communication, proven-effective security products, and applying the best practices herein, life-work (not the other way around) balance is achievable.
So, take part in this year’s Home Office Safety and Security Weekand kickstart your work from home journey with confidence and peace of mind.
“Remote work is the future of work.” —Alexis Ohanian