This week is Home Office Safety and Security Week. I remember the days when no one wanted to admit they worked from home. People simply wouldn’t take you seriously. But today, home-based entrepreneurs are not only taken seriously, they are often sizable enterprises doing business around the globe.
As successful as a home-based business may be, chances are it doesn’t project a professional image. I know my home office is often cluttered and my desk is typically surrounded with dogs toys. Not exactly the image I’d want my clients to see.
But more important than image and organization is the safety and security of your home-based business. Something many of us who work at home fail to consider. Here are some things you should keep in mind.
* Insurance. Forty percent of people who work from home believe their homeowners insurance will provide coverage should they need it. That’s according to a survey conducted for the Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers of America. Most homeowners policies won’t protect if you a mishap occurs relating to your business. For example, if someone delivering a package to your company slips and falls, or the inventory you have stored in your basement gets flooded, don’t look to your homeowners insurance to cover your losses. Check with your insurance agent to see what you need to protect your investment in your business.
* Safety Equipment. Commercial offices are required to have safety equipment on site. Your home-office should do the same. As I mentioned, I often have clutter in my office — plus I use a space heater during the cold, winter months. Having a fire extinguisher nearby could prevent a small, accidental fire from turning into a full-blown disaster. It’s also a good idea to keep a first-aid kid nearby too.
* Childproof Your Work Area. Work at home opportunities are popular with many working parents who want to make a living yet have the ability to stay at home with their young children. However, children can create problems in your home office area. First, they can be serious distractions so it’s important everyone learns to respect your “office hours” and work area. But secondly, children can cause accidents or be seriously hurt in your office area. When I was a young child, I grabbed a box cutter in my father’s office and decided to use it as a fingernail clipper. It nearly clipped off the end of my finger and resulted in a trip to the emergency room.
* Personal Security. If you work alone in your home-office, be careful about inviting in potential customers or clients with whom you have no familiarity — especially if you’re a woman. It’s a better idea to meet them at a coffee shop or go to their office. Additionally, as an added safety measure, consider getting a private mail box instead of using your home address for your business.
These are just a few ideas to consider during Home Office Safety and Security Week.
For more ideas, take a look at this home office safety checklist.