It’s becoming increasingly more common for people to work from home. Whether they work from their house every so often, or have entire jobs that take place at the home. With this new working lifestyle comes some challenges. It’s important for employers to keep their employees safe outside of the office — rather, in their new office. The same dangers present in an office are at the home, but additional dangers can arise: a break-in, fire or natural event, or an accident with children and pets. How can employers keep their employees safe, and how can workers make sure their home is protected? Here are a few work from home safety tips.
Prior to the trend of working from home, it was not uncommon to see homes outfitted with fully functional offices. These were for people who worked from home, or simply those who needed to complete other tasks at the house. Working from home is not necessarily riskier than working in an office, but when you work from home there isn’t a boss, safety code, or standards that need to be met to keep everyone safe. Each individual is unique and will have their own safety needs. Especially considering the time of day that is worked, what the job entails, and other variables.
What Do You Need to Do to Work from Home Safely?
A home office should be no smaller than 36 square feet, with the work surface being at least 30 inches. Workers should also have the proper surge protection and power requirements to avoid damaging equipment or a potential fire situation.
Work from Home Safety Tips:
- Never overload power strips with appliances.
- Make sure your computer is at the right height and your desk and chair are comfortable.
- Have a quality ergonomic chair, a good desk, and an option to be able to stand at your desk. Studies have shown the dangers of sitting all day.
- Secure your equipment, including: faxes, printers, scanners, computers and other materials.
- Meet with new clients or prospects in a public place instead of your home office.
- If you’re having a meeting or going to a meeting, make sure someone knows where you are and who you’re meeting with.
Most treatable home injuries go unreported, but some serious injuries happen and employers should be notified. Though telework likely prevents more injuries than those that occur, because the most dangerous part of work is having to get behind the wheel to get there.
Additional problems that arise:
- Poor posture
- Inadequate emergency practicing or planning
- Wiring and electrical equipment that isn’t safe or poses hazards
- Home that’s under construction or being modified contributes to unsafe environment
- The dangers that accompany having kids and pets in the house (they can knock over equipment, trip on wires, or cause other incidents)
You can beef up your security efforts by requiring participants to enter a password to have access inside your virtual meeting. This keeps unwanted visitors from entering your digital space.
Working From Home Safety Tips: Focus on You
We know what you’re thinking—isn’t it counterintuitive to focus energy on yourself when you’re supposed to be getting work done? But au contraire, taking care of yourself is one of the best ways to ensure you’re be highly functioning and ready to complete assignments.
Adjusting to working remotely can be a difficult undertaking for some. Perhaps you miss being able to swing by your coworker’s desk to talk about that show you both love. Or maybe you’re finding too many distractions while working remotely and it’s suddenly tough to distinguish your work life from your personal life. Take care of yourself and set yourself up for success with these tips:
- Set Aside Timed Breaks
- Put Some (Real) Clothes On
- Take a Stand
Set Aside Timed Breaks
The last thing you’ll want to experience when working from home is burnout. As mentioned before, it can be easy to blur the line between work and non-work hours when you’re remote.
However, this doesn’t mean you should be extending your work hours just because you’re at home. Working from home also doesn’t mean taking a short break is out of the question, either.
Let your mind rest with a 15-20 minute break every hour or so. To truly savor this time, we suggest doing something that can get your body moving–like a nice walk or stretches. Now is the time to head into your kitchen to enjoy a couple of snacks or water the succulent sitting by the sink. Remember to keep track of how long your breaks last so you can return to work in a reasonable amount of time.
Put Some (Real) Clothes On
While sitting around in your pajamas all day might seem ideal, studies suggest that it’s, well, not.
We’re not saying you need to pull out the ironed khakis or blazer each day, but it wouldn’t hurt to wear something that can motivate you to get things done.
Take a Stand
Sure, you may sit a lot in an office setting. But at least you can add some movement into your schedule each time you walk across the office to use the restroom or pick up the stack of papers waiting for you at the printer. Not to mention your commute. Using public transit or driving yourself to work requires more movement than stepping from your bedroom to the desk in your living room.
As you probably know, sitting for a long period isn’t healthy. It can weaken your productivity and lead to backaches, weight gain or in more serious cases, diabetes and heart disease.
Investing in a standing desk can help you avoid these risks while working to boost your productivity. Nowadays, there are many styles of standing desks for you to choose from. Some let you control how high your desk is with a lever while others can auto-adjust for you. Search online or at your nearest office supply store to find the right desk for your needs.
Don’t Neglect Home Security
When working from home, you’ll be aiming to cover a lot of safety measures, but the most important of them is home security. If the home itself isn’t safe, then the other safety measures won’t have as much significance.
- Purchase and install a home security system.
- Have a cell phone nearby and emergency contact information.
- Install quality doors and deadbolts on all exterior doors and use them.
- Have window treatments that hide what’s in your office so valuables can’t be seen.
- Install motion sensor lights that will alert you if anyone is wondering around the yard.
- Have identification numbers on important equipment and an updated list of your inventory.
- Make sure your foliage is trimmed so that the house can be seen and no one can hide behind foliage.
- Use caution with people who are delivering items, the same caution you would use at an office. Make sure they can identify themselves and state who they are.
Important Note: Review your homeowners insurance policy and have a rider to cover your home office. Most companies make you take out a rider for the home, and you want to be covered for whatever happens.