With over 4.6 million people working home in the UK in 2019, the National Home Office Safety & Security Week, taking place 7-13 January, provides a perfect opportunity to remind homeworkers of the need to ensure that their working environment is fit for purpose and satisfies at least basic safety and security standards.
The starting point is to acknowledge is that working from home is different than working from a corporate environment. Specialist security departments and facility managers are tasked with ensuring that the required security functions performed in an office environment in the background and largely unnoticed. These same functions, however, are also required to be performed in a home-office environment, which may often be overlooked.
Fire and Electrical safety
If you have a range of electrical equipment required for your work – printers, scanners, PCs, telephone sets etc. – it’s important to ensure that you do not overload the lines and that your home electrical system can handle the demand. Regularly check your electric wiring system and circuit breakers. Installing smoke / fire detectors and getting a small fire extinguisher would also be a good idea!
IT security and Backups
We’ve all been there… working for hours and hours just to see your computer crash and lose all of your stored data and work. Make sure your anti-virus and firewall protection is up to date and use backups (secure cloud storage services or external HDDs whichever is more to your taste).
Physical safety & security
In the comfort of your home, it is so easy forget that a home-office makes an attractive target for burglars and opportunistic thieves. They seek out any opening that they can take advantage of, specifically doors and windows that are left open or unlocked or are easy to force. Anything of value that they might spot through a window will only spur them on. Getting an intruder alarm or a CCTV would definitely be a sensible idea, as well as simple safety routines such as locking doors and windows when leaving the house and keeping an eye on any suspicious activity.
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