5 tips for a safer home office

For small business owners, working from home can be fantastic, and if all you need is a desk and an internet connection then setting up an office in the spare room is a great way to save both money and time.

However, outside a regular office it can be easy to forget about safety, and this could mean you’re putting your health at risk, as well as the health of any employees or clients who come to your home.

That’s where Home Office Safety and Security Week comes in. From the 8th to the 14th of January, business owners are being encouraged to think about and improve their home office safety. You can use the hashtag #HOSSweek to discuss the topic online, or read on to discover 5 tips to make your home office safer.

1. Watch your posture
When nobody’s looking, it can be so easy to curl up in your chair or even crawl back under the covers to do a bit of work, but if you’ve done this for any length of time you know it’s a bad idea. A good chair is an essential for any home office, especially one that has back support and lets your feet rest flat on the floor. The best position for your screen is an arm’s length away from you, and the top of the screen should be at the level of your eyes. Yes, it’s tempting to slouch, but try to sit up straight – your back will thank you!

2. Tidy electronics
If the back of your desk is so tangled with wires that the idea of unplugging things makes you shudder, it might be time to sort it out. Your cables will last longer and be safer for you and your electronic devices if they’re kept tidy. Of course, it’s not just about neatness: if your home office has cables trailing across the floor or extension leads plugged into extension leads, there’s a real risk of injury or fire, so invest in some cable tidies and tame that tangle.

3. Protect your data
It’s vitally important to protect what’s stored on your electronic devices, whether it’s ongoing projects, financial information or confidential client data. You can do this by making sure you have up-to-date anti-virus software on your computer and by running regular scans. Keep your data private by password protecting your computer, and back up your files daily to an external hard-drive to ensure you never lose your hard work.

4. Consider fire safety
Everybody knows how important a smoke alarm is for your home, and it becomes doubly important when you’re spending both your days and your nights there, so regularly test your alarms to make sure they’re still working. Of course, prevention is best, so keep radiators and heaters clear of clutter and keep dust and flammable materials away from electronics that tend to get hot. In case the worst happens, ensure that your way to the exit is clear; you could even do a home office fire drill!

5. Remember your mental health
Working from home might seem like the dream, but that doesn’t mean home-workers never suffer from stress. You need to take care of your mental health too, and being at home can make this easier in several ways. Feeling nervous after receiving an angry email? Take five minutes to listen to some calming music before you respond. Approaching burnout on a big project? Go for a half-hour walk and clear your head. When your office is at home, it can be too easy to work every hour of the day, but you must remember to prioritise your wellbeing, recognise the signs of stress and take action before it gets out of control.

If you’re a small business owner who needs a helping hand, Get Ahead offers call handling and database management to help ease the pressure. Please give us a call on 01483 332220 or email us at office@getaheadva.com. We pride ourselves on being the staff you don’t see, but the difference you do.

Find out more about our services or call 01483 332 220 to discuss in more detail.