When my sons were little, I baby-proofed my entire house. Between cabinet latches, toilet locks and baby gates, our house was safe. I realized it was time to remove the locks when my younger son showed his babysitter how to use them.
Taking the time to make your home safe for your kids is important, but who’s keeping your office safe for you? All it takes is one fall to break a leg and you’re out of commission for weeks. If you don’t have a staff or a virtual assistant, who will keep your office running smoothly?
Whether you work by yourself, or with others, an injury is still inconvenient. These five steps can help you make your home office safe.
1. Keep your path clear.
Avoid accidental falls by securing loose cables instead of letting them snake throughout your home office. Keep your home office from becoming an obstacle course by putting things away where they belong or close to where they belong. I used to put things on the floor “for now” and would forget I did that until I tripped over whatever it was I should have moved earlier. Graceful is not my middle name!
2. Place items strategically.
Set up your home office so you can reach the equipment and supplies you use often and reduce the strain on your back. You may not notice the effects of regular up, down, and twisting motions until you feel a sharp pain shooting up your spine or down your neck.
3. Strive for support.
Avoid neck, back, and even wrist injury by using a chair that supports your back while absorbing and distributing your weight. In other words, don’t use your kitchen chair or dining room table chair in place of an ergonomically correct chair. Sharp pains or a throbbing in your neck are a sure sign that your monitor is either too low or too high (usually it’s too high). When you use an adjustable chair, you can set it so the monitor is at the right height. Or you can use a monitor riser to help you reduce neck strain.
4. Manage stacks.
It’s easy to think you’ll be able to tackle the stacks of magazines you’ve saved all year, but who has the time to read everything? Instead of stepping over stacks, tripping over plies and seeing your blood pressure go up as your stacks rise, recycle them. If you want to read a certain article, you’ll be able to find it online. Also, not only will you be able to save space in your home office, you’ll be able to save money on subscriptions to magazines you’ll never read.
5. Ensure that you’re insured.
You may have homeowners insurance, but make sure that you know what it covers. Not all policies cover home office equipment. The time to find out that you’re not insured is before, not after, you have to turn in a claim.