How safe is it to work in one of today's 30 million home offices? Americans are about to find out. Goin' SOHO!, the home office consultancy of Jeff Zbar, announces America's Safest Home Office Contest. Debuting on January 13, 2002, the annual contest will highlight the importance of small or home office (SOHO) safety and security. Whether it's door and window locks, computer antivirus and backup measures, use of safes, ergonomics and childproofing, carrying the right insurance, or any combination of the above, what makes you a savvy home security officer?
To enter, self-employed or teleworking home office workers 21 or older must submit an essay of 250 words or less on what makes their home office a safe and secure place to work. Submit entries online at www.goinsoho.com/contest.html; by mail to America's Safest Home Office Contest, P.O. Box 8263, Coral Springs, FL 33075-8263; or by e-mail to email@example.com. Entries must be postmarked or e-mailed by March 1, 2002. There's no purchase necessary-limit one entry per U.S. household. See the complete rules at www.goinsoho.com/rules.html.
Three winners will receive a safe from Sentry Safes, a computer lock from Kryptonite Corp., a battery back-up unit from American Power Conversion, Norton Internet Security software, a copy of Jeff Zbar's Safe@Home: Seven Keys to Home Office Security, and other home and office safety products. (Prizes are subject to change.) Winners will be named in March 2002.
Why is home office safety and security important? Two-thirds of new U.S. businesses start in the home. More than 10 million Americans are self-employed from home. Almost 27 million people telecommute, or work from home for a boss somewhere else. Millions more heads of household handle important family finances from home. By 2004, the U.S. should have some 46.3 million home offices.
But how safe is today's home office? Burglaries, natural disasters, invasions by a computer virus or hacker, and even the shenanigans of an inquisitive child make the home office a vulnerable workplace. With no security guard standing sentry at the front door, home officers may not even realize the target they represent. "Home office safety has been-but shouldn't be-an overlooked element of today's work environment," says Zbar, a 13-year work-at-home veteran. "Home officers must learn how to be chief security officers."