Home Office Security

When you work at home, you face certain security risks that require more than simply keeping the door locked. These security tactics can help.

When you work at home, you face certain security risks thatrequire more than simply keeping the door locked. Not only do youneed to take steps to ensure your personal safety, but you alsoneed to protect the equipment in your office from burglary or othermishaps. The security tactics outlined below can help.

Keep your home and office separate

If clients, contractors, and delivery people visit your homeoffice during the day, try to prevent them from seeing yourpersonal space or valuables. Ideally, your home office should havea separate entrance from your living area. If that is now possible,look for other ways to set it apart. Hold meetings in your office,not in your living room, and don't provide a clear view of thelayout of your house and the valuables within it. Never indicate todelivery people that you are home alone, and handle deliveries atthe door, not in your home or office.

Don't have meetings alone

If you need to meet with a new client in your home office,invite a business partner to the get-together. If this isinappropriate because of the nature of the meeting, ask someone todrop by or call during the visit. Better yet, consider holding themeeting off-site. Restaurants, coffee houses, and even librariesoften have quiet corners where meetings can take place. Businesscenters - where you can rent meeting rooms by the hour- can be used for more formal gatherings. These centers oftenprovide administrative services, Internet access, fax machines,telephones, and other tools needed to work with clientsefficiently.

Set up a buddy system

Knowing your neighbors is among the most effective anti-crimetactic. Locate a neighbor who is also home during the day and workout a "daily watch" plan. Keep an eye on each other'shomes, watching for unfamiliar cars and faces, and odd behaviorfrom pedestrians.

Program emergency speed dial

When you work at home alone, placing a call for help should beas easy as possible. Set up your phone for one-touch emergencydialing. Numbers to program include the closest police precinct,firehouse, and hospital. It's also a good idea to put your"buddy" neighbor's number on speed dial. Also, ifyour doorbell rings unexpectedly, consider keeping your phone withyou when you answer. Someone with dishonorable intentions will beless likely to harm you if there is someone listening to theinteraction.

Use your alarm system

Many people who have alarm systems fail to use them, puttingthemselves and their businesses needlessly at risk. It is easy tobe lulled into thinking you only need the system when you go a wayfor a weekend or longer trip. In fact, many burglaries take placewhen people are out for just a short time. Get in the habit ofsetting your alarm system whenever you are out.

Don't advertise your absence

If you plan to be away from the office for an extended period oftime (such as a vacation), don't leave an "away fromoffice" message on your voice mail. Instead, call key clientsand business partners to let them know you will be traveling. Callin to check your messages regularly instead of leaving a messagethat specifies that you are out of the office.

The viewsand opinions contained herein are not necessarily those of AmericanExpress and are intended as a reference and for informationalpurposes only. Please contact your attorney, accountant or otherbusiness professional for advice specific to yourbusiness.

Copyright © 2002 American Express Company. All RightsReserved

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