Working Safely At Home
Most of us are completely accustomed to safeguarding our homes when we leave them. When we go out to dinner, we turn on a few lights, lock the house, and set the alarm. We head to the office every morning and follow a similar sequence. Our focus is on protecting our homes and possessions. Many of us have invested considerable thought and money into doing that effectively.
But with the growing threat of the coronavirus pandemic, all of our routines have been upset. Some of us are fortunate enough to have the option of working from home. But nearly everyone is spending more time indoors in order to keep ourselves and others safe from infection.
Different times call for a different perspective and approach to safety. Even security-conscious people tend to become less vigilant at home because, of course, being at home brings us a greater sense of comfort and invulnerability. But as our lives become more home-centric, it’s important to increase both our safety awareness and our safety strategies. We’ve put together a few tips to help you re-evaluate how you’re ensuring your family’s safety in these uncertain times.
Home security systems
Now is a great time to reacquaint yourself with the features your home security system offers and take steps to fully access them. While the best home security systems are intuitive and easy to use, some are so complicated that users are discouraged from learning how to fully operate them when they’re first installed. So get out that manual and re-learn what your home security system can do for you.
Nearly every modern security system has a “stay” setting that allows you to alarm your home and still move freely inside it. Some people only use this feature at night, or to accommodate their meandering pets while they’re away from home. But now that you and your family are at home all day long, get in the habit of using it all day long.
Be sure you’re also engaging all of the first responder alert features your system has to offer. If your system is capable of sending medical alerts, the onset of health crisis is exactly the right time to make sure this feature is operating to protect you. You can often add this feature to an existing system if you don’t already have it. You can also purchase separate medical alert devices if your system can’t accommodate this feature.
If you’ve previously been self-monitoring your home security system, now might be the right time to add professional monitoring services to your safety plan. We mention this because, in the event of a home invasion, you may not be able to contact your local first responders yourself. A simple panic button that automatically summons help in an emergency could be a lifesaver.
Mechanical home safety devices
Perhaps your home isn’t equipped with a home security system. That’s all the more reason to investigate some of the reasonably-priced and easy-to-install mechanical safety products on the market today. You can secure every door to your home with a very modest investment. And need we mention that, while you are at home, you should keep all of your doors locked? Many of us forget to take that simple but critical step except when we leave our homes.
Protecting your data
While many employers are equipped to help at-home workers protect the information they send and receive over the internet from cybercriminals, some small businesses have been caught unprepared by the current crisis. You may be handling sensitive and proprietary information at home for the first time. If your employer hasn’t provided you with access to one, you can install your own Virtual Private Network (VPN). Perhaps you’re not doing business from home, but you are doing more of your shopping online. It’s not inconceivable that, due to the coronavirus, we’ll see an uptick in cybercrime, as unscrupulous hackers exploit our increasing reliance on internet services to their advantage.
While the chances of a hacker intercepting information from your personal wi-fi network may seem low, you’re transmitting data to your Internet Service Provider (ISP) all the time. ISPs routinely collect data about the sites you visit. A VPN can protect your privacy by routing your internet traffic through remote servers.
Common sense is more important than ever
There are plenty of low-tech ways to improve security in and around your home. It’s time to put them all into action. Be sure the exterior of your home is well-lit by replacing those burned-out bulbs you’ve been meaning to. Try to keep expensive electronic equipment out of window- view and draw your curtains at night when the interior of your home is more visible. Reinforce home safety rules with kids, like keeping doors locked at all times and never opening the door to a stranger.
Most importantly, follow the guidelines health experts have provided to stop the spread of the coronavirus. Because there’s nothing more important than protecting your health.