Home. It’s where we’re meant to feel the safest. Where the dangers of the world and hazards of daily life are barred out, where positive memories can be built in peace, where we raise our children and ultimately spend the overwhelming majority of our lives.
For the roughly 60 to 75 million Americans working from home on any given day, the amount of time spent there can double if not triple. With this in mind, the comforts and benefits of home are especially important and apparent for those making a living out of one.
However, the truth is our homes are far less safe and secure than we tend to believe. While there’s no immediate cause for alarm, folks ought to be aware of the fact that if seriously injured or worse, it’s most likely going to happen at home rather than anywhere else.
Added to a long list of existing risks facing homes in general and people in general, it’s easy to see why added time spent at home due to working there can lead to an elevated risk of danger. It’s ultimately just a matter of statistics.
To those working from home reading this right now, here are the most applicable health and safety risks to consider going forward:
This especially goes out to the guys out there making a living working on cars in their garage and driveway. Assuming you’re doing a lot of the work alone, a slipped jack could mean being pinned by a dropped truck for hours or days. For those thinking such a mistake is beneath even their modestly self-assessed abilities, all it takes is once. Never straying from safety protocol is key, but back it up with an affordable home medical alert system in case an accident occurs. This dramatically lowers the risk of becoming trapped for hours or days, which can be the difference between life and death.
Unlike an office or factory where management is over shoulder and the lab can be called at any point to conduct a test, most folks working from home are pretty much free to do whatever they want. Not to stir temptation, but for anyone who ever caught themselves wishing for a beer while in their cubicle or a smoke on the assembly line, the level of self-control required when working from home is significantly greater. The fridge is right there, and no driving required. However, we knowing the negative effects of drinking on ourselves and our loved ones. We can’t afford to allow this to become a component of the workplace.
Even walking the 500 feet between a parking lot and office building a few times a day adds up to much more activity over time than walking back and forth from the kitchen to the home office twice as often. Working from home means less overall activity unless someone takes literal steps to increase the amount of movement their body makes over a 24 hour period. This means finding time for walking, running, cycling, etc. – the usual stuff.
Most people are stunned to learn how little time they have to escape a house fire. What once took a half hour to become an inferno now takes less than five minutes. Folks working from home need to factor this into their workspace arrangement. While cozy and isolated, basement or upper floor home offices or workshops need to be equipped with an extinguisher and positioned close to an outer exit to reduce the risk of becoming trapped by smoke and fire.
The boom-bust nature of many work from home professions can lead to irregular hours, which can lead to an imbalanced sleep schedule. Poor sleep will likely cause a decrease in productivity, but worse will eventually increase the chances of heart disease, diabetes, and stroke. If nothing else, make sure to get six to eight hours of sleep for every workday. However, it’s best to abide by a healthy sleep schedule if at all possible.
For most people, home is a sanctuary. For those who work from home, it’s also a place of business. Yet to maintain the peace and security made possible by a home and home business, it’s critical to keep health and safety in the foreground of the mind.