When you work in a company, personal safety is often guaranteed by the other people working alongside you. But when you work alone, there is more to be taken into consideration.
A few years ago a friend of mine went to a meeting in a school hall, and as manager was the first to arrive to set up. It was during the school holidays, and as she walked down the corridor of a deserted building with the school caretaker, a man she had never met before, she suddenly felt incredibly vulnerable. She was absolutely fine, but it did make her realise how easy it is to find yourself in a potentially dangerous situation.
As a female who works from home, personal safety should be high on your agenda. Many of the following tips are basic common sense but worth remembering all the same.
- When putting your personal information on websites, emails and business stationery consider carefully what information you share. Having separate phone and emails for work and business is important and easily done.
- When meeting a client or business colleague for the first time, make sure it is a public place. This could be a cafe or restaurant, or make use of one of the many business incubation units which rent meeting rooms by the hour.
- Get a work based contact number from the person you are meeting so you can ring to confirm the appointment the day before – it is a good way of checking that person is who they say they are.
- Always make sure somebody else knows where you are going, who you are meeting and what time you should be finished.
- You can always schedule a call from a friend or business colleague which gives you an opportunity to publically announce who you are with & when you will call them back.
If you do ever invite clients to your home, make sure the environment is as professional as possible, for example sit at the table rather than on a sofa. You could even try a ‘buddy’ system with somebody else in a similar situation that comes to work at your house so you are not there alone.
Fortunately the reality of you encountering problems is very small, but it is worth thinking about your personal safety so that you are never in a situation of feeling vulnerable. It’s better to be safe than sorry.