A home-based or virtual office is often an irresistible temptation to the young children of a household. The desire to be with the parent who works in the office and to be included in their activities is a powerful attraction. Young children love to mimic the activities they see their parent involved in, whether it be sitting at a big desk with the computer or writing important documents. The key to child-proofing your office is to provide space and materials in a safe environment so the time your child spends there does not upset the productivity and peace of your office, but rather adds to quality time with your child.
Keeping safety as the major motivator, develop a plan of action to make your home office a welcome place for your child to spend time. Some ideas to consider when developing your plan are:
- Create a distraction. Set aside a corner of the office where you can have a toy box filled with toys that are suitable for the space you have available and is out of the traffic area required for the smooth operation of your business. Encourage your child to keep the toys in the designated area so they don’t become a hazard.
- Provide materials similar to those you use while you work so the child can “do work like Mommy or Daddy.” Be sure to emphasize that they now have their own things that are like yours to work on and that yours are off limits.
- File important papers promptly. Papers that are left sitting around are often attractive to children; they see you working and writing on them and want to do the same. Don’t leave important papers out where your child has access to them. Provide your child with paper and crayons they can draw on, allowing them to be creative.
- Make sure the area is physically safe for your child. Attach electrical outlet covers to outlets that are not in use. Look for window blind cords, hazardous chemicals and other such items that are used in your daily business making sure they are stored out of the reach of children.
- Get rid of the electrical wires. Cable ties can be used to tidy and shorten wires that can be a danger, not only to children but to anyone who moves around the office. Making sure wires are not in the way protects the people in the office, as well as expensive equipment, from damage.
- Keep garbage contained. The answer to this can be as simple as purchasing a garbage container with a lid.
- Keeping drawers and cabinets inaccessible to children with child-proof latches is another great idea. Small items present a safety risk for young children. Storing loose staples, elastics, tacks, and paper clips in plastic containers with tight fitting lids will remove this risk if you don’t have a drawer or cabinet that is equipped with the appropriate hardware to make it inaccessible to a child.
These simple ideas, do not take long to implement and the cost is minimal. Having a child-proof office in your home gives you peace of mind and has the added benefit and pleasure of you being there for your child.
Michelle Jamison is the author of “The Virtu@l Office Essentials”.The Virtu@l Office Essentials is an excellent book for anyone who is considering or who is currently working in a non-traditional workplace. Someone who relies on technology and their own self discipline to stay focused, motivated and productive at work. The virtual office is on the increase and becoming a popular workplace alternative, yet it isn’t just about the technology you use or the location of your office that will determine your success in a virtual environment; it’s the mindset you have. You can purchase her book at www.virtual-office-essentials.com, Amazon and Barnes & Nobile .