Working from home isn’t a new concept. But COVID-19 made it the norm, so now, the majority of employees are home-based, and this trend might continue long after the pandemic has been put under control. If you’re still using your kitchen or dining room as a makeshift home office, take this as a sign that it’s time to create an actual workspace.
But the work-from-home setup has drawn a question from many American homeowners: Will my homeowner’s insurance cover it?
Homeowner’s insurance policies are designed to cover personal property used for personal purposes. A home office, though technically yours, is used for work or business, hence your homeowner’s insurance can’t secure it 100%. But it won’t completely disregard it either. Depending on the type of your homeowner’s insurance, you may actually get some protection for some of your home office equipment; for instance, a laptop. If your laptop gets lost or damaged in your home, you can get a limited amount of coverage for it.
It’s another story altogether for home-based businesses. That requires home-based business insurance, which specifically covers commercial property. But if you’re no entrepreneur, that type of insurance doesn’t apply to you. How will you secure your home office then?
Set Up a Proper Workspace
If you’re a work-from-home employee, you probably value your PC more than any of your other office equipment. As such, you should secure it the most.
Working in your kitchen or at your dining table can’t protect your PC much. In the kitchen, you could risk food or drink residue making contact with it and causing damage. The same thing can happen at your dining table.
Setting up a proper workspace will protect your PC the best. You don’t need to convert a room or a garage into a home office. Simply putting down a desk in a nook or a corner away from hazards will do. What’s important is giving your PC a safe place, and giving yourself a more comfortable space to work at.
But not all workers can benefit from the same type of workspace. Hence, you should consider a few factors as you select the best working or home office spot. One of those is the type of work you do. If it’s something that requires privacy, then you should choose a quiet space away from the common areas of your home. Your bedroom may be a good option, or so is any room with a door.
Whichever space you choose, ensure that it’s free from distractions. Make kids and young pets off-limits if you can; their rough activities may wreak havoc in your space and affect your PC.
Using your kitchen or dining table as a workspace is only practical if you live alone. Desks in kitchens are pretty common anyway because it’s supposed to be an area for organizing bills. The dining table, meanwhile, has a generous space for spreading papers like tax returns or contracts. If no one shares those spaces with you, they can serve you well as a workspace.
Keep Your Equipment Clean
Dirt can cause substantial damage to your office equipment. Your PC’s vents can collect dust over time, which can get transferred into its processors and cause speed issues. The dust may also increase the risk of overheating, and once that happens to your PC, your work files may get compromised if you didn’t back them up.
To avoid such inconveniences and insurance problems, keep your home office and all its equipment clean. Every day, before turning on your PC, run a damp cloth over its screen first. Distilled water is good for dampening a cloth because it doesn’t contain particles that scratch the screen’s surface. If you don’t have distilled water, you may use commercial screen cleaners.
To ward off dust, tackle its sources. Those would be pet hair, smoke, and outdoor dirt. Regularly vacuum your home office’s floors, run a duster all over your PC and other equipment, and clean the inside of your PC if you have to. Just unscrew the casing and you’ll see the processor fans right away. Remove the dust with a mini vacuum cleaner, or your regular vacuum cleaner using the smallest attachment.
Secure Your Network
Security threats are one of the worst things your PC can experience. Thankfully, cloud-based storage is standard in most PCs nowadays, so backing up your files isn’t as bothersome anymore. But hackers and phishing scammers may still be close.
Protect your network to deter unauthorized access to your PC. There are several ways to do that, including connection encryption using VPN, strengthening your network passwords, installing anti-viruses, and physically securing your PC. Beware of emails claiming to be your bank and asking you to log in to your account. Those are phishing scams; real banks don’t send out emails requiring their clients to disclose their log-in credentials.
Since there’s no policy yet that specifically secures work-from-home employees, protecting your home office is the best thing you can do for now. But even with insurance, don’t take your office equipment for granted; they’re pretty much our lifeline these days.