How to Childproof Your Home Office
If your kids like to wander into your home office and wreak havoc with electronics, important client files, and basically anything within reach (your Dream Big Small Business of the Year Award, for example), you might find yourself perusing security system reviews to find out if there’s one that will drop some green goop on their heads, Nickelodeon style, should they try to enter. But you don’t need to go to the extreme of setting up a security patrol in front of your office door or wiring in a blaring alarm. By simply childproofing your space you can actually allow your kids to come in without the fear that they’re going to damage something important or irreplaceable. Here are just a few ways to create a symbiotic office space that both you and your kids can enjoy.
- Use height to your advantage. You have one major tool in your arsenal and that is the fact that you’re a lot taller than kids. This doesn’t mean you have to go overboard by setting up all your equipment on a drafting table, but you should be aware of the possibilities provided by the height advantage. For example, you may want to install shelves out of the reach of your children (high enough that they can’t reach them even when standing on the desk, say). Use this storage area to display items like your diploma, awards, and anything breakable. You can even place document organizers up there to keep your current files handy. It will not only deter kids from grabbing sensitive items; it will also declutter your desk. Bonus!
- Attention to detail. Although placing important objects out of reach is a good start, you need to take the time to look around your office and spot potential chinks in your armor. Get down on the level of your children and take a look around. Do you see anything that kids could use to climb up to a higher level? Your desk chair, small cabinets, even low shelves could be used as handholds to help kids get to the items you’ve secured higher up.
- Lock your computer. Setting your computer to lock when you haven’t used it for a few minutes is a just a good idea. You don’t want kids to get into your files and alter or delete them by accident. Of course, this won’t stop them from spilling juice on your computer, so you may want to avoid positioning it under your desk as most people do. Instead, put it on a shelf above the monitor.
- Secure files. Hard copies of documents (like invoices from outside vendors or contracts from clients) may be irreplaceable. To keep these items safe you need to get a locking file cabinet and make sure to use it (rather than leaving papers scattered all over your desk). Just keep the keys somewhere your kids can’t grab them. Don’t have the space for filing cabinets? Get a scanner to copy all documents to your computer so you don’t have to save the hard copies.
- Create a mini office for kids. The best way to keep kids out of your space is to give them their own. Since you may need to monitor them even while working at times, create a mini office area for them in a corner of your own home office. Kid-sized desks with drawers and bins to hold their craft supplies will help them to feel like they’re a part of whatever you’re doing and distract them from items they perceive to be desirable on your side of the room.
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