For many female entrepreneurs, working from their home office in their PJ’s is a mega bonus. But if you’re a woman living or working alone, certain risks can accompany your independence. According to the CDC’s National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey, one in six females will be stalked in their lifetime.
However, there are many precautions you can take to keep yourself secure. Here are a couple of tips for staying safe while working alone.
Provide a Good Visual for Yourself
Unlike moths, predators aren’t drawn to light. When you’re working from home, provide plenty of light around every door to your house or apartment. If it’s dark out, you won’t be able to see who’s knocking. In addition, if you leave your apartment to run errands, you’ll be able to see your entrance way clearly if it’s well lit.
Mind the Season
Believe it or not, there’s such a thing as “seasonal crime patterns.” According to the BJS, aggravated and sexual assaults, as well as rape, increase during the summer time. Once the season heats up, keep your guard up and doors locked.
Take a Personal Defense Class
Having the knowledge to protect yourself in the midst of an attack is an invaluable skill. Do a simple web search for personal defense classes in your area and enroll in one with a gal pal. Some facilities even offer free defense classes for women.
Nobody’s saying you have to keep a cattle prod by your bedroom door or a Glock strapped to your inner thigh, but it’s never a bad idea to have a weapon on hand. Carry pepper spray in your purse, keep a knife by your desk or simply train your dog how to protect you against intruders.
Keep Your Personal Info Private
Be careful what you share with others online. Even though many women who run an online business need to share certain personal details, you can still take certain provisions when it comes to sharing your info. If your business address also happens to be your place of residence, consider renting a PO Box at your local post office for business related mail. Never share your social security or bank routing numbers unless it’s for payment purposes. On your company’s voicemail, don’t state your full name, only the name of your business.
Strength in Numbers
Predators always single out women traveling alone and rarely target groups. If you’re planning on leaving your home to go to the gym, a client meeting or a hot date after dusk, always allow a girlfriend to know where you’re going and have your client, yoga pal or boyfriend walk you back to your car, bus or taxi.
The best defense you can have is alertness. Always be aware of your surroundings. Double check if anyone is lurking around you if you leave your home or office and carry your keys in hand so you can immediately unlock your car or home. Keys can double as a defense tool if somebody grabs you.
Don’t become a statistic. Stay alert and stay safe.