Whether it’s because you’re burning the midnight oil to meet a deadline or an important project caused you to lose track of time, working after hours is often an unavoidable byproduct of a great work ethic. The quiet office one encounters after the work day ends lends itself to increased productivity, and many workers find they can focus better in such an environment. However, workplace accidents and incidents can happen at any time. The quiet, empty office can place workers at greater risk for hazards because usual resources for assistance may not be immediately available.
There are no laws dictating supervisors must be onsite while employees are working, and it is left to the discretion of employers to set up their own policies and procedures for working outside of usual business hours. To protect employees, most employers implement safety and security measures. These measures may include improving the lighting around buildings and walkways, providing additional after-hours security personnel or integrating technology solutions with virtual protection capabilities to ensure a safe around-the-clock work environment.
Even with the best security systems and safety measures in place, it is critical employees adopt their own proactive safety habits to protect themselves. The following are best practices that help increase personal safety:
Communicate your plans to work after hours with co-workers, family and any onsite security personnel.
Coordinate when possible with colleagues to work after hours together.
Park your car in a well-lit area close to your building’s exit.
Keep safety essentials on hand and within reach—flashlight, batteries, first aid kit and pepper spray.
Know the emergency exit plan for your workplace and know who to reach in the event of an emergency.
Be mindful about who you share your work schedule with, and never share with strangers your plans to work late or alone after hours.
If you see a suspicious person during the day or after hours, notify the appropriate security personnel.
Keep your phone on your person at all times.
Throughout the work day, stay aware of potential threats and report erroneous activity or malfunctioning equipment such as broken door locks or burned out lights.
Before you leave, always let someone know that you are on your way home. If possible, notify security to escort you to your car or call a family member, coworker or friend to virtually walk you out of the office to your car.
Check inside and around your vehicle before entering, and immediately lock the doors once inside.
Prevention, preparation and communication are tried and true strategies to reducing your risk in all situations.
About the Author
Allied Universal Fire Life Safety Team