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Childproof Your Home Office

Every work-at-home mom has a tale about chocolate milk spilled on important documents and files destroyed by crayon scribbles. To protect your work:

Sweep important papers into a drawer or a basket to put on a high shelf at the end of the day, especially if your office is in a part of the house your child can access all the time.

Keep your child occupied when he wants to be near. Besides having a box of toys handy, set up a small table so he can "work," just like Mom, without touching your stuff. Supply paper, tape, pencils, and some junk mail. An old phone or keyboard will also help keep him away from the real thing. Give him a file box or low shelf for "special papers" so he won't go for yours.

If your child can read, post a few simple rules in your office:

  • No food or drink
  • No answering the phone
  • No touching your stuff without permission

Secure the trash can with a latched lid or safety clip so he won't make a mess or throw out papers you need.

Back up important computer files weekly on a CD or Zip drive, and store in a secure place.

If you have a separate office line, you may want to turn the ringer off when you're not working and set up an answering machine. Even better: voicemail, which is accessible only by password.

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