The holiday season can be incredibly busy, but it’s important to prioritize safety, especially in this unusual year. Beyond the traditional holiday stress, tensions are higher this season with concerning headlines about COVID-19 cases rising and another recent spike in unemployment. This means there are plenty of safety challenges on the horizon; both new and old. We’d like to share these tips so you can remain especially vigilant in both your personal and professional lives:
Home (and Work from Home) Holiday Safety
Leading up to the holidays, many households are storing more valuables than usual such as brand-new electronics, jewelry and in-demand toys. Home burglaries occur most often between 10 am and 3 pm as these are times when, at least before the pandemic, people are least likely to be at home. With more people working from home, it’s tough to predict how trends might change this year, but it’s best to take precautions.
- Avoid storing presents in a garage, shed or other storage areas with weaker locks and keep them away from windows where they may be visible from outside.
- Store other valuable items (including cash) safely too – consider a safe or tougher-to-access areas, such as an upstairs closet or attic.
- Break down boxes (especially for purchases like valuable electronics) and put them in a recycling bin or trash bags to reduce visibility.
- Limit the amount of cash kept at home and avoid leaving cash in a wallet or purse near the door.
- Schedule deliveries for when someone will be home to receive packages or consider having them delivered to a neighbor who will be home.
- Keep lit candles away from flammable items such as trees or other decorations and ensure that no decorations impede foot traffic.
Vehicle Holiday Safety
Holiday purchases left unattended on the back seat of a car invite theft. In addition, winter weather across much of the country can add further dangers for vehicles, especially those which have been driven less often in recent months.
- Always lock car doors and never leave keys or valuables inside the vehicle, especially if a garage door opener is stored inside the vehicle.
- When shopping in person, make more valuable purchases toward the end of the shopping trip.
- Lock items in the trunk of the car or in a spot with minimal visibility, such as under a blanket on the floor.
- Avoid making unnecessary stops with items in the vehicle and remove all purchases from the car once home.
- Park in well-lit areas and maintain an awareness of your surroundings when entering and exiting your vehicle.
- Ensure that vehicles are still adequately maintained, even if they are driven less now.
- If PPE (personal protective equipment) such as masks are required in the area, store additional face coverings in the vehicle in case of an emergency.
Online Shopping Holiday Safety
The pandemic has spurred an increase in online shopping which leaves consumers vulnerable to scams and other cybercrime. Those who do not frequently shop online may also need to be especially careful.
- Choose reputable retailers who you know and trust or ask others for recommendations of trustworthy options.
- Ensure transactions take place over a secure server (check the URL for https, not just http).
- Remember to create strong and unique passwords for all accounts (password managers can help to keep track).
- Pay with credit cards when possible to reduce the risk of fraud and check bank statements closely so you can quickly report fraudulent activity.
- Be cautious with emails – check for red flags such as an unusual sender’s email address or links that lead to unexpected websites.
Traveling Holiday Safety During a Pandemic
While COVID-19 restrictions are increasing in many locations across the country, some travel may still be safe, such as visiting close family, and travel may remain essential for certain individuals, such as certain work-related travel.
- Check local COVID-19 guidelines and travel restrictions for all locations, both for home and the destination(s).
- Avoid sharing about travel on public platforms, including social media.
- Ask a friend or neighbor to check for mail, packages, newspapers and other deliveries that may indicate a home is unoccupied.
- Consider light and television timers or ask someone to switch them on/off periodically.
Workplace Holiday Safety
Many workplaces look different now – from hospitals with an increased presence onsite to small offices that only need occasional onsite maintenance. Some sites have also had to navigate re-opening (and even re-closing). Regardless of the cause, security needs are fluctuating more than ever, and clients need providers who can offer any array of flexible solutions.
- Remind lone workers onsite to remain vigilant and contact security or local law enforcement if any suspicious activity is observed.
- Look for security officers who are trained in and continuously updated on the latest safety measures, such as use of PPE and checking temperatures.
- Ensure there are sufficient additional staffing options for scheduled security officers who may call out sick.
- Embrace technology, such as remote security monitoring, for socially distant security along with the flexibility of being scaled up or down as the facility’s needs change.
- Consider security systems with speakers that enable remote communication between security and individuals onsite.
About Rosalind Fields
Rosalind joined Protos in 2013 as a Client Account Manager and was promoted to her current role as Director of Client Account Managers. She leads by example through consistently providing excellent customer service and trains her team members to do the same. Rosalind is responsible for monitoring day-to-day operations for clients and ensuring all client needs are being met as well as working through forecasting and budgeting with clients. Prior to joining Protos, her experience includes employee training and other management roles. Rosalind holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting from National College.