By CAI Editorial Staff, CAI Rocky Mountain Chapter
As members of the Community Association Management industry, most of us would probably assert that, all in all, we feel relatively safe at work doing our jobs. Unlike firefighters, police officers, and others who are intentionally put in the way of danger in their line of work, as members of our industry, the fires we put out and the bullets we dodge are (hopefully!) figurative instead of literal.
However, it is still important to take your safety and security and that of your co-workers seriously, and to do what you can to minimize risks within the workplace. Below are some suggestions.
- Don’t come in to work if you are sick.
This sounds like a no-brainer, but in our industry it seems like workaholism can be a glorified trait at times. Some managers wear their number of hours slept divided by board meetings conducted (and multiplied by networking happy hours attended) like a badge of honor, and it’s easy to see why we can get run down.
As a community manager or board member, you are put in contact with many different people (and their germs) throughout the course of your day. If you know you’re contagious, stay home! Oftentimes business can be conducted just as effectively via email and telephone.
- If you see something, say something.
This concept can (and should) be applied across the board in any workplace environment. Is something damaged or broken in the office that might cause injury? Say something to the office manager so that it can be repaired. Has a fellow coworker been acting out of the ordinary lately and it’s a cause for concern? Contact your supervisor, Human Resources department, or even law enforcement depending on the situation.
Familiarizing yourself with your workplace and coworkers is the key, because if you don’t know what’s normal, it’ll be harder to recognize the abnormal when it arises.
- Familiarize yourself with emergency exits.
If an emergency arises, your initial instinct might be to panic. Try to take as much thinking out of the equation in the moment by familiarizing yourself with emergency exits before you need them, so that your movement is automatic. It’s a good idea to practice evacuation drills for this reason, as our brains will likely gravitate to our normal routes of getting into and out of the office.
- Keep your workspace neat and organized, and encourage the same from your coworkers.
Extra clutter in an office space can be a detriment on many levels. When put in potential walkways, files, boxes, electrical cords, and more all become tripping hazards. In the case of electrical cords, an excess of plugged in office appliances (think space heaters, box fans, coffee makers, mini fridges, etc.) can create a fire hazard. And if that desk is cluttered with papers? That’s kindling. Slips and falls are the top workplace injury, so de-clutter to minimize the risk!
- Make it a team effort.
If you don’t have an office safety policy (and you should), consider forming a committee to draft one and continually update it. Consider scheduling workplace safety training sessions; oftentimes local police departments will conduct an audit and session free of charge. Remember to stay engaged with your coworkers and encourage proper safety practices, and don’t be afraid to say something if you have a concern. Safety is a group effort!