Separation of Work and Personal: Don’t Cross the Beams

by Melissa Smith - Wed, 20 May 2020

Today’s message is pretty simple: don’t use your work computer for personal business when you work from home.

This may seem obvious, but I think it's important enough that it’s worth reminding ourselves of it on a regular basis. When we’re at home the lines get blurred. While you were at the office, you probably did the occasional bit of surfing here and there. Depending upon how your company runs its IT department, you might be monitored a bit more closely. Maybe they’re not watching at all, but these are still good work computer hygiene habits to establish.

Block social media sites in your browser. Consider blacklisting Facebook, Twitter, and any other social media sites that you’re tempted to browse when you get a little bored during work. I’m not saying you have to stay off the fun parts of the internet during work hours. Just don’t do it on your work computer. I’m calling out social media sites in particular because they contain such personal information.

Clear out your stored passwords. If you aren’t already using a password vault like LastPass, I recommend it as a great way to generate and store unique passwords, all locked behind a single master password for your account. At the very least, removing the stored passwords from your browser will put a tiny barrier between you and a site that you haven’t unblocked.

Don’t sign into your browser. Signing into your browser lets you access your bookmarks and saved passwords across your computers. Unless you love the idea of accidentally pulling up NSFW images during your next presentation, sign out now.

Use your smartphone instead. Not only will this keep your browsing history private, but you can also establish the habit of taking a break from your desk while you’re using your phone. Do a couple laps around your house or yard. Stretch your legs.

Lastly, speaking of your smartphone, remove your work email from it. Retake your life off the clock. While we’re all figuring out new boundaries between work and home, do yourself the favor of cutting this cord so that when you’re off work, you’re really off work.