The countdown to Christmas has reached the single digits, which means that plenty of people are slipping out of the office at lunch to do some last-minute Christmas shopping. If you're among them, here are a few tips to keep in mind.
- Lock up the goodies. Keep your purchases in your (locked) car, (locked) office, or (locked) desk so that they don't "walk off" without you-especially if you work in a building which the public can enter. Bonus: If you keep your shopping bags in your trunk, you won't have to lug them into and out of the office.
- Don't leave your purse unattended. Running to the ladies' room for just a minute? Take your purse with you, or lock it up in your desk or office. Same goes for your iPad, smartphone, and any other tempting (and easy to grab) gadgets. Is your purse too large to lug around? Consider leaving it locked up in your desk, but bringing your wallet and keys along.
- Set your screensaver. If you're going out at lunch, keep sensitive information secure on your computer with a hard-to-guess password. Close out browser windows, and log out of your email and other websites. Avoid shopping online while at the office. It may seem like a great idea (no packages to carry, and you don't even have to leave your desk) but it's a violation of policy in many companies, and no time- or money-saving deal is worth your job.
- Report losses immediately. Did you misplace your key card-or was it stolen? Even if you're sure you had it with you just an hour or so ago, report it to security and have them issue you a new one.
- Keep an eye out for strange activity. Many offices have fewer people around for the holidays. If you're in the office, keep an eye out for suspicious activity, and report it to security immediately.
- Be alert in parking garages and lots. Parking your car far away from the entrance in order to get a little extra exercise is all well and good, but if you're leaving after dark think ahead, and park in an area that will be well-lit by the end of the workday.
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