Safety when working from home
I just qualified as massage therapist 2 weeks ago, and I am planning to work from home. I can only do it 1 or 2 evenings a week as I am a single mum who works during the day and cannot afford to rent a room for now. I intend to start working soon, but I am concern about my safety and my sons'. What can I do too make sure I can avoid unnecessary risk, and if there is a risk how should I handle it.
My friend suggested to put cctv camera, but I don't think that is allowed.
Thank you for your time in reading this.
It's good that you're planning in advance, rather than waiting for an uncomfortable situation and then wondering what to do.
I think a camera would put off most clients, it would certainly put me off!
One thing you can do is take down full name, landline phone and address when you take the booking over the phone.
Another thing is there is no reason for people to know who is in your home when you are working. Just make a casual mention of a husband or boyfriend or brother or something at some point; for example when you come back into the room, 'Sorry I took so long, I had to give my partner instructions on cooking dinner'.
It is not something I would like to do myself, but I know some therapists only advertise as working with women, and will only see men who are partners of clients. I think this is so restrictive, but if you are really concerned it is a way forward.
If it helps, I've not heard of a therapist being physically attacked, the worst it usually gets (which is bad enough!) might be someone being suggestive or inappropriate, either hoping for something else or just trying to make you uncomfortable. But don't expect this to happen - I've been working over 14 years and this has never happened while working - a few dodgy phone calls that were easy to spot and turn away.
Best of luck with your new business!
Thank you for your reply. It is very helpful, I will take your suggestions on board. One more question, how do you handle suggestive or inappropriate behaviour? I do enjoy doing the massage and I don't want to be constantly worried so I need to build my confidence. Knowledge, awareness, listening, learning from people like you will help me achieve that.
Please don't expect inappropriate or suggestive behaviour - it's really not that common. But do have a good idea in your own head of how you might respond. I've seen a lot about this in various forum discussions - you might try Linked In which has a lot of good ones (you can Link with me and see some of the groups I follow and participate in.) In general, most people find it's best to address the situation, as ignoring might encourage a person to keep on going. So if someone says something inappropriate it's best to say "I don't like the way this conversation is going" or something. If someone acts inappropriately, best to say firmly, this treatment is over, I will wait outside the room for you to get dressed".
But again, while you should be prepared, don't expect it to happen. Set clear boundaries in your advertising and in your space (mine is comfortable but clinical with muscle posters, etc.), dress professionally and always act in a professional manner.
I have worked from home for many years when my children were growing up, although I was not a single parent.
I contacted my local Council to see if there were any restrictions for working from home and the lady I spoke to sent me a leaflet about working safely from home. She suggested arranging with a neighbour you trust a "safe house" you could contact in an emergency.
The only other advice I would give is "set out your stall". Have in your mind exactly how you want to work, hours, type of client you want to work with, set boundaries etc. and you will find that clients who are willing to work in the same way are drawn to you. You soon learn from what people say when they phone whether they will be suitable and trust your intuition.
Hi Nicki and Tania,
Thank you for your advice, it helps me a great deal and I don't feel so bad and vulnerable anymore. I called the local council and asked for rules and regulations that I need to comply. I also told my neighbours that I will be working from home as massage therapist.
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I had similar questions with regards to going out and about and my safety and one of the best pieces of advice i got from a friend was make sure you ask plenty of questions when someone calls to book a massage. If they require your services immediately, that night for example i would be a little wary. I was told to keep an ear for their tone when telling them i wasnt free straight away. I like to give myself some notice when seeing a client so never go to a same day appointment unless it's someone i know. If they become cross or awkward then i personally would assume they had wanted something that i didnt offer. I know a few people who this had happened too (even some guy who wanted my friend to come to his hotel room that night....?????) needless to say she went with her gut instinct on that one and didn't go. As mentioned before, no one needs to know there isnt anyone else in the house. If they don't need to go into the living room to get to your room perhaps leave the TV on and say "my partners watching TV, just let me know if the volume is disturbing you and i will ask him to turn it down" etc??
Hope it helps a little :-) good luck xxx