In game modes that have hostile monsters in them, I’ve noticed that my hearthlings have little regard for their own lives, save when in town defense mode. Most recently, I built a town with stone fence around the outside to slow down invaders, but my hearthlings are happy to walk outside of it.
I’d love to see another tier within the defense mode system. The first would be the existing ‘call to arms’, sending all the civilians back to their flags, the second would be the default, sort of a ‘continue to work inside safe areas’, and the third would be the opposite of defense mode, like an ‘all clear’. The all clear would be activated in the same way as defence mode, which would let all hearthlings to complete the tasks they have outside protected areas. This would allow the player to have relatively uninterrupted work in town, while there is an active threat outside the walls. I’d hope that something like this would prevent my hearthlings from running to a goblin camp to collect stolen logs, plants, or items from dead soldiers. Micro managing citizens trying to keep them safe is difficult, especially since the entire town has to halt work to recall one AWOL worker.