Public places, as well as more private places of business, face security threats almost every day. Investing in security, both physical and technological, has become increasingly important.
If businesses are going to bring people back post-pandemic, they need to ensure customers and colleagues feel and stay safe. CEOs and managers are encouraged to assess risks and identify potential threats right now so that when business gets really busy again, they’re prepared to get ahead of these top security threats.
Workplace violence includes everything from verbal threats and abuse to physical assaults. There are four major categories of workplace violence:
- Personal relationships
- Criminal intent
Roughly 1 in 7 people don’t feel safe at their workplace. That’s a pretty significant number. And if workers aren’t comfortable at their place of employment, they can’t be expected to do their best work.
The good news is Americans do feel safer when employers provide prevention and training response programs.
How to prepare
HR and management must first identify what types of violence their workplaces are most susceptible to. For example, if you manage a grocery store, then it’s most likely that you will have to prepare for customer and criminal intent incidents. In these cases, management should make sure there are always enough staff in the store. Having one or two people working in their early or late hours of the day makes them far more susceptible to attacks.
Staff should also be trained to look for “warning signs,” use assertive interpersonal communication skills, and know when and how to discreetly contact the police.
Cameras, security guards and entry and exit control can all be helpful in preventing potentially violent people from acting out.
Crime and theft
Vandalism, shoplifting, theft, and fraud have become more significant threats because there have been more people working from home. This means there are fewer people to witness and stop criminal activity from occurring.
How to prepare
Most minor crimes are highly coordinated ahead of time. People know how they’re going to enter and exit, and what they want to take. Hiring a physical security team that patrols the area can make it harder for criminals to follow through with premade plans. Tour guard systems like Patrol Points allow security supervisors to create new routes in a matter of seconds. They can assign upcoming routes to guards before their shift starts. This way, they know where and when they’ll be patrolling, but strangers won’t.
Companies are also encouraged to invest in technology that will keep high-value items locked away. If vandalism is a common problem, surveillance cameras are often a good tool to use to discourage criminals. Post surveillance camera signs and make sure they are aware that their actions are being recorded.
Extreme weather and catastrophic events have become more common, and it’s suspected that this is due, at least in part, to climate change. If disasters are going to occur more regularly, companies need to prioritize more intelligent security systems to keep their staff and assets safe.
Fortunately, thanks to improved early warnings and disaster management, the number of natural disaster-related deaths has dropped significantly.
How to prepare
Obviously, no one can stop a flood or hurricane from happening. But companies can do things to ensure every person gets out of the building or facility safely. Instant communication and alert systems will be key here. In addition to using something like an intercom system, workplace and guest management systems could send out mass text messages to everyone in the facility.
Companies should also practice evacuation plans so that staff know where to go in case of an emergency.
Physical health has come into to spotlight. While people used to reluctantly use a dirty bathroom, now they expect to be provided sanitary accessories and physical space (where reasonable). Health and cleanliness are very important, and this is a welcome change.
How to prepare
Companies may choose to keep security systems or processes that they are currently using to collect and store guest/staff information for the purpose of contact tracing. Maintaining these systems will help protect a company’s employees, and the people who use and/or rely on their services. In order to make this a less burdensome process, leaders may consider user-friendly sign-in systems that allow people to register ahead of time. If the visitor doesn’t frequent the facility, the company can even email or text them directions, instructions, or helpful tips after they sign in.
Touchless access systems, like having an ID pass on a smartphone, will also become more popular.
Companies that take charge of their biosecurity don’t just protect their bottom line, they help protect society as a whole. Caring for the physical health of people will help prevent the spread of germs and minimize widespread illnesses.
Hybrid work environments
When the pandemic started, millions of white-collar workers make a quick and relatively seamless transition from working in the office to working from home. Leaders had a lot to think about when trying to determine how they would maintain productivity levels and support their teams during this unprecedented time. They needed the right equipment, a way to communicate with one another, and a way to safely access networks and files.
Now that the hybrid model appears to be here to stay, workplace security has become a more complex issue and requires more care and attention. As the dynamic of work changes, the way companies approach security has to change as well.
How to prepare
Physical security processes – since people are no longer coming into work all of the time, it gets harder for security and concierge to know who is a full-time employee and who is just visiting. Buildings are encouraged to have some sort of access control system. That could mean all employees need access passes, or perhaps elevators only work without a pass between certain times. The front desk could also have a secure master list of staff to verify who is and isn’t a guest, but companies would need to make sure that they update that list whenever someone is hired or leaves the company.
Space management – having people book a desk or room before coming in lets the management know who will be in the office and when. This also minimizes overcrowding and makes staff feel more comfortable. If something strange takes place (an employee who was not scheduled to come in unexpectedly uses access control to enter a building) the right teams can be notified and get ahead of any odd situations.
Merge cyber and physical security – these two systems need to work together so that they can provide a bigger picture about security strengths, weaknesses and trends. When these systems can communicate with each other, the company ends up with improved operational efficiency.
Companies owe a duty of care to their staff and clients to keep them safe and protected from physical security threats. New problems will require companies to implement new approaches and solutions in order to protect people and property. Combining people and traditional strategies with technology has proven to be one of the more effective solutions.
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