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3 Tips to Securely Manage the Workplace of the Future

By Andrew Gibson, Solutions Engineering Consultant at STANLEY Security

The threat of COVID-19 has strained businesses in various ways. Financial concerns coupled with operational changes and working to proactively keep employees, customers and other visitors safe are overwhelming many leaders.

When stay-at-home orders first went into effect, some businesses could pivot to a remote workforce and remote security management; those unable to do so quickly developed procedures and policies to promote a safer, healthier environment for their workplace.

Regardless of how the initial impact was handled, business leaders realized COVID-19 would have a long-term impact and require ongoing changes to securely manage the workplace of the future.

This realization surfaced many questions: Who needs to be in the office? Can we open the office to the public or other visitors? What schedule should we set for vendors? How do we enforce social distancing? And of course, how can we keep everyone safe and healthy?

Here are three tips to navigate these concerns within the new normal:

Set policies to regulate business space

With so many remote workflows and new technologies available, putting every employee in the office at one time can introduce many health and safety risks. Before considering reopening your doors to everyone, determine who needs to be at the office regularly, who can work from home periodically and who can continue with a completely remote schedule. After establishing policies, evaluate how best to utilize your physical space to uphold social distancing guidelines.

Don't neglect high-traffic office areas like conference and break rooms - reconfigure those spaces to reduce headcount. Also, consider surge events or busier times of the year. For example, retailers experience traffic surges during the holiday season. Leaders should react to these increases in human interaction by re-evaluating policies, floor plans and work schedules.

Finally, remember that returning to the office does not have to happen right away. Many organizations are planning to keep employees home for an extended period to allow time for the rollout of proper mitigation procedures. Regardless of your specific plan, use your space efficiently and work to enforce social distancing to maintain a healthy workplace.

Implement updated technology

In light of the pandemic, various security systems have either been updated or developed to meet the  modern workplace's unique challenges. Of particular interest are visitor management solutions that integrate with access control systems to automate building access, symptom screening and temperature detection, with built-in, custom workflows.

For example, employees or visitors entering the office can take a symptom screening questionnaire before even stepping foot in the building. If no symptoms are reported, a mobile credential is sent to allow building access. However, if an individual does report symptoms, HR can receive a notification to automatically postpone the visit. This process helps ensure employees and visitors have an easy and efficient way to report symptoms and the proper parties are notified immediately.

Businesses can also implement automated temperature screenings in conjunction with this process. Integrating this technology with an existing access control system eliminates the need for an individual to manually perform the temperature screen. Instead, visitors and employees are directed to a touchless screening kiosk upon arrival, which scans skin temperature. If an individual's temperature is outside of the established threshold, they can be denied access.

Advanced visitor management and access control systems also include a complete audit trail, providing administrators and business leaders a snapshot of how their office is used and who goes where. Insights such as how many employees are coming in day-to-day as well as what areas are experiencing heavy traffic at what time are insights critical to continually improving virus spread mitigation efforts.

Set policies for isolation measures

Many organizations have implemented prevention measures, such as providing personal protective equipment and outlining a schedule for disinfection. However, leaders must set policies on how to handle the isolation of individuals who fail screening measures.

This could mean isolating an individual already in the building or setting a work from home policy from those who report symptoms or a positive test. For example, if an individual goes through the temperature screen process and presents an elevated temperature, businesses must have protocols in place, such as a set isolation area and building exit procedure, to mitigate potential virus spread.

The workplace of the future is a long-term reality

The world we now live in is unlike anything many of us have ever experienced. The reality is the impact of COVID-19 will remain long after the virus is eliminated.

Business leaders must better define processes and policies and also implement new technologies to help ensure the health and safety of their people. Creating a safe and healthy workplace is a critical component of effective facility management, more so than ever before.


About the Author

Andrew Gibson 

Andrew Gibson is a Solutions Engineering Consultant at STANLEY Security, a provider of integrated security solutions defining the future of the security industry. Gibson has more than a decade of experience working in the security space with a background in a variety of areas including physical security, IT infrastructure, IT operations and project management. In his role with STANLEY Security, Gibson works to design and implement SaaS-based security solutions that protect customers from a variety of security threats. Acting as an IT and technical liaison for SaaS solutions and implementations, Gibson helps customers successfully navigate the convergence of IT and physical security environments.

Published Wednesday, October 28, 2020 7:40 AM by David Marshall
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