Most have accepted that there is no going back to normal. Normal being the times before COVID-19. One thing that many have come to accept is that a new normal will emerge. Even with vaccines on the horizon, companies know they need to prepare for the long-term reality ahead.
It will take time for the vaccine to be distributed. It will take time to bring workers back into the offices. It will take time to bring students back into schools. It will take time to bring shoppers back into stores.
For the foreseeable future, mask mandates will remain in place. Managers of commercial buildings must continue to control the number of people in the building. They may have to reconfigure layouts to maintain social distancing. Commercial properties need technology in the time of COVID and beyond.
Businesses must also consider whether they will require taking temperatures as employees enter the building. How will you incorporate testing for COVID-19 into your business? What will the cleaning process look like? How can you ensure employees stay safe at their workstation? What does the flow of foot traffic look like to keep everyone safely distanced?
What contactless technology can you implement? Can you add more handwashing stations? Sanitizing stations?
Physical security has always been an integral part of safety. It now takes on a new role because physical security is tied to public safety. What does this mean for businesses in terms of physical security?
The place to start is with processes. Once you get those down, then you investigate security technology.
Before exploring physical security technology, it's crucial to do a review of your existing processes and procedures. What are your processes for people entering the building? How do you track how many people are in the building?
What are your processes for cleaning? For help, refer to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's guidelines for cleaning and disinfecting your facility.
Do you need to make changes to improve the quality of indoor air? The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has a list of Frequently Asked Questions about indoor air and COVID-19. CDC has a detailed section on how to plan, prepare, and respond to the pandemic in the workplace.
If you're the property manager of a building with multiple renters, you will want to communicate with your tenants. They tend to design their own processes and procedures for all the above. Some may be strict about security while others are lax. To protect everyone in the building, set up a security council with representatives from each business.
This allows you to reach, educate, and communicate with everyone in the building. Each council member will be responsible for going back to their companies and providing updates. They will be responsible for overseeing employee training and process maintenance.
It takes only one person's mistake or oversight to risk everyone's health. Emphasize the importance of following processes and procedures. That is why training is critical.
The security council will work together to develop and evolve policies for managing building access, deliveries, employee turnover, and visitor management. After identifying, documenting, and implementing processes and procedures, look for technology to support these efforts.
A physical security solution that gives you the biggest bang for your investment is an integrated security system. Such a security system would combine access control system and video surveillance. An access control system can manage who has access to the building. With access control, employees wear badges. Those badges can control who can enter the parking garage, the building, and limited-access rooms.
With an access control system, you will not need to change the locks when a tenant or any of its employees leave. If a tenant fires an employee or the employee accidentally forgets to turn in the badge, it will not be an issue. With a few clicks of the keyboard, you can shut down access.
As for video surveillance, it can monitor the comings and goings at the entry and any other building access points. You or your tenants may need maintenance or a third-party vendor to have temporary access to the building. You can issue a temporary badge to let them in the building. This is where having a check-in and check-out process will come in handy.
Another important element is to reduce contact. The less contact, the better. An integrated security system makes it possible to reduce contact. With video surveillance, you will not need security guards on the property. This cuts down the number of people in the building.
If delivery people need to go to the main entrance, remote video surveillance can monitor their arrival. The delivery person can talk to the individual on camera through a two-way speaker. The person can leave the package in an assigned place and an employee can pick it up after the delivery person has left.
Integrated security can do much more than protect the entire building and property. It can identify when someone does not follow processes and procedures. Companies don't see video surveillance as a way to punish employees who fail to follow processes. They view it as a way to improve safety.
Remote video surveillance puts eyes on the entire property including the entrances, exits, and parking areas. Video surveillance can record everything. All of it is searchable. If you find out about an incident that took place two weeks ago, analysts can search for the incident to determine what happened.
Here's how remote video surveillance works: a trained security operator watches the monitors in a safe location away from the building. This takes out the element of danger that security guards face. It also makes it virtually impossible for anyone to contact the security operator for help in committing an inside job.
The sight of video cameras act as a deterrent. You can boost that by posting "Area under surveillance" signs around the property.
If you have audio speakers, the operator can warn intruders to leave the property. If the trespasser does not leave, the operator can call the police while staying on top of the intruder's movements until the police arrive. Often, the police officers reach the property and arrest the suspects before they cause damage.
Although these deterrents don't work for all criminals, it's a way of adding layers to your security. Moreover, the recordings will provide evidence for cases including criminal, liability, and false claims.
Video surveillance is a proactive security solution. It maximizes security and safety by using video analytics and human intelligence. The system can watch for specific scenarios and alert the monitoring operator. The operator checks it out and acts as needed.
The footage can also be used to train employees to improve security and safety. These recordings can show the right way and the wrong way to follow procedures.
Before investing in physical security measures, conduct a risk assessment. The purpose of the assessment is to identify the strengths and vulnerabilities in your security and safety processes. The assessment will also help you develop a plan.
Draw the layout of your property marking any current physical security measures in place. Be sure to list handwashing and hand sanitizing stations.
An assessment also looks at factors with the potential to affect your business. For example, it'd include analyzing crime reports to uncover the kinds of crime taking place near your business. Even if you've done this in the past, you'll want to do it again because the pandemic has affected crime on commercial properties.
If your property is in an area at risk for flooding, tornadoes, hurricanes, or earthquakes, then you'll want to review the weather or earthquake history for your area. Another thing to review is who comes and goes on your property. Is it employees? Vendors? Customers? Visitors? You want to ensure everyone can enter the property easily while keeping the criminals out.
Ready, a website from the Department of Homeland Security, provides valuable preparedness planning toolkits. It includes natural disasters and power outages. Videos on the website address what you need to know about getting ready. It contains videos for building construction, employee management, physical surroundings, and more.
After documenting the weaknesses and risk factors, start a list of security solutions and prioritize them. You may not have the budget to implement all of it, but at least you know where to start.
In short, property management has a responsibility for the safety and security of employees and visitors. An effective physical security program helps everyone stay safe and healthy while protecting your assets.
Not having physical security can hurt your bottom-line, business reputation, and individual's safety. Implementing physical security like video surveillance and access control can cut your risks while delivering a quick ROI.
Health and safety now fall under physical security's purview. The organization's size or budget does not matter. Every business is obligated to ensure the new normal is a safe and secure one.
You'll gain peace of mind having eyes across your entire property and everything is recorded. When you work with Stealth Monitoring, you have a variety of security options available. Our team works to customize a security and safety solution that addresses your biggest security challenges and meets your requirements. To learn what options are available to you, please contact us.