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10 workplace security tips to protect employees (and their work)

Fueled by global headlines, security concerns such as external threats, negligent employees, and data slippage are top of mind for executives and technology professionals. Nearly 7 in 10 executives see headlines once a week or more that make them feel their office isn’t as secure as it should be, according to a recent survey conducted by Envoy and Wakefield Research. 

These same headlines are read by employees who are increasingly voicing concerns about office security.  For millennials, the largest portion of the workforce, personal safety is a leading cause of stress in the workplace

This post offers practical tips for developing an effective workplace security program that is built to protect employees and their hard work. 

When in doubt, start with the lobby 

As the heart and soul of many businesses, Office Managers do a lot, including answering phones, greeting visitors, receiving packages, and office security. Yes, office security!

The study reveals that one-third of companies place this critical responsibility solely on their front desk staff. As indispensable as these roles are, many lack training in security and cannot effectively manage this responsibility. Has your Office Manager been trained for any of these scenarios?

  • Recognizing fake identification
  • Responding to an intruder
  • Ensuring safety regulations are followed
  • Collecting visitor information in a manner compliant with complex privacy regulations
  • Preventing intellectual property from leaving the building

If not, the first step in securing your workplace should be putting the right tools in place to support them. The right technology can help employees in the lobby deliver a welcoming guest experience while creating a physically (and digitally) safe environment.

Modern visitor management enhances office security

Just as you wouldn’t let a stranger wander around your home unattended, knowing who is in your building and what they are there for is the baseline for effective workplace security and employee safety.

Our recent 2020 predictions for workplace security indicate that visitor management will play a critical role in protecting companies. A workplace security program should be as unique as the company it is meant to protect. Here some basic steps for creating the right foundation.

10 steps to better workplace security and employee safety

  1. Train Employees—Employees recognize there are risks and want security education, but many say they have not received relevant training. Make sure employees know:
    • The importance of locking their laptop screens when away from their desk
    • How to create and protect a strong password
    • Safety procedures in the event of an evacuation
    • Areas where visitors are not allowed access
    • How to identify company visitor badges
    • How to prevent people without badges from coming onsite
    • Who to notify if there is a security issue or concern
  2. Offer branded visitor badges with photos—A branded visitor badge with the guest’s photo makes it easy for employees to recognize authorized visitors and know if they are allowed to be in the area they are visiting. Badges should prominently display the guest’s name, date of visit, and any other necessary information.
  3. Cross-reference potential visitors against a block list—Allowing competitors, disgruntled former employees, some media outlets, and unsavory characters onsite is an obvious risk. A visitor management solution lets employees pre-register guests and check them against block or watch lists. This will protect your physical space, intellectual property, and support regulatory compliance.
  4. Offer unique Wi-Fi credentials—Guest Wi-Fi access is necessary for conducting business but introduces potential workplace security vulnerabilities. To mitigate this risk, follow the lead of HP enterprise subsidiary Aruba and assign a unique access code to each visitor. Doing so makes it easy to track their internet usage and leaves a digital record for future use.
  5. Require guests to provide proper identification—Add an extra layer of security to your sign-in with ID scanning. Verify that a guest’s ID is genuine before inviting them into your building. If a visitor’s ID has expired or isn’t recognized as a real ID, your visitor management system can notify your administrators so they can approve or deny entry.
  6. Streamline the delivery process—Manage incoming deliveries to ensure that employees are quickly notified of packages and immediately pick them up. A delivery management system protects important packages from loss or theft by requiring individuals to sign for their parcel and creating a digital log of every package that is delivered onsite.
  7. Know who is onsite at all times—Companies should have an accurate record of onsite visitors at all times. This is for employee safety, regulatory compliance, and asset protection. Here are three ways visitor management solutions can help:
    • In the event of an emergency, knowing who is onsite will be crucial for first-responders
    • The system can immediately alert employees and provide guidance using Slack or SMS integrations
    • Should your company experience a regulatory audit or need to investigate an incident, the system instantly provides a single source of truth regarding visitors.
  8. Implement a badgeless entry system—Although a badge entry system offers a sense of protection, it’s not as secure as you may think. Anyone with an Amazon account and $10 can buy a device that clones badges. Keys and badges are outdated, meaning costly, inefficient and frustrating. Modern technology can use employee phones to grant building access, even if they are in a pocket or purse. This simplifies management for facilities, is more difficult to counterfeit, and is easier for employees.
  9. Have a plan and rehearse it—Your company should have plans for responding to a cyberattack, such as ransomware, and any physical safety hazards. Cyberattack plans should include protocols for stopping the attack and restoring data.  Evacuation drills will ensure employees know where emergency exits are and safe locations to gather.
  10. Provide visitors legal documents and safety information prior to arrival—A modern visitor management system integrated with DocuSign allows visitors to review and sign legal documents such as NDAs or safety waivers prior to arrival. If required, visitors can receive safety information to review at their leisure and document their compliance before they visit your workplace.

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to office security. These recommendations are simply here to help you create a foundation that protects both intellectual property and employee safety.

Learn more about 2020 safety and security trends by downloading the Workplace Security Report.