A must-have checklist for workplace security and protection

The purpose of physical workplace security is to protect your organization and the people within it. It acts as a defensive wall around your offices, employees, and important assets. It helps keep threats at bay, and keeps you one step ahead of potential attacks. After all, there’s nothing worse than seeing to security after it’s too late.

Your physical workplace security isn’t a one-time thing. It’s a constant practice. To ensure your security shield is never breached, it’s important to complete regular audits to help you assess if you’re up to date or not. Not sure how to? Use this checklist to complete your physical security check from start-to-finish

Workplace security checklist


Assemble what you need

Identify their access level

There are many different aspects that make up workplace security, so it’s important to be clear on what you’re assessing when. Create a clear plan for your assessment team to follow. Include deadlines and an overall timeline to ensure the audit stays on track when it begins.

Choose your assessment team

Choosing the right team for the job is almost as important as the job itself. When it comes to security, it’s critical to have the right people behind each task. This could be an external security team that conducts your overall security assessment. Or it could be internal personnel doing a more informal audit.

Understand your scoring system

Are you following a traffic light rating system (red, yellow, green) or scoring each section between 1-5? Do you know the criteria for each score? Being clear on how you are scoring your physical security before you begin your audit is crucial. Armed with a clear scoring system, your assessment team can better identify threats and weaknesses in your organization.

Identify stakeholders

With your assessment team in place, it’s time to identify your stakeholders. They will work with your assessment team and help provide important data points before, during, and after your physical security assessment. Your stakeholders will be cross-functional partners, and could include anyone in your organization–although common folks include HR, IT, and executive leadership.

Communicate with your employees

Before you begin your audit, it’s always good to communicate with your employees and notify them that a security assessment is taking place. This will ensure they feel comfortable with people checking the office and are clear on the purpose of the audit. It’ll also help emphasize the importance of physical security in the workplace.

Complete your physical workplace security audit

Access control

Whether it’s physical badges or an app like Kisi, workplace security starts with controlling who enters your workplace and with what level of permission. As a first step, assess whether your access control works as it should. Do all of your door readers work? Do you have the right schedules in place to reflect when your workplace is open and closed? Also, check whether your permission levels are up to date. For example, have all previous employees who no longer work at your organization been removed from your entry permissions?

Security alarms and surveillance

Alarms and video surveillance can help prevent a security breach by detecting any intruders–especially outside of business hours when minimal people are onsite. The next step of your physical security audit is to ensure all of your cameras and alarms work in and around your workplace. Ask yourself whether you have all angles covered, and whether you need to add any further surveillance. This might be in the car park or at the back of the building, for example.

Pro tip: Also ensure you have automatic alerts set up so you are notified of any unusual activity as soon as possible!

Environmental threats

Your physical workplace security extends beyond just doors, windows, and alarms. It covers the natural elements, too. In today’s world, natural disasters are on the rise, so your physical security audit should cover your building’s safety from the outside.

Check that nearby trees and bushes are maintained to avoid any damage. Also check that you have a working light system near the entrances, walkways, and parking lots to guide people during darker months. Finally, ensure your windows and doors are kept free of any clutter in your office to keep people safe and able to exit the building quickly if need be.

Emergency exits and lockdown plans

As part of your physical workplace security audit, make sure you assess your emergency exits and lockdown plans. This includes ensuring the route is clear of any boxes or clutter for people to get by. It also covers any lockdown plans for different emergency scenarios. This may feel far-fetched now, but in the event of an emergency, you and your employees must be clear on what to do and where to go without delay.

Documentation and processes

Documentation and data fall mainly into digital security, but it does also play a role in your physical workplace security too. The last step of your physical workplace audit is to assess processes and documentation. Do your employees clear their desks before they leave the office? Do they leave documents lying around or in unlocked drawers under their desk?

As part of this assessment, consider digitizing any process where people use printed documentation. If that’s too difficult right now, ensure a process is strictly in place for folks to clear their desks of all important documentation. Remember, the less printed paper there is, the better your physical workplace security.

Assess the results and optimize

Identify your vulnerabilities

Using your scoring system, identify the areas of your physical security that scored low. These are the cracks in your physical workplace security that need immediate attention. Prioritize which ones to address first and work through them. Also bring on board relevant people to help you.

Document or update your security policy and procedures

Your workplace security policy and procedures are in place to safeguard your organization. They are the rules and parameters your employees must follow.

As part of your workplace security audit, ensure any changes you make are documented and updated in your policy and procedures. For example, if you score your access control as a potential security threat, you might decide to switch to a badgeless access system. Ensure those procedures for folks to follow are updated in your security policy and procedures and recirculate the finalized version.

Complete regular employee training and awareness

Teaching your employees how to keep your business safe and secure is the best preventative measure you can take. Put on regular security training for your employees and teach your team about the dangers of weak passwords, phishing scams, and letting an unregistered visitor onto the premises. When your employees have a better understanding of the types of attacks and why they happen, they can put their learnings into practice to avoid them.

Put a strategy in place for security improvement

Your physical workplace audit is designed to highlight the weaknesses in your security. From your scoring system, you know where you need to improve and can prioritize what to focus on first. Put together a strategy that details this plan and how you want to tackle security over the next quarter, half a year, or annually.

Schedule your next workplace audit

The final step before you complete this section is to always book your next workplace audit. It pays to be proactive, especially when it comes to security. Ensure you have your next assessment in the calendar.

Technology tips and best practices

Invest in a visitor registration solution

Track, screen, and report who comes into your workplace with a visitor registration solution. This allows you to get visibility on who’s onsite and when. You can also screen people before they get to your office

Train your office management staff suitably

Your office manager is your front line of defense against any unknown or unwanted visitors in your workplace. Yet, one-third of office managers haven’t had any security training.

Ensure your office manager is fully equipped with the knowledge and tools to protect your organization. This includes recognizing fake IDs, responding to intruders in the building, and stopping any unauthorized equipment leaving the building.

Use blocklists

Blocklists are a great security feature that helps you keep any unwanted guests out of your workplace. You can block individual people, or you can block people from a specific company. Blocklists also allow you to screen visitors before they even arrive. That means that when someone is invited to your workplace, you will receive an alert if that person exists on your actual block list.

Utilize automation as a tool

Your people are busy. And when folks have a lot on their plate, mistakes can happen. Automating your tools will streamline security processes and help avoid human error that can put your security at risk. Utilize automation to help generate security alerts when you need them most. For example, if someone opens a door without the right authorization, automation can trigger an alarm to alert security personnel.

Harness the power of integrations

Workplace integrations allow specific data points to be shared between multiple, separate tools. When workplace technology can share data, it unlocks the potential to automate workflows and boost security. Prioritize integrations when choosing your workplace tools to enable you to get the most visibility, control, and data about your workplace security.

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Bring your team back to a safe, flexible workplace

While you might wish it to be true, your physical workplace security isn’t a one-time thing. It’s constant and evolving. And it requires your teams’ time and attention to ensure there are no cracks or surprises.

Whether you’ve got an external security assessment team completing your audit, or whether your very own security coworkers are up for the job, ensure they follow the above checklist to keep your workplace safe, secure, and up and running.

Want to know how Envoy can help you secure your workplaces?