Ensuring employee health and safety remains a key priority for organizations this year, especially as we see COVID-19 cases continue to rise in different areas of the world.

As an ongoing challenge, COVID-19 has shifted the priorities of many organizations. In fact, “improving health and safety for employees” is the top strategic goal this year of manufacturing and logistics organizations in the U.S. and U.K., according to research conducted by Forrester on behalf of STANLEY Security.

But as we think about reopening and as hybrid workforce models and “workspace-on-demand” approaches rise in popularity, leaders need to consider implementing the right technologies to help ensure a safe return to the office. This means investing in health, safety, and security solutions that can help leaders protect their people.

The intersection of security technology and health and safety

There’s no doubt that the scope of security has expanded in the wake of the global pandemic. What was once an area governed by a select few security or IT professionals within a business has now become a crucial company investment involving many key stakeholders.

The role of security has expanded to encompass a broader range of health and safety challenges for businesses

Additionally, the role of security has expanded to encompass a broader range of health and safety challenges for businesses.

Fortunately, security technologies have made significant strides and many solutions, both existing and new, have been thrust forward to address today’s biggest business challenges.

Investment in security technology

It’s important to note that businesses are eager to adopt tech that can help them protect their people. Nearly half (46%) of organizations surveyed by Forrester report that they’re considering an increasing investment in technology solutions that ensure employee safety.

Technologies like touchless access control, visitor management systems, occupancy monitoring, and installed/wearable proximity sensors are among some of the many security technologies these organizations have implemented or are planning to implement yet this year.

Facilitating a safe return to work

But what does the future look like? When it comes to the post-pandemic workplace, organizations are taking a hard look at their return-to-work strategy.

Flexible or hybrid workforce models require a suite of security solutions to help ensure a safer, healthier environment

More than half (53%) of organizations surveyed by Forrester are looking to introduce a flexible work schedule for their employees as they make decisions about returning to work and keeping employees safe post-pandemic.

Such flexible – or hybrid – workforce models require a suite of security solutions to help ensure a safer, healthier environment for all who traverse a facility or work on-site. One of the central safety and security challenges raised by these hybrid models is tracking who is present in the building at any one time – and where or how they interact.

Leveraging security technology

With staggered schedules and what may seem like a steady stream of people passing through, it can be difficult to know who’s an employee and who’s a visitor. Access control will be key to monitoring and managing the flow of people on-site and preventing unauthorized access. When access control systems are properly integrated with visitor management solutions, businesses can unlock further benefits and efficiencies.

For instance, integrated visitor management systems can allow for pre-registration of visitors and employees – granting cellphone credentials before people arrive on-site – and automated health screening surveys can be sent out in advance to help mitigate risk. Once someone reaches the premises, these systems can also be used to detect the person’s temperature and scan for a face mask, if needed. 

We will likely see these types of visitor management and advanced screening solutions continue to rise in popularity, as 47% of organizations surveyed by Forrester report that they’re considering requiring employee health screening post-pandemic.

Defining the office of the future

A modern, dynamic workforce model will require an agile approach to office management.

It’s imperative to strike the right balance between making people feel welcome and reassuring

Businesses want to create an environment in which people feel comfortable and confident – a space where employees can collaborate and be creative. It’s imperative to strike the right balance between making people feel welcome and reassuring them that the necessary security measures are in place to ensure not only their safety but also their health.

In many cases, this balancing act has created an unintended consequence: Everyone now feels like a visitor to a building.

Protocols and processes

With employees required to undergo the same screening processes and protocols as a guest, we’ve seen a transformation in the on-site experience.

This further underscores the need for seamless, automated, and tightly integrated security solutions that can improve the employee and visitor experience, while helping to ensure health and safety.

Ultimately, the future of the office is not about what a space looks like, but how people feel in it. This means adopting a “safety-always” culture, underpinned by the right technology, to ensure people that their safety remains a business’ top priority. 

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Author profile

Matthew Kushner Global President, STANLEY Security

Matthew Kushner has served the electronic security industry for over 25 years, and he is CEO Global President at STANLEY Security.

Prior to STANLEY Security, he served as CEO at 3xLOGIC, EVP of Schneider Electric, and President & CEO of Integral Technologies. He managed international technology and executed M&A strategy for the Fire & Security Products Division. He concurrently served as Chairman for ESMI Group. Earlier in his career, he served as Director of Product Management for Honeywell and as General Manager for Telular Corporation.

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