How to Boost Office Security Without Ruining Workplace Culture

According to FindLaw, employees have the right to expect a certain level of security in their workplace. FindLaw explains that employee rights include, “[The] right to a safe workplace free of dangerous conditions, toxic substances, and other potential safety hazards.”

It’s easy to assume no employee would ever harm another or that there would be an issue with toxic substances—but the reality is you need to be sure you’ve put safety measures in place just in case an event like this occurs. If something does happen your organization can say they took the appropriate steps to avoid the issue from happening.

So, how do you go about implementing security measures without making your employees feel like Big Brother is watching? Here are a few ways to make security a priority without ruining your workplace culture.

Hire a Receptionist (Or Train Your Current One)
Why: They become your first line of defense and an important person for the company.

A receptionist creates a central point where people have to check in when they enter your office: “From a security system standpoint, this person allows for close inspection of credentials and identification and funnels security information through a single point,” says office security company MVP Protective Services.

They continue, “If it’s impractical to have each visitor greeted and checked-in by a person, consider a dedicated phone line in your lobby or at your front door that goes only to a designated receiver. This method, combined with a sign-in station, can be a cost effective strategy for many offices.”

If you already have a receptionist, consider how you may need to change the process for greeting new visitors to accommodate for better safety. You may even consider enrolling employees in a security course:

“There should be a basic training program for all receptionists and greeters which educates them on issues such as what constitutes suspicious activity, what is their role in reporting such activity and what countermeasures currently exist that might help them in this task,” suggests Bryan Warren, contributor for Security Magazine.

Make Security Education a Part of Your Culture
Why: Security becomes part of the company when everyone is involved.

Turn your security efforts into an office-wide learning experience by providing employees with tips, resources and workshops. Lynn Brown, with Shred It, suggests keeping the format of the content you provide short and to the point: “Provide constant news about different aspects of information security in internal newsletters and on intranet news feeds. For the best retention, learning experts say that keeping information short makes it more digestible.”

She emphasizes the importance of talking one-on-one as well: “Communicating on a personal level is important too. For example, talk to employees about how they maintain privacy in their personal lives and help them transfer those values and strategies to the workplace.”

Plan to share at least three safety resources each month and host a safety and security training or workshop once a quarter. Employees will feel empowered to take workplace safety more seriously when they’re involved.

Be Open About Installing Security Cameras
Why: Employees will feel better knowing where the cameras are—less like they’re being watched and more like they’re being protected.

Don’t install hidden security cameras—employees may lose trust in you as an employer. Even worse, you risk making them feel like a child that’s being watched. Putting cameras in visible locations and talking to employees about the value of the cameras shows that you’re being transparent, not sneaky.

Install a multi-camera CCTV system: “Upgrade business security with 16-camera systems. The cameras can be easily mounted to walls or ceilings so you can put one wherever you need added security. The cameras capture footage and send it to the 16-Channel HD DVR. The DVR system can be connected to a TV or monitor to review footage and it can even stream real-time video to a smart device or Internet browser,” explain security experts at The Home Security Superstore.

Start Using ID Badges for All Employees and Guests
Why: ID’s are minimally invasive, can be clipped onto pants, and help employees identify visitors they don’t know.

Photo ID badges and guest or visitor passes ensure that you have a log of everyone that comes and goes from your facility. Not to mention, they’re a simple and effective way to give a basic level of security for your office.

If employees push back, take some advice from Jill Leviticus, contributor to Smallbusiness.Chron: “Explain to your staff that badges provide a simple way to identify staff members and are particularly important if your business works with the public. Clients and customers can quickly determine if someone is a staff member when they need assistance.”

To get ID badges on the cheap, make them with Microsoft word. For all employees, include a photo, their name and position within the organization. Create a template so your receptionist can quickly make one for visitors when they arrive (note visitors don’t have to have a photo on theirs –just their name and reason for the visit). Purchase lanyards with a plastic holder or clip-on nametag holders for employees to use, making sure to buy a few extra for guests. You can also use a service like Lobby Guard or AlphaCard to install and implement an electronic scanner system instead.

Secure Your Workspace

Office Security is no joke—but you don’t want to beef up workplace safety at the expense of office culture. Use these ideas to keep employees in the loop, empower them to make safety a priority, and help them feel safer in the process.

Photo Credit: Compu-Net Systems, LLC Flickr via Compfight cc