Technology

How to Attract Employees Back to Work – is Technology the Answer?

The return of the office workspace is coming and welcomed by many of us. Even the most reluctant employees will eventually come around, once they see and experience the benefits of security entrances, safety, other workplace technology, and additional perks. (Courtesy of Jason Goodman on Unsplash)
Even the most reluctant employees will eventually come around to the idea of returning to their company workplace once they see and experience the benefits of new security entrances, safety, other workplace technology, and additional perks. (Courtesy of Jason Goodman on Unsplash)

Guest Editorial by Frank Scala and Mike McGovern

The return of employees to their company workplaces is beginning this Fall as corporate leaders, their HR managers, and facility & security directors plan for the new realities we will all face.

Since March 2020, working from home had become commonplace – while downtown office buildings and suburban corporate campuses operated at fractional occupancy.

Corporate and city leaders and commercial real estate providers are wondering if this change is permanent, and if people can work from home as effectively and efficiently as they worked when culled together into their offices and cubicles in office towers on sprawling corporate campuses.

Remarkably, initially, we all seemed more productive by staying home. We were quite proud of it. And corporate bosses were very supportive of the “new normal,” as we called it.

The text was sent hours after a leaked email sent to workers with the subject line 'remote work is no longer acceptble.' Musk wrote that any executive staff who wish to work remotely must be in the office for a minimum of 40 hours per week 'or depart Tesla.' (Courtesy of Twitter)
The text was sent hours after a leaked email was sent to workers with the subject line ‘remote work is no longer acceptable.’ Musk wrote that any executive staff who wish to work remotely must be in the office for a minimum of 40 hours per week ‘or depart Tesla.’
(Courtesy of Twitter)

But now the tide is shifting back the other way. One extreme measure observed was Elon Musk’s tweet to 100,000 Tesla office employees, “Come back to the office or quit“ (Elektrek, June 1, 2022).

On June 11, 2022, Business Insider reported that Howard Schultz of Starbucks took a different approach, essentially saying he will do “whatever employees want” to get them back at the office.

But Tesla and Starbucks are not alone in their wish to re-populate offices – we can see similar news all over popular and business media today.

In Tim Smart’s US News & World Report article “The Great Return…” he cites the grand plans that some of our largest employers like Google, Twitter, CitiGroup, and American Express have laid out to attract and keep safe their returning employees, be it in full-time or hybrid mode.

In another article,  Harry Stainton’s Workplace Insight piece “What Really Happens When we start Using Offices Again?”, he looks at some of the enticements offered by employers to re-fill their available office space and to encourage interaction and productivity in the group setting.

The at-home work environment created “individual islands” which seem to hinder team building – which, when encouraged and fostered – allows individuals to feel a more connected sense of purpose to the company and each other.

Many experts agree that the result was a decrease in overall production. Also, company culture had faltered as well, especially with new hires and onboarding. Managers also struggled with staff in ensuring an inclusive and collaborative team environment.

The at-home work environment created “individual islands” which seem to hinder team building – which, when encouraged and fostered – allows individuals to feel a more connected sense of purpose to the company and each other.

For these reasons, we now see most corporations implementing policies with either hybrid arrangements or 40 hours per week in the office.

However, there still may be great resistance from many employees – whether it’s due to safety concerns, perceived betterment of work/life balance, commuting expenses, or production.

Security, safety, and entrance control professionals have worked throughout the entire pandemic on how to keep employees safe against surface and airborne viruses, and other illnesses.

(ASSA ABLOY Entrance Systems North America knows that ensuring people’s safety is more critical than ever. And whether it’s safeguarding the public in commercial venues or maintaining and monitoring secure environments in essential sectors and crucial infrastructure, ASSA ABLOY Security Entrance Control delivers complete solutions and services customized to your building’s needs. Courtesy of ASSA ABLOY Entrance Systems North America and YouTube.)

At most security entrance-controlled offices today, the trend toward biometric authentication and contactless cards/smartphone identification has grown exponentially – as employers want to be sure to offer a touch-free flow past security desks, through lobbies, and in/out of elevators.

Security portals and security revolving doors, once only considered only for the highest security demands, are now also common in areas where we once would have seen security staffing on hand.

These turnkey security entrance control lanes/portals are installed along with automatic door operators – and are the new norm as we minimize touching of surfaces, maximize security and increase throughput making for a safer, more efficient, and more secure workplace than ever before.

Yes, smart building designs that allow for a reduction of on-site security guard staffing increased the interest in automated security entrance control and remote cloud-based management.

Secure entry products like turnstiles, speed lanes/speed gates, mantrap portals, and security revolvers are being integrated with these cloud-based security management systems and visitor/vendor management systems.

In addition, these same technologies allow for better management of social distancing and contact tracing.

(Meet one of the newest innovations in door operator technology, bridging the gap between manual and automatic doors. The SW60 from ASSA ABLOY. Courtesy of ASSA ABLOY Entrance Systems North America and YouTube.)

This intelligent form of disinfecting helps ensure hygienic conditions for such common spaces as meeting rooms, training rooms, cafeteria, office spaces, etc.

The technology utilizes occupancy sensors and a pre-determined disinfecting cycling schedule to continually clean specific areas, reportedly killing 99.99% of all pathogens.

(Mitigating COVID is as easy as turning on the lights. Indigo-Clean® lighting technology is occupant safe, continuous, and effective at killing Influenza-A, Staph Aureus, SARS-CoV-2* – the virus that causes COVID-19, plus a list of pathogens that negatively impact health and wellness. This technology has been proven effective with available published research conducted by Icahn School of Medicine Mount Sinai to kill 94% germs*. Courtesy Finelite and YouTube.) 

It also helps reduce and minimize harmful exposure for cleaning staff.

The cloud-based systems integrate with the security management system and will keep doors that are electronically locked from being entered while the system is operational.

For exterior doors, new nanotechnology has been used to ensure a clean surface on handles and rails.

The new tenant engagement apps give employees a virtual remote control for both digital and physical resources, creating a truly frictionless experience for such activities as desk or room booking, visitor registration, and simplified access control.

They also provide an easy way to order lunch, and find local services, like dry cleaning or salons, and discounted parking. Management is informed because insight into your workforce is provided through data analytics in the hybrid work environment.

As a bonus, the use of these apps helps create an important dividing line for improved work-life balance.

Imagine event notifications like free food on Wednesdays or free fitness classes on Tuesdays; we all need to be around people and have social interaction, it’s just human nature.

These new technologies help us engage one another in a safe and collaborative matter that will enable us to re-create/improve upon the vibrant communities we had or wished for, even pre-pandemic.

(For example, this Mobile Access, Visitor Management, and Tenant Engagement offering from Sharry, trusted by commercial real estate leaders. Courtesy of Sharry and YouTube.)

We believe that even the most reluctant employees will eventually come around – once they see and experience the benefits of security entrances, safety, other workplace technology, and additional perks.

Workplaces are safer and more secure, and indications are that we are all more productive at the office among our peers.  And wonderful new tenant engagement apps help increase engagement, promote healthy lives, and support much-needed separation between work and home.

About the Authors

Frank Scala, RCDD, PSP®
Frank Scala, RCDD, PSP®

Frank Scala, RCDD, PSP®, CTS is a Senior Technology Consultant in the Digital Services with Arup.

Frank’s expertise spans all phases of advanced technology analysis including reviewing building plans and architectural building technology issues, design concepts, security plan development and assistance with budget estimates.

He has contributed to a number of award-winning buildings, and is sought after in the physical security, and smart building space for design and consultation.

Mike McGovern, PSP®
Mike McGovern, PSP®

Mike McGovern, PSP® is Business Development Manager at ASSA ABLOY Entrance Systems where he designs installed/turnkey security entrance control systems.

Mike is an access control and security entrance control industry veteran, member of ASIS’s Physical Security Community Leadership Council, is a frequent contributor to ASIS speaking panels, and to AST’s articles.

Brendan Boyle, Technology Strategic Sales Executive accepts the 2021 Platinum ‘ASTORS’ Award for Luminator’s Renew Air Treatment System
Brendan Boyle, Technology Strategic Sales Executive accepts the 2021 Platinum ‘ASTORS’ Award for the Renew Air Treatment System at ISC East.

American Security Today’s Annual ‘ASTORS’ Awards is the preeminent U.S. Homeland Security Awards Program, and now in its Seventh Year, recognizes industry leaders of Physical and Border Security, Cybersecurity, Emergency Preparedness – Management and Response, Law Enforcement, First Responders, as well as federal, state and municipal government agencies in the acknowledgment of their outstanding efforts to Keep our Nation Secure.

  • Luminator develops and delivers technology with tangible benefits that support transit bus and rail car manufacturers as well as public transit operators around the globe.

  • Luminator’s Renew™ Air Treatment system dispenses Grignard Pure, an antimicrobial air treatment through a connected, technologically advanced system that measures and automatically adjusts the amount of Grignard Pure that is dispensed in the air.

Luminator's Renew™ Air Treatment system
A closed-loop, controlled system maintains efficacy and records system data, including concentration at any given time. Remote access supports download of the system data as well as vital maintenance information.
  • The adaptive system utilizes on-board sensors to automatically adjust the system based upon the fresh air intake and other conditions in the vehicle, maintaining proper concentration for efficacy – even with doors opening and closing as passengers embark and disembark the vehicle

  • As conditions change, such as fluctuations of fresh air intake throughout the route, the system maintains an effective level to continuously kill virus particles in the air.

  • Luminator Technology Group delivers globally-recognized technology solutions that increase intelligence, safety, and efficiency for public transit operations

(Grignard Company, a manufacturer of atmospheric effect solutions, and Luminator Technology Group (Luminator), a global leader in transit technology and communication solutions, announce a partnership focused on providing new safety offerings for public transit amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Courtesy of Luminator Technology Group.) 

Access Control/ Identification Personal/Protective Equipment Law Enforcement Counter Terrorism
Perimeter Barrier/ Deterrent System Interagency Interdiction Operation Cloud Computing/Storage Solution
Facial/IRIS Recognition Body Worn Video Product Cyber Security
Video Surveillance/VMS Mobile Technology Anti-Malware
Audio Analytics Disaster Preparedness ID Management
Thermal/Infrared Camera Mass Notification System Fire & Safety
Metal/Weapon Detection Rescue Operations Critical Infrastructure
License Plate Recognition Detection Products COVID Innovations
Workforce Management Government Security Programs And Many Others to Choose From!

Submit your category recommendation for consideration to Michael Madsen, AST Publisher, at: mmadsen@americansecuritytoday.com.

In a typical year, DEAC Sabatino oversees the facilitation of legitimate travel for more than 410 million travelers in the air, land, and maritime environments.
In a typical year, CBP OFO DEAC Sabatino oversees the facilitation of legitimate travel for more than 410 million travelers in the air, land, and maritime environments.

And who better to address the aforementioned challenges, and initiatives to meet today’s threat landscape than Deputy Executive Assistant Commissioner (DEAC) Diane J. Sabatino of the Office of Field Operations, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), the opening keynote speaker at the much-anticipated 2022 ‘ASTORS’ Awards Presentation Luncheon, on Wednesday, November 16th, 2022.

(Hear a recent interview with Deputy Executive Assistant Commissioner (DEAC) Diane J. Sabatino held at Identity Week Europe on leveraging biometric comparison technology in U.S. air, maritime, and land border environments for the security of passengers, enhancing the customer experience and limiting the transmission of biological pathogens while respecting personal privacies and educating the public as the CBP further expands the implementation of biometrics to keep up with threats to the aviation and other border sectors. These new technological tools are there to automate administrative functions so that the most valuable component of the process, the officers, are able to focus on critical issues as they arise. Courtesy of evie kim sing and YouTube. Posted on Jul 13, 2022.)

Enter, American Security Today, the #1 publication and media platform in the Government Security and Homeland Security fields with a circulation of over 75,000 readers and many tens of thousands more visiting our AST Website at www.americansecuritytoday.com each month.

The continually evolving ‘ASTORS’ Awards Program will emphasize the trail of Accomplished Women in Leadership in 2022, as well as the Significance and Positive Impact of Advancing Diversity and Inclusion in our Next Generation of Government and Industry Leaders. #MentorshipMatters

Thomas Richardson, FDNY Chief of Department; Dr. Kathleen Kiernan, President of NEC National Security Systems; and Richard Blatus, FDNY Assistant Chief of Operations at the 2021 ‘ASTORS’ Awards Luncheon at ISC East.
AST Honors Thomas Richardson, FDNY Chief of Department; Dr. Kathleen Kiernan, President of NEC National Security Systems; and Richard Blatus, FDNY Assistant Chief of Operations, at the 2021 ‘ASTORS’ Awards Luncheon at ISC East.

The United States forever changed on September 11th, 2001, and we were fortunate to have many of those who responded to those horrific tragedies join us at our 2021 ‘ASTORS’ Awards Presentation Luncheon.

Our keynote speaker TSA Administrator David Pekoske delivered a moving and timely address on the strategic priorities of the 64,000 member TSA workforce in securing the transportation system, enabling safe, and in many cases, contactless travel, and more (Be sure to see Interview.)
TSA Administrator David Pekoske addressing attendees at the 2021 ‘ASTORS’ Awards Luncheon in New York City on November 17, 2021. (Be sure to see AST Exclusive Interview, facilitated by Dr. Kathleen Kiernan HERE.)

Our 2021 keynote speaker featured a moving and informative address from TSA Administrator and Vice-Admiral of the United States Coast Guard (Ret), David Pekoske; to our attendees who traveled from across the United States and abroad, on the strategic priorities of the 64,000-member TSA workforce in securing the transportation system, enabling safe, and in many cases, contactless travel.

Commissioner Bill Bratton signing copies of his latest work, ‘The Profession: A Memoir of Community, Race, and the Arc of Policing in America,’ at the 2021 ‘ASTORS’ Awards Presentation Luncheon. (Be sure to see AST Exclusive Interview with Comm Bratton, facilitated by Dr. Kathleen Kiernan HERE.)

In 2021 over 200 distinguished guests representing Federal, State, and Local Governments, and Industry Leading Corporate Firms gathered from across North America, Europe, and the Middle East to be honored among their peers in their respective fields, which included:

Team TSA
Honoring the 20th anniversary of the Transportation Security Administration (Team TSA at the 2021 ‘ASTORS’ Awards Presentation Luncheon.)
NCDMPH (Dr. Goolsby second from left), and American Red Cross Members accept 'Excellence in Public Safety' Awards at 2021 'ASTORS' Luncheon
NCDMPH (Dr. Goolsby second from left), and American Red Cross Members accept an ‘Excellence in Public Safety’ Awards at 2021 ‘ASTORS’ Luncheon
2021 ‘ASTORS’ Awards Luncheon (starting front row, left to right) SIMS Software President & CEO Michael Struttmann; TENEO Risk Advisory Executive Chairman Commissioner Bill Bratton; NEC National Security Systems President Dr. Kathleen Kiernan; TSA Administrator David Pekoske; Fortior Solutions General Counsel Katherine Cowan; NEC Corporation of America Senior Vice President & Chief Experience Officer Raffie Beroukhim; TENEO Risk Advisory Chief of Staff David Cagno; Infragard National Board Member Doug Farber, Lumina Analytics Co-Founder & Chairman Allan Martin, and AMAROK Senior Vice President Sales & Marketing Mike Dorrington.
2021 ‘ASTORS’ Awards Luncheon (starting front row, left to right) SIMS Software President & CEO Michael Struttmann; TENEO Risk Advisory Executive Chairman Commissioner Bill Bratton; NEC National Security Systems President Dr. Kathleen Kiernan; TSA Administrator David Pekoske; Fortior Solutions General Counsel Katherine Cowan; NEC Corporation of America Senior Vice President & Chief Experience Officer Raffie Beroukhim; TENEO Risk Advisory Chief of Staff David Cagno; Infragard National Board Member Doug Farber, Lumina Analytics Co-Founder & Chairman Allan Martin, and AMAROK Senior Vice President Sales & Marketing Mike Dorrington.

Each year, in order to keep our communities safe and secure, security dealers, installers, integrators, and consultants, along with corporate, government, and law enforcement/first responder practitioners, convene in New York City to network, learn and evaluate the latest technologies and solutions from premier exhibiting brands.

Representing NEC at the 2021 'ASTORS' Awards Luncheon -Stacey Brown, SVP Raffie Beroukhim, Dr. Kathleen Kiernan, 2021 'ASTORS' Industry Leader of the Year; Christopher Gillyard, Rachel Sisk, and Frank Sangiorg
Representing NEC Corporation at the 2021 ‘ASTORS’ Awards Luncheon at ISC in New York City – NEC Director of Marketing Stacey Brown, NEC Senior Vice President Raffie Beroukhim, NEC NSS President Dr. Kathleen Kiernan, the 2021 ‘ASTORS’ Extraordinary Industry Leadership & Innovation Person of the Year; NEC NSS Regional Sales Director Chris Gillyard, NEC NSS Executive Assistant Rachel Sisk, and NEC Regional Sales Director Frank Sangiorgi

This combination of one-on-one conversations with top innovators, high-quality special events, and cutting-edge education and training, make ISC East the most comprehensive East Coast event to guide the industry in getting back to business.

Taking place November 15-17 at the Javits Center in NYC (SIA Education@ISC: November 15-17 | Exhibit Hall: November 16-17), ISC East will be co-locating again with the Natural Disaster & Emergency Management Expo (NDEM EXPO), a comprehensive trade event and online resource dedicated to the preparation, response, and recovery of physical and human assets of public and private organizations. Qualified professionals who register for ISC East will be granted access to both events.

Corporate firms, the majority of which return year to year to build upon their Legacy of Wins include:

AlertMedia, Allied Universal, AMAROK, ATI Systems, Attivo Networks, Axis Communications, Automatic Systems of America, BriefCam, Canon U.S.A., Fortior Solutions, guardDog.ai, Hanwha Techwin of America, HID Global, Mark43, IPVideo Corporation, Konica Minolta Business Solutions, Lumina Analytics, NEC National Security Systems, NICE Public Safety, OnSolve, PureTech Systems, Quantum Corporation, Rave Mobile Safety, Regroup Mass Notification, Robotic Assistance Devices, Rajant Corporation, SafeLogicSenstar Corporation, ShotSpotter, Singlewire Software, SolarWinds Worldwide, Teledyne FLIR, Valor Systems, and Wiresecure, just to name a few!

Team ATI Systems (featuring Dr. Ray Bassiouni, second from right) Accepts the 2021 Platinum 'ASTORS' Award for the ATI Systems Mobile Solutions for Giant Voice, in addition to a 2020 'ASTORS' Extraordinary Leadership & Innovation Award at the 2021 'ASTORS' Awards Luncheon at ISC East.
Team ATI Systems (featuring Dr. Ray Bassiouni, second from right) Accepts the 2021 Platinum ‘ASTORS’ Award for the ATI Systems Mobile Solutions for Giant Voice, in addition to a 2020 ‘ASTORS’ Extraordinary Leadership & Innovation Award at the 2021 ‘ASTORS’ Awards Luncheon at ISC East.

The traditional security marketplace has long been covered by a host of publications putting forward the old-school basics to what is Today – a fast-changing security landscape.

American Security Today is uniquely focused on the broader Homeland Security & Public Safety marketplace with over 75,000 readers at the Federal, State, and local levels of government as well as firms allied to the government.

American Security Today brings forward a fresh compelling look and read with our customized digital publications that hold readers’ eyes throughout the story with cutting-edge editorial that provides solutions to their challenges.

AST puts forward the Largest and Most Qualified Circulation in Government with Over 75,000 readers on the Federal, State and Local levels.
AST puts forward the Largest and Most Qualified Circulation in Government with Over 75,000 readers on the Federal, State and Local levels.

AST Digital Publications are distributed to over 75,000 qualified government and homeland security professionals, in federal, state, local, and private security sectors.

‘PROTECTING OUR NATION, ONE CITY AT A TIME’

AST Reaches both Private & Public Experts, essential to meeting these new challenges.

Today’s new generation of public safety and security experts need real-time knowledge to deal with domestic and international terrorism, lone wolf attacks, unprecedented urban violence, shifts in society, culture, and media bias – making it increasingly difficult for Homeland Security, Law Enforcement, First Responders, Military and Private Security Professionals to implement coordinated security measures to ensure national security and improve public safety.

American Security Today

These experts are from Government at the federal, state, and local levels as well as from private firms allied to the government.

AST provides a full plate of topics in our AST Monthly Magazine Editions, AST Website, and AST Daily News Alerts, covering 23 Vital Sectors such as Access Control, Perimeter Protection, Video Surveillance/Analytics, Airport Security, Border Security, CBRNE Detection, Border Security, Ports, Cybersecurity, Networking Security, Encryption, Law Enforcement, First Responders, Campus Security, Security Services, Corporate Facilities, and Emergency Response among others.

AST has Expanded readership into integral Critical Infrastructure audiences such as Protection of Nuclear Facilities, Water Plants & Dams, Bridges & Tunnels, and other potential targets of terrorism.

Other areas of concern include Transportation Hubs, Public Assemblies, Government Facilities, Sporting & Concert Stadiums, our Nation’s Schools & Universities, and Commercial Business Destinations – all enticing targets due to the large number of persons and resources clustered together.

(See just a few highlights of American Security Today’s 2021 ‘ASTORS’ Awards Presentation Luncheon at ISC East. Courtesy of My Pristine Images and Vimeo.)

To learn more about ‘ASTORS’ Homeland Security Award Winners solutions, please see the 2021 ‘ASTORS’ CHAMPIONS Edition Fully Interactive Magazine – the Best Products of 2021 ‘A Year in Review.’

The Annual CHAMPIONS edition includes a review of Annual ‘ASTORS’ Award Winning products and programs, highlighting key details on many of the winning firm’s products and services, including video interviews and more.

It serves as your Go-To Source throughout the year for The Best of 2021 Products and Services endorsed by American Security Today, and can satisfy your agency’s and/or organization’s most pressing Homeland Security and Public Safety needs.

From Physical Security (Access Control, Critical Infrastructure, Perimeter Protection, and Video Surveillance Cameras and Video Management Systems), to IT Security (Cybersecurity, Encryption, Data Storage, Anti-Malware, and Networking Security – Just to name a few), the 2021 ‘ASTORS’ CHAMPIONS EDITION has what you need to Detect, Delay, Respond to, and Mitigate today’s real-time threats in our constantly evolving security landscape.

It also includes featured guest editorial pieces from some of the security industry’s most respected leaders, and recognized firms in the 2021 ‘ASTORS’ Awards Program.

  • For a complete list of 2021 ‘ASTORS’ Award Winners, begin HERE.

For more information on All Things American Security Today, as well as the 2021 ‘ASTORS’ Awards Program, please contact Michael Madsen, AST Publisher at mmadsen@americansecuritytoday.com.

AST strives to meet a 3 STAR trustworthiness rating, based on the following criteria:

  • Provides named sources
  • Reported by more than one notable outlet
  • Includes supporting video, direct statements, or photos

Subscribe to the AST Daily News Alert Here.

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