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.
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.
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®, 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® 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.
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.
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.)
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|Workforce Management||Government Security Programs||And Many Others to Choose From!|
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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.)
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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:
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.
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, SafeLogic, Senstar Corporation, ShotSpotter, Singlewire Software, SolarWinds Worldwide, Teledyne FLIR, Valor Systems, and Wiresecure, just to name a few!
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