By Tara Gibson - April 28, 2020
Earlier this year, a company executive was fatally stabbed while working at their company’s headquarters on a Sunday afternoon. With future social distancing regulations likely to result in more employees working in the office out of office hours, how is it possible for employers to keep employees safe around the clock?
On Sunday 9th February, a company executive was allegedly stabbed to death at a large headquarters located in New Hampshire. The exact circumstances of the incident remain under seal, but it has been confirmed that the accused has no previous criminal convictions nor a history of mental health illness, and that the alleged murderer and the victim did not know each other.
It has also been confirmed that the accused was working as a security guard at the industrial estate in which the headquarters are situated. This may explain why the victim did not raise an alarm when they encountered the intruder in the company's offices, but also raises concerns about the access the alleged murderer had to the premises and whether additional security technology could have helped.
When the current coronavirus-related stay-at-home orders are relaxed, it is likely companies will be required to maintain social distancing measures in the workplace. While it is not known exactly what form these measures will take, companies may have to introduce staggered shift or split shift working hours - along with weekend working - in order to accommodate future workplace regulations.
The consequence of staggered shifts, split shifts, and weekend working is that, for many companies, the pre-coronavirus Monday-to-Friday, 40-hour working week will become a thing of the past. Instead, the “new normal” could see what are currently considered “offices hours” being extended to around-the-clock, seven days a week - or, at the very least, for more hours than they previously were.
This not only has implications for employee management, but also for employee security. With company premises open for more hours each day, there is a greater risk of intruders entering through doors that would normally be locked. Furthermore, there could also be a spike in internal workplace violence due to continuing employee stress and anxiety related to the coronavirus pandemic.
There are various way in which companies can address increased workplace threats from both external and internal sources. The options include increasing the size of security teams, installing deterrents such as CCTV, and/or introducing stricter penalties for code of conduct policy violations. While each of these measures can be effective, a more efficient way to address workplace threats is with mobile technology.
This capability enables employees working alone in offices and travelling employees to activate a timer on their mobile phones. For employees in offices, the timer could be for (say) every thirty minutes, while a travelling employee might set the timer for when they anticipate arriving at their destination. If the employee fails to deactivate the timer when the time is up, security is automatically alerted.
Depending on how the company wishes to configure its branded app, employees can be connected with internal security or 9-1-1 with two taps of a screen. The app relays the location of the caller and supports two-way text communications; so, even if an employee is unable to speak, internal security and 9-1-1 knows who is calling, why they are calling, and where they are.
Anonymous tip texting has multiple benefits in the context of workplace safety. Not only can employees alert security to suspicious behaviors anonymously, but also raise concerns about the mental health of colleagues. Although a colleague's mental health might not prove to be a threat to workplace safety, it may have an impact of workplace productivity - and ultimately the company's profitability.
A mobile technology solution can also be used to provide targeted and contextualized notifications in both emergency and non-emergency situations. Employees can opt to receive both short-form (i.e. SMS) notifications and long-form (i.e. email) notifications via the app, which can also be configured to support a library of resources (i.e. company emergency preparedness plans) for reference as required.
Although it is not yet known how work practices will change in a post-coronavirus era, it is fairly inevitable some form of workplace social distancing will be mandatory in order to prevent subsequent waves of infection. Companies can prepare in advance for the impact social distancing regulations will have on workplace security by investing in a mobile technology solution.
Tara is a Marketing Coordinator on the Rave Mobile Safety marketing team. She loves writing about all things K-12, State & Local, Higher Ed, Corporate, and Healthcare, and manages the Rave social media channels. When she's not working, she's taking care of her smiley, shoe eating, Instagram-famous fur baby, Enzo!
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