For years, the trend towards more workplace flexibility has been seen in many fields. Younger professionals have especially driven this trend and consider it an important perk of their work environment. However, some industries have lagged behind, usually due to long-held perceived notions about the necessity of working on-site. The security industry has also been slow to embrace the flexible workplace trend, though often in part due to UL restrictions.
Despite this, in the early part of 2020, many organizations were forced to increase remote work in response to COVID-19. But this should not be a temporary change. Greater workplace flexibility could help the security field be more effective in the future.
Why the Security Industry Needs Flexibility
The COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdowns have helped to challenge the notion that on-site work is necessary. It is important for managers to now realize that remote work is more than just an option; it can be beneficial in many ways.
Be Ready for the Unforeseen
Undoubtedly, the most striking benefit of workplace flexibility is the opportunity to respond to events such as the coronavirus pandemic. Having a strong remote working policy lets teams continue operations even in the face of major disturbances. Simply put, it is a smart strategy for organizations to be ready to go remote when they need to.
Implementing better remote policies now will help teams be ready for continuity events in the future. Don’t wait until the last minute when it is necessary.
Enhance Stakeholder Flexibility
For the security industry, offering greater flexibility for team members can help stakeholders to be more flexible as well. Service providers can help their clients maintain business continuity more easily. This is a significant value-add, especially with the pandemic on people’s minds.
For in-house security teams, remote work options can provide the overall organization with greater flexibility. Security is more important than ever during a business disturbance. Therefore, security teams need to be more prepared than others to respond quickly and ensure continued operations.
Improve Team Engagement
Many professionals appreciate being allowed to work more flexibly. This involves more than just working from home. Flexibility is about allowing people to customize their work experience.
That greater control leads to enhanced team engagement. In other words, team members tend to have more “buy-in” with their work because they have more control. This engagement can lead to better work results, improved productivity, and more.
5 Tips for Implementing Workplace Flexibility
If the security industry wants to adopt increased remote work and other policies to enhance flexibility, there are a few key considerations that need to come first. The following five tips will help your team to increase flexibility in a successful and sustainable manner.
1. Implement Remote Work Technologies
As with any other field, security needs appropriate remote access technologies to enable more flexible teams. This includes monitoring key physical and digital resources without on-site personnel. These tools should be integrated into the security workflow even when working on-premise. By doing this, teams can minimize the impact of switching to working remotely.
Many of these technologies can help the security industry to be more effective even when not working remotely. For example, remote alarm monitoring can help teams to respond more rapidly and dynamically to potential threats.
Additionally, security teams should assist other units in implementing effective remote work technologies. For example, many companies adopted Zoom during the COVID-19 lockdowns only to be plagued by security issues.
2. Understand Relevant Regulations
The security industry often needs to consider regulatory compliance in creating plans for workplace flexibility. For example, teams that deal with healthcare or payment card information need to be ready to provide appropriate data protection for remote workers. Ideally, business data should be securely accessible from anywhere.
In most cases, it is in the organization’s best interests to protect sensitive data beyond what is required by the law. Nonetheless, compliance is a frequent challenge when team members are working from home and plans need to be laid out ahead of time to ensure that regulations are being followed.
3. Create and Document a Plan
Effective workplace flexibility stems from good policy and a clear plan. The Department of Homeland Security recommends organizing a cross-functional continuity team to help establish a plan. This should be documented and accessible to all team members.
Critically, the security industry needs to help clients plan for security in their continuity plans. Frequently, these considerations are overlooked, leaving brands vulnerable. That is part of why cross-functional planning is essential.
4. Educate Team Members About the Plan
The plan needs to be optimized for team member comprehension. Don’t expect every person in an organization to read a 100-page manual on remote security procedures. Creating simple policies and setting up technologies that help ensure compliance with the plan will help to keep team members on the right track.
Nonetheless, it is important to communicate the workplace flexibility plan to relevant users. People are often the most significant security risk of any organization. So, a comprehensive and useful training solution is a must-have.
5. Implement the Plan Before It Is Needed
Sudden business disturbances can leave organizations scrambling. Team members may not have access to technologies they normally use or may be trying to learn new tools on the fly.
One of the best ways to mitigate these risks is to encourage the use of the work-from-home policy before it is necessary. This provides a testing ground to identify and address any obstacles.
Additionally, there should be procedures in place that help people get rapidly set up to work remotely. This can become relevant if, for example, a team member needs to switch to a new laptop to work following a disruption.
Many managers struggle with the switch to working remotely. They must use new tools and strategies to maintain employee relationships in remote settings. Again, the best solution is to have managers work on these skills before they are necessary.
Maximize Flexibility With BOLD Group Remote Monitoring
The security industry can begin to implement workplace flexibility by using tools that allow security personnel to monitor and protect resources from anywhere. The BOLD Group provides powerful solutions including Alarm Monitoring and Security Intelligence. These can help your team to be ready for unforeseen security challenges. Contact us to learn more.