Ensuring A Secure Office and Workspace (updated)

11 Rules To Follow to Ensure a Safe Work Space

Every business should focus on providing a safe work environment for workers a safe environment for business operations, and the security of customer information, employee information — even company property. The following are ways to make any office or workplace more secure – for your employees and your business.

Develop specific policies regarding the types of information employees are allowed to share with customers, vendors, suppliers, etc.

Never put company mail in an unsecure mailbox. Use locked or Postal Service mailboxes.

Institute a clear desk policy. At the end of the workday, require employees to store all files, folders, and paperwork in locked drawers or file cabinets. Work in progress should be put away, regardless of whether it is of a sensitive or confidential nature.

Create a “last person out” procedure. Set up a procedure where the last person to leave at the end of the workday checks all doors and window, checks bathrooms, and performs any other tasks (like turning off lights, turning on alarms, etc.). Make sure every employee knows what should be done – and that they follow those procedures.

Store all sensitive documents in a locked fireproof and waterproof cabinet. Some documents can’t be replaced; make sure yours are safe in the event of fire or other disaster. And make sure those documents are put away at the end of the workday.

Shred all proprietary and confidential information. Place shredders in convenient locations so they are easy to use.

Number and assign all keys. Entry door keys, file keys, desk keys all keys should be numbered and specifically assigned to employees. Make as few “master” keys as possible, and ensure that only top management has access to master keys. If you provide keys to temporary employees, contractors, or other individuals, make sure those keys are returned either at the end of each day (if appropriate) or at the end of the assignment.

Use electronic “keys.” Better yet, use electronic keys for entry and interior doors. Electronic keys can be programmed for a specific time-period, to only open certain doors, etc. Then, if a key is not returned, your system can be easily reprogrammed to deny access to that key. A side benefit of an electronic key is that, depending on the system; use of that key can be recorded and tracked.

Restrict access whenever possible. If your premises are fairly large, consider restricting access to certain areas. For example, production employees may have no work reason to visit your computer rooms. Or you may decide to restrict access to file rooms. In short, the fewer people who can access an area, the fewer people who can access sensitive information. Especially consider restricting access where contractors and visitors are concerned. A good policy to follow is the “minimum access necessary” policy: Only allow visitors (and in some cases, employees) access to the areas required to perform their job functions. And limit the time period – if contractors should only be on-site from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., program their keys to deny access outside those time periods.

Provide badges for all visitors. Requiring badges allows employees to quickly determine if an unknown person has been granted access to the premises. Plus, a visitor badge makes it easy to notice guests in your place of business – and for employees to greet those guests. By the same token, never leave reception areas unattended.

Your employees deserve a safe and secure work environment. While some of the above tips may not be appropriate for your business, use them as a starting point to determine ways you can effectively provide security for your employees and your company.

Bill Ferguson

Bill Ferguson, a New Jersey-based communications professional with over 20 years of corporate communications and integrated marketing experience.