Ensuring A Secure Office and Workspace – Part II (updated)

7 Golden Rules of Employee Safety

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. Here are ways to ensure employee safety at any office or workplace.

Install video cameras. Video systems are relatively inexpensive and maintenance-free. Cameras placed at entry areas especially areas where visitors will enter the premises not only record the comings and goings of employees and others, they also can deter people from attempting to gain unauthorized access. If you keep exterior doors locked, video cameras can serve as a way to identify people wishing to enter the building; after verification, the door can be unlocked remotely.

Encourage employees to keep valuables at home or in their cars. Ask them to keep any other valuables out of sight and preferably locked in desks or cabinets.

Ensure parking lots are well lit and free of hiding places.

Create and follow an evacuation plan. Even if you have a small office, make sure every employee knows when and how to exit the building in the event of an emergency, and just as importantly where to gather once outside. For example, if you have a fire, the first question firefighters will ask is whether any employees remain inside; by gathering at a specific location, you will immediately know if all your employees are present and accounted for. If you don’t know, firefighters are forced to assume an employee may still be inside and may have to take unnecessary risks to attempt to find them. If there are only two ways out of your office, an evacuation plan is simple to create; just make sure every employee knows to immediately report to a staging area so they can be accounted for. Holding a five-minute meeting to explain your plan could save a life.

Set procedures for employees working late or on weekends. If you normally operate during the business day, you know when employees are in the office. But if employees come in late or on the weekends, you may not be aware they are on the premises. Establish a procedure letting you know when employees are working, and then establish policies to make sure they are safe and the workplace secure. Your system could be as simple as setting up Twitter accounts employees follow; workers “tweet” when they arrive at the office on, for example, a Saturday, and let others know how long they expect to be at work. They can then tweet when they leave for the day. Whatever method you choose, setting up a simple notification system allows you and others to know employees are safe and not in need of assistance. If, for example, an employee has a medical emergency and no one else is on the premises. Knowing that employee should have “checked in” by now could make all the difference.

Create a system to track the movement of employees who work outside the main workplace. Know where they are, where they should be, and create standard “check-in” procedures so you can be sure they are safe and accounted for. Make sure employees who perform duties outside the workplace have cell phones, especially if their duties require them to enter other people’s homes.

Require employees who are traveling on company business to provide an itinerary listing stops, times, etc. Have them report in on a regular basis so you can be sure they are safe.

Again, 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.