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The Future of Corporate Security as Offices Change

The Future of Corporate Security as Offices Change
27 January 2022
 

What does the future of corporate security look like in the face of changing office spaces?

COVID-19 has been a key catalyst in changing office spaces and workplace culture. Julie Hulme from Expeditious Services explores five key trends the business is expecting to see more of in 2022 and beyond.

Julie Hulme is the Commercial Director at Expeditious Services and has worked for the company since 2015. Julie began working in the Facilities Management and Security industry in 1990 and has experience in a range of senior roles within security and FM. Julie is a member of ASIS and is a committee member on the IWFM Northern board and Customer Experience group. At Expeditious Services, Julie is responsible for all commercial development and relationship management, particularly within the FM sector and with end-users. Her proudest moment at Expeditious to date is recently securing a £2.6 million contract.

 

1. Flexible Use

 

Offices are no longer just desks and meeting rooms for the Monday-Friday, 9am-5pm. Many employees are still working from home or prefer a hybrid approach splitting their time across both remote work and the office. Many organisations are expanding their office use to create a social anchor for the wellbeing of their teams. These encourage opportunities for human experience and face-to-face encounters in an increasingly remote world. Examples include relaxation spaces, roof-top gardens, balconies, recreation spaces for yoga, and coffee bars – all nurturing a fully holistic approach to an employee’s work-life balance.

 

How Does this Impact Corporate Security?

 

We could see security officer responsibilities being extended to more of a customer-support role such as concierge, instead of a static position on the door. This will enhance an employee’s skillset making them more valuable to an organisation, increasing job satisfaction and helping to improve the quality of a security team.

 

2. Four-Day Working Week

 

As many people are finding they are more productive at home, and others are pushing for a better work-life balance, a four-day working week is at the forefront of business conversations. It is currently being trialled in Scotland, as one of the SNP’s leading policies, with calls for it to be rolled across the remainder of the UK.

Where businesses are not able to support a four-day working week yet, many are considering the options for flexible working. Instead of the standard 9-5, businesses are entrusting employees to work at times best suited for them, reducing office capacity at peak times and minimising rush-hour traffic. Not only does this benefit employee wellbeing, reflecting the flexibility they are afforded with remote working, it also helps to minimise the spread of any illnesses.

 

How Might the Four-Day Week Impact Corporate Security?

 

Increasing the use of technology and innovation, such as remote monitoring and access control could help to keep offices safe outside of peak hours. It will also free security officers to tend to additional responsibilities or working across multiple sites if they are close together. 

 

3.Co-Working and Collaboration

 

Despite the rising popularity in remote working and hybrid working, many employees have cited real-life collaboration to be most advantageous. Rising numbers of businesses are creating spaces which encourage these “in-office touch points”, or communal co-working spaces for just their business or sharing with other organisations. Each of these increases opportunities for those greatly missed “water-cooler moments” leading to better ideas and creative work, as well as social interaction improving mental wellbeing.

 

Image

Picture: a photograph of three people working at a desk, one person has a laptop. Image Credit: Expeditious Services 

 

How Does this Impact Corporate Security?

 

As building population densities will be reduced and spread across a variety of different spaces (instead of contained within large open plan workspaces), patrolling and spotting signs of risk may become more challenging. Creating controlled spaces with permission-based access could help to keep areas of the building safe, supporting security officers in spotting any early warning signs.

 

4. Decentralisation

 

According to Fast Company, 69 per cent of CEOs are looking to downsize their corporate office space. Many are relocating main offices and downsizing in the process as many of their team work remotely or hybridlike. With this, organisations are being decentralised; smaller headquarters in central urban locations, with smaller “spokes” or “satellite” offices in rural/suburban areas where their workforce commonly commute from. 

Not only does this reduce building costs for the company, but it also gives employees greater flexibility in where they work and creates a positive impact on the environment with reduced commuting. It also allows HR to recruit from a wider distributed workforce, broadening the pool of people they can hire from, increasing the range of backgrounds and experiences they welcome into the company.

 

How Does this Impact Corporate Security?

 

Due to a change in size and infrastructure of a company’s office buildings, some may no longer have the need for full-time manned guarding on the door. They may find it more useful for an officer to have more of a hybrid role with concierge or receptionist duties. Alternatively, they could shift to increasing their technology strategy, such as CCTV, remote monitoring and remote access managed by a centralised control room (either in-house or outsourced).  If sites are local, a security team may become a fleet who operate across multiple sites, to save on the cost of officers specifically dedicated to each site.

 

5. Sustainability

 

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) policies are becoming a vital part of the modern workplace. With offices changing (decentralisation, usage change, hybrid working), many are using now as the perfect time to look at how to implement those CSR strategies. Where previously, CSR might have been a trend or tick-box exercise for an organisation, now it has the potential to drive the way we live, work and use office spaces whilst reducing negative impact on the planet.

Consumer trends for sustainability indicate it’s a key driver for over 1/3 of decision-making. This must be reflected in office spaces and throughout workplaces – not just for the environment but to attract younger generations.

 

How Does Sustainability Impact Corporate Security?

 

The impact of corporate security should always be considered as part of any sustainability or CSR strategy, with many opportunities for improving impact. Many security companies are transitioning to an entirely eco-friendly fleet of security vehicles, whilst other popular actions include adopting paperless systems and swapping routine face-to-face site visits for video calls instead. Some of these practices are already woven into our modern contract management model for outsourced security contracts.

Now and into the future, businesses and facilities managers will be increasingly creating a supply chain using service providers who align with their own values and environmental initiatives.

In the wake of coronavirus, workplace environments may never be the same again. FMs need to consider the broad needs of an entire workforce – some spanning up to 4 different generations. They must consider each of these changing demands when forming a resilient security design and strategy.

Picture: a photograph of a person working with post-it notes placed on a window. The person is holding a pen. Image Credit: Unsplash

Article written by Julie Hulme | Published 27 January 2022

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