Why and How You Should Adjust Your Physical Security Plan to Adapt to Flexible Return-to-Work Scenarios

By: David Crow
Regional Sales Director, DSI Security Services

In today’s workplace landscape, one major shift is impacting countless aspects of how a company manages its building’s security: flexible return-to-work scenarios. For many organizations, this has been a key component in corporate life following the pandemic. But it presents a host of problems for a building’s physical security plan. Adjusting the approach to include augmented solutions can be the answer. Let’s explore why! 

The Changed Environment

When you don’t know how many individuals are going to be in a facility on any given day, it can create risk factors. Just think how different a physical security plan would be when 3,000 employees are on-site versus 500 or less on another day. This is the reality for many office locations throughout the country post-pandemic.

Among the problems such situations pose, the most alarming may include: 

  • Securing parking areas becomes a challenge, especially for after-hour shifts, late workers, and early arrivals. Lack of density removes the “safety in numbers” element many individuals rely on when it comes to walking to their vehicles in the dark. 
  • The question of where and when to post security officers becomes a complicated guessing game. You might not want to waste an officer on an entrance two people will use that day. That is, if you can even find an officer in the midst of today’s staffing challenges. 
  • With buildings that are regularly occupied by as little as 10% of the total employees, community awareness is low. If a stranger or other external threat pops up, it is much less likely to be noticed, remarked upon, discussed, and reported. 
  • Active and accurate headcounts in the case of emergency become almost impossible. 
  • Deciding when to ensure entrance access and availability can also be a challenge. 

For all of these reasons, plus the other concerns that inevitably arise due to the unique nature of each organization and property, augmented security becomes a necessity. No longer is technology a novel and interesting inclusion in your physical security plan. It must now be top of mind. 

Augmented Solutions for Your Physical Security Plan 

The good news is that we know how to solve these problems. Augmented security, an approach that combines manpower with technology, is the answer. 

In an augmented physical security plan, innovation empowers the officer. 

Camera analytics become innumerable extra sets of eyes and ears. They can provide instantaneous, fully accurate headcounts, alert to motion, monitor comings and goings, and more. With such sophisticated surveillance systems, one or two officers can man a single post, while providing security to the entire property. Essentially, they now see and know all. 

This has various benefits. 

First, it obviously supports safety and crime prevention in a way that a lone security officer walking the perimeter or sitting in the lobby simply cannot. 

Second, it gives security officers the tools they need to make the most informed decisions in every scenario. This enables them to use their expertise and training to the most impactful means. 

Third, it reduces the number of security officers one must employ. This is why security technology has an unparalleled ROI. But it is also a critical factor given ongoing security staffing challenges. There are not enough officers for hire to do without technological assistance. 

Case Study

While all of this sounds great, you might be wondering what it looks like in practice. Here at DSI Security Services, we have augmented physical security plans with all of the above insights in mind. 

In a recent project, we …  

  • Completed a full security assessment and risk identifiers, looking at changes impacted by a significantly reduced employee population
  • Reviewed the scope and duties of the existing security team, including post orders and potential variations of duties due to the fluctuations of staffing levels
  • Gained an understanding of the culture at the company—what was important to each element of the jobsite, the employees, the visitors/guests, the leadership, and also the security team members
  • Learned about recent changes in the area’s crime and incidents to discover there was an increase in nuisance crimes tied to the socioeconomic changes and behaviors, increased car break-ins, crimes of opportunity, etc.  
  • Identified opportunities to potentially reduce the necessary manpower by 168 hours per week
  • Improved and enhanced security presence through the deployment of CCTV-based analytics using either EDGE-based programs or cloud-applied analytics
  • Deployed a new visitor management system that would allow for remote interactions and two-way communication

In doing so, we crafted a physical security plan that was augmented to improve safety while saving approximately $200k. 

By integrating and augmenting your man-guarding program with new technology enhancements, the security program grows stronger. And, the security team becomes better prepared and equipped to support the company’s needs. The secret to this type of personalized, augmented approach is the mindset—present and operate by the mantra, “Our only limitation is our imagination!”