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Today’s working world isn’t entirely tethered to the office. The coronavirus pandemic that began in 2019 changed the world of work. Businesses around the country have embraced the benefits of remote work — giving a new generation of employees new preferences and more options.
Some businesses have chosen a hybrid work model that puts employees in the office on some days and allows them to work from home on others. If you’re in charge of security and building access management for a hybrid company, you’ll have to adapt. The good news is that there are many ways you can automate office procedures to ensure top-tier security and deliver a convenient access experience for your employees.
What is a hybrid work model?
A hybrid work model is a scheduling practice that lets employees work from home some of the time and allows them to work from an office on other days.
There are many hybrid work variations that managers use today. Some managers give their employees a fixed schedule, during which employees work either from home or from the office on fixed days. Other employers are more flexible, allowing their employees to work from the office or from home at will.
Some hybrid workplaces have taken advantage of remote work from a real estate perspective. Because these companies won’t have as many people in the office at the same time, they’ve chosen to downsize and rent smaller office spaces. In these cases, the job of a security supervisor is even more important to prevent overcrowding.
How is managing hybrid work different?
If you’re in charge of managing security and building access for hybrid work employees, you’re in for a few differences compared to when your employees worked entirely in the office.
Of course, some of your responsibilities stay the same. You’re still in charge of distributing credentials, like key cards or fobs, to employees so that they can gain access to the building. However, there might not be enough office space to host every employee at once. So, hybrid work models require security supervisors to put more emphasis on when employees can access the building. You’ll need to make a few changes to make sure that employees can get into the building only during the times when they’re approved. And, you might want to limit access to certain areas at certain times to maximize security.
Hybrid workplaces also place more importance on cybersecurity and remote-friendly equipment. When your employees work from non-office locations like coffee shops, libraries, and their own homes, you need to make sure that their laptops are secure, up-to-date, and don’t have any defects.
Luckily, you can rely on technology to help you manage access and security for employees and ensure the success of your company’s hybrid work model.
What technology will help me manage a hybrid work model?
Under a hybrid work model, reservation systems and timed access are important to make sure employees don’t overcrowd the same space or access areas they aren’t supposed to. And when it comes to managing the schedules and preferences of dozens, if not hundreds, of employees, there’s a lot of room for automation to help you out.
Here are three technological innovations, both hardware- and software-based, that can help you manage physical and virtual employee access.
VPN stands for ‘Virtual Private Network,’ and they’ll help you maintain security on the software side of things. A VPN is a way of connecting two computers that ensures confidentiality and security. When two computers use the same VPN to connect, they can communicate with the assurance that nobody else can see their communications.
Employees working in places other than the office, like a coffee shop or a library, usually depend on public WiFi to connect to the internet. But public WiFi is insecure, and anybody can log on and possibly monitor traffic. By making your employees use VPNs, you guarantee the safety of their connections and their work, even if they’re on public WiFi.
Some VPN providers for businesses are:
- Perimeter 81
- Zero Trust Security
2. Desk reservation software
With desk reservation software, you can ensure a quick and orderly transition between employees who are coming into the office, no matter how many employees there are. Instead of manually keeping track of who’s reserved, which desk and at what time, you can automate that entire process. And because the system can keep track of everything electronically, you’ll virtually eliminate the chances of human error.
If your reservation software is cloud-based, your employees will be able to access it from any computer or smartphone. Regardless of location, you can invest in desk reservation software to ensure that employees will always be able to reserve desks and safely go into the office.
3. Smartphone-based access control
Smartphone-based access control allows employees to use an app on their smartphones to unlock doors and gates. The best smartphone-based mobile access systems work with a variety of hardware, meaning that users can unlock everything from intercoms to keypads with one swipe of a finger.
With a smartphone-based system, you can automate away one of the most inefficient parts of your job: credential assignment and management. While you’ve certainly had to deal with your share of employees who have lost their keys, an employee losing their smartphone is a much rarer occasion!
You’ll no longer have to painstakingly keep an eye on which credentials you’ve handed out. And collecting credentials in order to issue new, updated ones is a thing of the past. Instead, you’ll simply log on to a cloud-based dashboard that can push out changes to employees’ smartphones instantaneously.
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