How Security Measures Create a Flexible Work Environment

How Security Measures Create a Flexible Work Environment

Access control innovation is helping businesses put employees first

As the job market grows increasingly competitive for top talent, and as new tech allows more freedom and flexibility for employees, many businesses have implemented highly flexible work hours and additional remote worker benefits to stay competitive in the market. As a result of this trend, flexible office spaces are being created and refined. A well-designed space may allow employees to come and go repeatedly throughout a 24-hour business day and supports collaboration, team building and a new-found freedom for employees to move freely around the office during preferred working hours.

Changing Footprint

In recent years, the number of employees working in an office space continues to decrease, and with that, so is the average square footage for office space allotted per employee. Since 2010, the square footage allocated per employee has decreased nearly 30 percent from 225 to 151 square feet. Business enterprises are rethinking how office spaces are arranged and administered.

The rising costs of commercial real estate, or more specifically, the costs to a business enterprise occupying space continue to scale rapidly, particularly in major urban market areas—literally, every square foot makes a difference. As a result, business enterprises are often modifying the footprint of their offices and look for creative ways of assigning and sharing space wherever possible with minimal or no interruption to the business objectives.

Employees, therefore, may not necessarily be assigned to a specific area or desk, but rather, have the flexibility to securely “choose” their workspace—an office, a desk, maybe even a locker to safely store personal belongings. Flexible solutions such as these help businesses capitalize on space efficiencies and maximize the return on investment for space.

Security Upgrades

With these benefits also come security risks. It’s imperative for businesses to understand that flexible work hours and offices are going to change the flow of employee traffic throughout an office environment. It’s also important for businesses to manage traffic flow and to hold employees accountable for their whereabouts throughout the facility during the workday.

With that in mind, employers are leveraging new and unique access control solutions to ensure that office space is both secure and flexible, fostering collaboration and productivity without compromising on safety and security.

Specialized access control solutions such as those provided by ASSA ABLOY and its partners address these flexible employment requirements by allowing employers to easily implement secure identity credential cards, or key cards, for each employee, or even to leverage secure credentials which may already be in use across the business enterprise. Furthermore, the advent of secure mobile credentials, similar to those which you may see and use at a hotel, can enable employees to easily reserve office, desk or locker spaces to gain secure access ondemand with virtually no lag time.

Credential information and access privileges can be provisioned quickly and conveniently as new employees are “on-boarded” or simply as needed “on-demand.” When an employee leaves for the day, week or permanently, so too do their access rights to offices, desks and lockers.

For example, in applications where an employee needs to reserve a specific office on a specific day, the employee can request access through an easy-to-use application, a selfserve kiosk or through security personnel to use their key card or secure mobile identity via their phone to gain access to the room for the day, or that week. Once an employee reserves the office, their credential can be used with the wireless access control lock on the door to conveniently open the office during authorized time windows, meaning the employee is free to come and go throughout the day during those authorized windows, and know the office is secure for them only. Often businesses will provide employees with a personal locker, or they may wish to assign those lockers on demand. Again, in these cases, a wireless access control cabinet lock may be implemented to enable secure access to the assigned locker, often on a firstcome- first-served basis.

Another common application might be the need to easily provision and de-provision individual desk usage instead of an entire office. In these cases, employers can implement secure wireless or hardwired access control readers at the available desks. Once verified, the assigned user will be authorized to use the electrical power and/or the phone system by example. Not only does this help employers securely control access privileges, it may also help the business entity reduce the associated energy costs for each workspace

In many cases, the same security measures used on offices and desks can also be implemented for shared conference and meeting areas throughout the facility. In these spaces, managers have the added benefit of being able to recall meeting attendance for each individual employee using their secure credentials.

Employer and Employee-Focused Solutions

Progressive employers recognize the need for flexible and remote work hours, along with a need to manage hard and soft costs per employee as it relates to the workspace. Companies can affordably and efficiently implement access control solutions that help protect both the safety and security of the employee and the business enterprise’s assets. ASSA ABLOY supports this by advancing innovative solutions and collaborative partnerships, designed to complement both the business enterprise and the employee objectives.

This article originally appeared in the January/February 2019 issue of Campus Security Today.