Adapting Businesses To Return To Work During A Pandemic

While we are currently in the midst of a second wave and many workers are fortunate enough to be able to work from home, this will not be the case forever. Businesses will soon need to find a way to open their doors safely, securely and without putting their employees in harms way.

Touch Free Workplace

Before reopening, organisations should be looking to implement touch free solutions wherever possible. Strategies your organisation may choose to implement include:

Touch free access control

Businesses are looking more and more towards touch free access control to replace manual opening entry/exit doors and touch code pads.

Manual doors can be easily adjusted with attaching a foot grip or step and pull to create a hands-free solution. Alternatively, businesses may choose to replace manual doors with automatic solutions.

By replacing touch code pads with non-contact proximity cards organisations not only reduce contact between employees and visitors, they also get the added benefits of improved contact tracing and the ability to deny access if an employee shows any symptoms of the virus.

Replacing wired computer accessories & phones

Looking at touch free technology includes your employee's day to day tools. Phones are proven to be one of the dirtiest devices carrying much more bacteria than a common doorhandle. If your organisation requires staff to share a phone have you considered purchasing individual phone headsets to limit exposure? If your organisation uses hot desking or shared computers have you considered purchasing Bluetooth keyboards and mice so that your employees do not need to share?

Information and Assets

As staff transition from their home offices, does your organisation have a procedure in place to collect information and assets that staff took home with them? If your organisation has had to stand down staff during the worst of the pandemic do you have procedures in place to reduce the risk of malicious insider threats?

Visitor Access

Practices need to be adapted to reduce unnecessary exposure. This can be as simple as having a series of questions to screen visitors and refuse entry if they have:

  • - Been out of the country in the past 14 days.
  • - Experienced symptoms such as a cough, shortness of breath or fever.
  • - Recently been in contact with someone who is confirmed as or suspected of having COVID-19.

Screening should occur before a visitor arrives so that if they do not meet the entry criteria an organisation can refuse entry prior to their arrival at the facility.

If a visitor is granted access has your organisation developed a strategy to replace visitor sign in books with a non-touch solution with visitor ID verification and replaced reusable ID cards with a disposable solution?

Security Systems and Hardware

Security that has been left unattended for a period due to working from home arrangements may have missed routine maintenance or have been damaged. Any security systems and hardware should be audited to ensure that they are working, they have not been compromised and are not vulnerable to attack. Security systems should also be assessed for functionality and updated if there are any new requirements, for example if your organisation has implemented staggered shifts as your intruder alarm been updated?


Policies and Procedures

Many of your organisations policies and procedures will need to be reviewed and updated in response to the pandemic. For example, masks may be compulsory so policies stating that face coverings are not allowed will need to be adjusted, visitors may now need to call ahead and answer screening questions before arriving at the facility, there will also be new policies and procedures regarding social distancing and how this is enforced. Organisations should ensure all policies and procedures security policies and procedures are still consistent and support their objectives.

Security Risks

In addition to safety concerns, emerging security risks must also be considered. In a recent security manager guide ASIO recommended that security managers should review and reassess their site-specific security risk assessments in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and flow on effects that may affect an organisation and its facilities.

Communication

It is all well and good to implement changes to better protect your organisation however you need to communicate this to your employees and visitors. Consider preparing a COVID newsletter or training session online to allow employees to know changes before arriving back at work and brief your security team on changes to access control, visitor management and policies and procedures. Safe Work Australia and the Department of Health have a wide range of resources for businesses including editable posters that can be used at entrances, sanitising, and hand wash locations.

Connley Walker Pty Ltd offers independent security consulting services including risk assessment, technology audits, security design and business continuity planning. If you would like to speak with a security consultant about reviewing your security please call us on 03 9621 1077 or send an email to admin@connleywalker.com.au.