Security Strategies, Reopening, and Back to Work is from our monthly newsletter. To subscribe to our monthly insights, click here.
Over the next few weeks, we are going to be focusing our blog posts, LinkedIn articles, and newsletters on “reopening” and back to work as COVID, hopefully, starts moving into the rearview mirror.
Most of our clients, such as health care facilities, schools and universities, corporate executives, and corporations, tell us that while remote working has been effective, most want to see their staff back to work and in the office, at least part of the time.
This is also true of schools and universities. The past year has been challenging for many students and instructors. Further, the remote learning experience may have even negatively impacted student learning.
In September 2019, right before the pandemic, a study was conducted at Harvard University. Students were asked which they prefer:
· Attending lectures in lecture halls.
· Attending classes in classrooms with teachers and other students.
The researchers also wanted to see if either setting impacted test scores and student performance.
The students reported they liked attending lectures in lecture halls much more than attending classes. However, when it came down to student performance—aka test scores—those students who viewed lectures in lecture halls and attended classes with other students and teachers were the ones that performed the best.
But, it’s not only student performance that improves when people get together. Many organizations report similar improvements happen when staff are back to work and once again in an office, collaborating and working together.
So, how can we make sure students and workers are welcomed back into a healthy and safe environment as facilities reopen? In many cases, it calls for a facility risk assessment. This could include analyzing any or all the following:
Back to Work Blueprints
Working with risk assessment firms, administrators, business owners, and managers are developing “healthy workplace blueprints.” These blueprints might recommend, among other things, the use of new cleaning and disinfecting technologies; changes in workplace reconfigurations: one-way traffic patterns so building users do not pass each other too closely; the installation of automatic doors and plastic shields; and technologies that eliminate pathogens in HVAC systems.
It’s more critical than ever that administrators know who is on their property and in their facilities. Enhanced access control systems are now imperative. Further, entry points may need to have contactless temperature scanners, barcode scanners for manual check-ins, and other verification technologies installed.
We are resuming onsite assessments, often conducting these using our “eyes in the sky.” This involves drones that can help identify weaknesses and vulnerabilities around the perimeters of a facility. When these weaknesses are located, steps can be taken to eliminate them.
Combining Physical Security and Cybersecurity.
As facilities reopen, it may be time for us to consider combining physical security—protecting physical, tangible infrastructure—with cybersecurity, which focuses on preventing unauthorized access to an organization’s network and data. In the past, these have been treated as separate entities. But as we shall discuss in the coming months, they are far more intertwined now in a post-COVID world.
These are just some of the topics we will be covering on the TAL Global publishing platforms in the coming weeks. We also will be discussing how important it is that ensuring the safety of building users, staff, students, and structures is a top-down approach. The C-Suite must be totally behind the process; only then will the necessary steps and implementation fall into place.
As always, we value your feedback, which helps us shape our perspective on recent events, security, and the services we offer.
Chief Executive Officer