Office theft runs the gamut from employees stealing supplies to burglars gaining access after-hours. In a commercial building, it only makes sense to be extra-cautious, no matter how comfortable you might feel. Here are some ways that employees, managers, and building owners can work together to reduce the risks.
When you’re at work, keep your personal items safe. Your purse, keys, wallet, cell phone, and other valuable items are small, easy targets. Carry them around with you or lock them in a secure closet or drawer.
Check the identity of anyone you don’t recognize in your office. Ask who they are and who they are visiting. Check your office policy on visitors and make sure they follow the rules, such as signing in or always being accompanied by an escort.
Separate your personal life from your work life. If you are discussing plans for the weekend or your upcoming vacation with coworkers, make sure no clients or visitors are within earshot. Not only is it unprofessional, but you never know what a stranger’s intentions might be.
Try not to take the stairs alone. Don’t get in an elevator with anyone who seems threatening. It’s better to wait a few moments than to put yourself in a risky situation.
Avoid dimly lit stairwells, corridors, and parking lots. If you are working late, let someone know where you are and when you are leaving. Create an action plan to get safely to your car or public transit, and never let a stranger into the office after business hours.
Report broken doors, windows, or locks immediately. Never assume that someone else already did.
Be careful and diligent in the hiring process. Perform pre-employment background checks on everyone, and periodic checks on employees in high-risk operations. The more thorough your screening process, the less likely you will fall victim to an inside job.
Conduct regular security audits to identify potential weaknesses. Many security companies offer these audits free of charge. Work with a professional to develop a plan of action that fits your company’s needs and budget.
Consider upgrading access control procedures to ensure that the only people who can get into your office are those who belong there. For example, you might use badge scanners on rooms that contain sensitive equipment, an intercom system for visitors, and vandal-proof hardware on exterior doors. Your security professional can help you decide what makes sense for your business.
Think about installing surveillance equipment. You need to be careful not to make your employees and customers feel distrusted, or to do anything that could be considered spying, but a basic camera system can be a deterrent. If you do have an issue, camera footage can help bring a thief to justice.
Conduct regular employee security training. Besides learning to keep themselves and their belongings safe from harm, your employees can also play an important role in protecting your company’s equipment and data. Hold training classes at least once per year, and pass along helpful security tips by email now and then.
Commercial building owners have both moral and legal responsibilities to their tenants. Hire a security professional to conduct a full building assessment and make recommendations. At a minimum, all exterior doors should have deadbolts and all windows must be secure. High security locks or electronic access-control units with secure key bypass systems are even better.
Reduce shadowy areas around the building by adding lights and trimming shrubs, and install both constant and motion-control lighting near access points. Restrooms should have high-security locks, and only employees should have keys or codes. If you have a building-wide receptionist, the desk should be equipped with a panic button.
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