With 85% of the UK’s adult working population wanting to split their time between home and office, it’s no surprise that “hybrid” working has been a hot topic recently. From recommendations on software to enable agile working to businesses trialling 4-day weeks, it’s clear that the world of office work will never be the same again.
But with no set rules on how to create a hybrid working environment, many businesses face challenges on how to do this safely and effectively.
With the diversification in office space usage, a reduction in people on-site, and more flexibility in hours, businesses need to consider how their facilities management will create a safe environment.
But fear not, we’re here to share our tips and advice on how to create a safe hybrid office environment.
“Fire! Fire! Fire!”
While many business owners are experts in fighting metaphorical fires, no one wants to imagine a situation with real-life flames. However, with fewer people utilising your office at any one time, there is an increased chance of a fire breaking out before your team becomes aware.
Additionally, with some buildings closed over the past 18 months while the country worked from home, many businesses have been unable to maintain regular fire alarm servicing and tests.
Unfortunately, an alarming number of systems we audit are not compliant with the latest regulations, causing businesses to break the law unknowingly. Plus, regular servicing can also prevent disruptive false alarms and downtime for your team. It’s a win, win for everyone.
That’s why all businesses must invest in regularly servicing their fire alarms.
“Help I can’t get in!”
With a change to working hours requiring flexibility in building access, it’s vital to ensure only those that should be in your building or particular areas can gain access. Additionally, lone working employees are more vulnerable to attacks and threats.
This is where access control comes in. Not too long ago, businesses would rely on keyholders to open and lock buildings, but thanks to technological advances, there is a lot more choice on the market. From time zone access through to passcodes and even biometrics, meaning you have total control over your access control. Helping protect your employees from outside threats while ensuring they have the right level of access when they need it, because who wants to turn up to work and find they can’t get in!
“I hate walking to my car at night”
Often when we discuss office security, we automatically think about access control and security inside the building. However, it’s just as crucial for businesses to consider creating a safe environment outside. From smoking areas and communal areas to your carpark, it’s important to ensure your team’s safety outside.
With lone workers, there is also an increased risk of violence, particularly for employees working late evening or early morning, when fewer workers are around.
As an employer, under the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations, you have a legal responsibility to mitigate these risks.
In addition to training, CCTV is an excellent option for mitigating risk and helping your staff to feel safer. Using remotely monitored CCTV, with 24/7 call-out support, can help deter unwanted trespassers, helping to protect your staff and your property. But if the worst happens, you’ll have the evidence required to support your team.
“These processes just don’t make sense anymore.”
But it’s not just about the practical systems you have in place. It’s essential also to ensure your risk assessments and policies reflect the new way of working.
This also includes providing training for your staff to identify and handle health and safety issues.
Some things to consider:
- Will your existing fire alarm process be suitable and safe when fewer people are in the office or at different times of the day?
- What are the emergency protocols, and are all the team aware of this?
- Do you have new team members who joined during the pandemic who may not be aware of the office Health & Safety processes?
- What should lone working employees do if they are faced with an emergency?
Looking for help with your office security? Contact us today to speak to one of our experts!