Do workers in South Africa feel secure returning to on-site or office-based working? It is a pressing question for employers and employees everywhere, as a “new normal” starts to take shape.
For businesses and security managers, another question must also be answered: What happens next time? And are there changes or investments we can make today which will create a safer, more resilient office for the long term. Often overlooked is the important role that a choice of access control can play.
The security challenge of changing work patterns
In a recent security industry survey, more than three-quarters of respondents said that the health and safety of employees was an important driver for building investments. Creating a safer workplace already relies on multiple functions and technologies working in harmony. These include health protocols which existed before COVID-19, alongside more recent procedures. Rapidly changing work patterns — accelerating a trend that was well underway before 2020 — have made flexibility in security provision even more important. One McKinsey survey found63% of employees preferred a “hybrid” or fully remote work pattern. Businesses, too, have reaped benefits from supporting hybrid working, in both cost management and employee efficiency. Indeed, “very few organisations look to return to the way things were pre-2020”.
How access control helps smarter working
Access control has always been critical for building security. Now, monitoring and filtering who can go where — and at what times — is even more essential. It ensures staff and visitors move safely and conveniently into and around the workplace. Intelligent electronic access control brings this flexibility.
For example, it can enable easy hybrid working without creating hassle or confusion — for employees or managers. Credentials can be programmed to unlock doors at certain times, so staff enter only when authorized or scheduled. Daily access can be limited to stay within capacity.
Could a move to hybrid working help the business reduce office space rental? An access system will be a goldmine of information to help decision-making. Space utilization analytics need the data that access control generates.
From a health and safety perspective, electronic access control can also help businesses avoid costly disruptions. One smart solution is to issue each employee with a personalized, programmable electronic key.
Each smart key can be programmed to open every lock which the keyholder is permitted to open. Nobody carries big key bunches anymore. Smart keys minimize sharing, make face-to-face key handover meetings redundant and remove the need for disinfection.
Choosing the right access control
This type of modern, key-based access control is easy to fit and to run. The eCLIQ system [https://www.assaabloy.com/za/en/solutions/products/digital-access-solutions-and-access-control/wireless-electronic-key-locking-solutions/ecliq-access-control-system], for example, can save a business time and money over its lifetime. With eCLIQ, a building manager can give certain users access at specific times only, enabling hybrid working without hitting building capacity problems. This kind of “traffic management” is easy to implement with eCLIQ — but almost impossible with mechanical locks.
The system is fast, non-disruptive and cost-efficient to retrofit. An eCLIQ electronic cylinder is wireless: To install, a locksmith simply swaps out a door’s existing mechanical cylinder and inserts the eCLIQ device. It takes one screw, nothing more. Because eCLIQ don’t require cabling at the door, building infrastructure remains intact. This could be critical in a rented workspace.
Lock microelectronics are powered by a standard, long-lasting battery inside every eCLIQ key. Users enjoy the convenience of carrying just one smart key which unlocks every door they are authorized to open — which may include gates, cabinets, lockers, vending machines and almost any other workplace opening.
The only thing we can be certain of is uncertainty. A programmable key system helps make security more flexible. It prepares your workplace for the next challenge — whatever it may be.