Research that came out in 2021 from Cushman & Wakefield estimated that most workers around the world would return to their offices during the first quarter of 2022. Flash forward and that picture is a bit more complicated.
While offices have reopened since the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, the way work is structured has changed. For instance, nearly half of all employees plan on working remotely, at least partially, according to Gartner.
With this new normal, physical security — and the data derived from it — is playing a big role in envisioning how the modern workplace and its hybrid work models function.
Physical security’s role in the evolving office
Recently, Buildings.com published a comprehensive look at how physical security systems can guide today’s offices on moving forward in this new era of work.
“Organizations are increasingly using the data gathered by physical security systems they already have — not only to control access and monitor their spaces, but also optimize space, improve business efficiency, comply with public health requirements and come up with new standard operating procedures (SOPs) to meet the changing needs of the hybrid workplace,” reads the article.
In terms of how business are managing occupancy, the site details that companies are using their existing management systems and access control systems to leverage insights into how buildings are being used.
Access control system data on people counts can help “companies ensure compliance with government occupancy regulations” and maintain the established industry-accepted maximum occupancy thresholds.
Aggregating this data can help manage office space more efficiently and can enable managers to figure out how frequently visitors can visit and their duration of stay.
Another area Buildings highlights is the fact that companies are automating SOPs to “control how people move through facilities as guidelines evolve.” Increasingly advanced security systems can help managers automate workflows, alerting personnel that shared work spaces “need to be cleaned in response to changing occupancy levels,” for example.
The need to be flexible
In closing, Buildings emphasizes that traditional access control systems “aren’t designed for the flexibility organizations require today” given that employees and visitors alike work in and move through shared spaces in ways different from what they had in the past.
This means systems need to be enabled to adapt to shifting standards.
“Since smarter physical access management systems also enable operators to manage them remotely, they streamline administration and reduce staff workload,” the article reads. “When new hires are onboarded or employees change jobs, policies can be configured to ensure an automatic provisioning of access rights based on department, location, job title, seniority, etc.”
Given the world is adjusting to new demands being placed on workers and companies during this era, physical security systems and their invaluable data will serve as tools that will innovate and shape the way we all interact with our shared workspaces.