Money & Business

Mitigate Risk at the Workplace With a Few Commonsense Measures

By / Oct 24, 2018 (matdesign24/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

No organization wants to imagine a scenario where its staff are threatened by violence, but it’s important to be prepared. Here are a few security measures associations can take to reduce risk at the workplace.

Along with fire and tornado drills, students now participate in lockdown drills at their schools, where they practice huddling together quietly, away from doors and windows, in the event of an active shooter emergency.

To be honest, it’s always a little unnerving to hear my children talk about those drills, but I remind myself practice helps keep them safe.

Like schools, workplaces should also be helping their employees prepare for emergency situations. For example, CNN’s New York City offices were evacuated yesterday after the cable network received a suspicious package.

“There’s no way to eliminate risk; there’s no way to eliminate any type of security breach,” said Jon Olmstead, co-head of the nonprofit and association practice group at commercial real estate services company Cushman & Wakefield. However, according to Olmstead, associations can mitigate risk by ensuring their buildings are equipped with certain security measures.

An association might have different security needs depending on where its office is located. For instance, Olmstead said that organizations are choosing to move from high-priced rent areas in Chicago, New York, and Washington, DC, to older buildings outside big cities, where there might be less of a police presence and fewer security amenities in the buildings themselves.

At a minimum, associations should ensure that access to the office is controlled with key cards, Olmstead said. Another measure is an office panic button, which can be installed at the reception desk or in other areas to alert the police of a dangerous situation. Some panic buttons can also trigger certain office doors to close, ensuring that the employees within those closed-off areas are safe. Ensuring that building lobbies and other common areas are monitored with security cameras is another smart move.

There are other things to consider as well, said Olmstead. If your association is moving into a building with other tenants, it’s wise to learn as much as you can about them. For instance, if another tenant represents a controversial issue, it could be worth considering a different space in a different building to mitigate any bystander risk that comes from working beside that organization. It’s also crucial to ensure your association is on the same wavelength with its landlord when it comes to security. “But, on the flipside, those tenants could move out or a tenant could move in that has an issue that you can’t control,” Olmstead said. “Or a building is sold, and you have a new landlord with a different perspective and attitude toward security, so it’s about being prepared and safeguarding as much as you can.”

What security measures has your association taken to ensure staff safety? Please leave your comments below.

Emily Bratcher

Emily Bratcher is a Contributing Editor for Associations Now. More »

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