By Candice Hall
When the COVID-19 pandemic began, facility management teams faced numerous tough decisions. They had to balance protecting their workers from an immediate health threat and maintaining their facilities’ business functions. Security technologies proved useful to many facility managers as they navigated guidance from organizations like the CDC on preparing their buildings to limit the spread of COVID-19. And that technology’s power can extend to other business functions, too. As companies reopen facilities and look to recoup lost revenue, managers can use integrated security solutions to solve some of their most pressing business problems.
Increase Operational Efficiencies
As the pandemic unfolded, facility managers had to safely move their people into, throughout, and out of their facilities. But inefficient throughput management consumed lots of employee time and led to long lines at entry and exit points during shift changes — a breeding ground for viral transmission. To recapture pre-COVID operational efficiencies, managers can turn to advanced screening technology to improve throughput rate and create opportunities for further efficiency.
Many companies have likely tried advanced screening already — if you implemented a human temperature screening station or a pre-visit health questionnaire during the pandemic, you’ve performed advanced screening. The real power of these systems lies in automation: processes and workflows running automatically allow for quicker, non-contact visitor and employee screening. Imagine not having to staff a front desk for check-in or manually take temperatures. You’re protecting employees from potential viral spread and creating a more efficient process to get people in and out of your building.
Integrating these technologies then lets facility management teams combine everything into a single dashboard. Data gathered from temperature screenings, health questionnaires, and other systems pass through analytical software so managers can track key insights with real-time notifications and alerts. The reduction in physical contact between employees is beneficial, but this technology also streamlines the on-site experience for employees and visitors.
Mitigate Health And Safety Risks
Managers reopening facilities amid a return to normality should always be conscious of protecting employees’ health and safety. But they also can’t neglect the customer. Whether your facility is an easily accessible retail location or admits visitors on a limited basis, bringing customers back in is key to generating revenue. Alongside that need, companies still have to create a safe space, including managing social distancing guidelines.
Creating safe spaces can be a real challenge. Managers have much to consider: shared workspaces, bathrooms and hallways, people flow during shift changes, the number of on-site employees, a facility’s size and shape. All these factors feed into your post-pandemic facility protection plan. Many health risks lurk throughout your facility, and it’s your job to protect employees, visitors, and customers by helping them adhere to new policies or procedures. Modern security technology and its automated capabilities and data-driven insights can assist on this front.
For example, contact tracing and proximity management solutions offer real-time alerts on room capacity and social distancing. Should employees or visitors come too close to each other, the system can send a notification to wearable badges and encourage self-correction to a safe distance apart. And if someone should fall ill, an integrated solution can parse badge data and notify appropriate personnel to conduct contact tracing with employees and customers. Equipped with this information, facility management can respond quickly and accurately to protect overall health and safety.
Develop Insights On Performance And Training
Managers might view their cameras in facilities mainly as a way to catch burglars or detect similar on-site threats. But the camera itself is only part of the equation. The analytical solutions now available to companies uncover many more insights living within video footage.
For example, integrated video surveillance systems can monitor how employees move throughout and behave within a facility. From a health and safety perspective, a manager could receive a notification about employees not wearing face masks, allowing managers to correct behavior around proper use. Cameras can also help locate where employees inadvertently congregate — like breakrooms or conference rooms — and enable managers to implement policies that eliminate those congregation points.
Video analytics let your system go even further by identifying novel ways to increase revenue. For example, in retail-focused facilities, analytical software captures key data from video footage like transactions, store traffic, heat-mapping, line wait-times, sales conversion, and incident reporting. Managers can use this information to adapt to changing markets while managing growth and improving profitability. Companies could even get an accurate foot traffic count and determine when customers’ purchase rates were highest or lowest. Analytics can tell you which employees work during low-sales times, so you can target training to employees who need it most.
Facility managers still face tremendous operational challenges in the months ahead. With intelligently integrated security solutions, however, they can streamline their facility’s functions and develop key insights to improve their businesses, all while protecting the health and safety of their people.
Hall is vice president sales operations, Electronic Security North America at STANLEY Security.