According to a recent survey of over 1,000 CIOs, 72% of their companies’ employees are currently working remotely, and they expect 34.4% of that workforce to remain permanently remote. Clearly, the way offices have been run for the past 10-20 years is no longer going to make the cut.
This is especially concerning for workplace security, which is an industry that has experienced minimal disruption in recent years in comparison to other technology sectors. With increased demand for flexibility in the workplace comes the added challenge of also making sure those workplaces are safe and secure.
In order to make the transition to easier, organizations are turning to adaptive technology that enables more efficient remote management. Whether it’s to adhere to social distancing in office buildings, or to accommodate flexible scheduling, remote security and building management technology is a smart investment in today’s real estate market—and a necessary one in order for businesses to be competitive.
Because security is a rising concern for property and business owners, it’s no surprise that a major investment for any modern building security system is access control. However, the traditional, legacy access control systems that dominated the market for the last 10-20 years often lack the flexibility that’s now a requirement for accommodating remote work.
Being able to control who has access, as well as make adjustments in real-time, is essential to keeping buildings secure as needs shift. And now, organizations need the ability to do all of that remotely. If a building is still using an on-premise access control system, remote functionality could be limited.
A cloud-based access control system, on the other hand, gives building administrators full control over their security from anywhere in the world. With more control and visibility, it’s easier for security teams to address concerns and issues, often in real-time.
Whether it’s an employee caught out in the rain without their key, or preventing a break-in, every second counts. Any technology that can automate or speed up issue response time will show up on the company’s bottom line. Cloud-based security is a prime example of how remote access can improve efficiency, productivity, and workplace experiences.
For organizations who have relied on traditional access methods, such as RFID badges, now is a good time to consider updating to more agile credentials. Mobile-based access control is quickly gaining traction in a variety of markets—even car manufacturers are replacing car keys with mobile entry and biometric access.
Mobile credentials mean less time spent creating and issuing badges, and give users instant access to their buildings without having to meet them in person. Plus, smartphones have excellent security features already built-in, such as biometric 2FA, passcode protection, and encryption. All of this translates to better building security with less investment.
In terms of flex work schedules, mobile and cloud-based security systems can help organizations control occupancy levels to keep buildings safer while social distancing measures are still in place. Reduced occupancy is the top-requested adjustment that helps employees feel safer in returning to the office, so finding tools to help expedite and automate that process is essential to getting back to work quickly and safely.
Many organizations are taking a page from the shared workspace model, and now require employees to pre-register for desk space prior to arriving at the office. When integrated with other security systems, such as access control, this can be a powerful tool for automating security and safety.
With the ability to remotely approve or reject access requests, administrative teams can control the number of people at the building, and keep a detailed log of who was there and when, all without having to set foot on the property.
An integrated security and registration system also provides key insights into user activity, which can help management teams accommodate staggered work schedules. Plus, with that registration system connected to access credentials, only those with approved registration will be able to unlock the door.
One of the biggest challenges for organizations shifting to a greater flexible and remote workforce is the ability to credential users quickly, and adjust access permissions accordingly for the correct location. A cloud-based management platform, instead of an on-premise system, solves this problem with an easily accessible interface for all settings and permissions.
With everything available in just a few clicks, building and security managers no longer have to be on-site to make changes. This is an important point for enterprise organizations looking to become more nimble and reduce onsite headcount. Cloud systems effectively centralize building management, without tying a team down to one specific site. This not only makes it easier to manage users across every site, it also empowers organizations with a leaner, more agile team.
Remote management also helps organizations future-proof their buildings. With more data about how spaces are accessed and utilized, managers can make more informed decisions about scheduling and how to optimize that space.
For example, with an increasingly remote workforce, some building amenities may no longer be prudent (or profitable), such as gyms or small conference spaces. Adaptive office design tools are helpful in mapping out new layouts based on how people are actually using the current space.
By analyzing the data available on a remote access control system, and even ingesting that data into business intelligence tools, admins can improve decision-making when it comes to restructuring the space for evolving needs.
For real estate managers and property owners, there’s an opportunity to be more adaptive in lease agreements and tenant experiences moving forward as well. Empowered with data from access control, space management, occupancy tools, and intelligent building systems, building owners can identify usage patterns to better serve their tenants.
Data trends are key to understanding where improvements can be made, and can reveal opportunities to increase ROI. As flexible work continues to rise, property owners can benefit from systems that are also more flexible, allowing spaces to be containerized in more modular ways to accommodate ever-changing needs, without having to rip and replace entire systems for each new tenant.
Remote work isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing. As the way people work changes, the technology used to access and secure workplaces will also need to change.
To successfully adapt, organizations will need to embrace future-proof technology to prevent having to make drastic changes or investments with each new challenge that arises. Innovative tools and technology that enable better remote functionality, without compromising productivity, will allow businesses to continue to thrive.
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