Access Control Systems for Hybrid Work Places
27 July 2021
For many organisations the last 16 months has seen a transition from being an office-centric organisation to a team-focus one. ‘Going to the office’ used to be the defining comment from some of us as we approach our Monday to Friday existence. Now, for many, it could be a rarer event. Remote working for some of the UK’s workforce is here to stay but what are the implications for offices and buildings and their security?
Hybrid Work Places
Hot-desking used to be trendy and most modern companies and organisations had one or two ‘hot desks’ or ‘touch down’ areas where people could connect to the local IT network and have a base for their day in the office. More than likely, the spaces were filled by ‘road warriors’ who were normally out peddling the wares of the company and only occasionally came into the office to do their admin and catch-up with colleagues and meetings.
As a recent article in the Financial Team points out hybrid work places are here to stay and will lead to a change in how people and teams are managed, inspired and developed in the future.
More information on hybrid work places from the FT.com:
Access Control Systems
For access control system manufacturers like Remsdaq, the question is how should their systems adapt to the new way of working? What new features and technologies will be required to support hybrid working arrangements?
The main role of an access control system is security and control. Buildings, the people and assets within them must be secured to prevent theft, damage and unwanted intrusion. An access control system does this by pre-assigning credentials to individuals. These credentials define whether a person can enter a building and where they can and cannot go.
Access control systems are a form of occupancy management. Afterall, you can only get into a building if you have the right credential. Be it an access control card, key pin, mobile phone app or biometric.
Occupancy management in a hybrid work role takes this to another level. The English government wants a return to the workplace and has moved responsibility for providing this safely onto the businesses and organisations. A risk assessment has to be completed to demonstrate to staff that their workplaces are safe and secure, and that all measures that can be taken to reduce risks of coronavirus spread and infection have been made.
Within offices and workspaces an access control system such as EntroStar has the ability to define occupancy limits for specific building rooms and areas. Examples include where people gather such as offices, but also canteens and rest rooms. Using access control credentials, occupancy management on a room or space basis limit entry to a set number of individuals or even just down to one.
When enabled occupancy management can help to protect staff and visitors to a site. In a hybrid work environment, this feature of an access control system can also be used to limit staff and visitor numbers to a building on any given day. When people have the choice as to when they go to their office, this feature can avoid ‘building overload’.
CCTV Camera Systems
We have grown accustomed to seeing CCTV cameras installed in a variety of outside areas, buildings and workspaces. Linked to an access control system, CCTV can also be used to protect staff and visitors by linking CCTV footage to pre and post event alarms. This way, if there is an onsite incident, there is CCTV footage linked to an event to help with any further investigation. CCTV camera systems can therefore provide additional safety and comfort to those who regularly visit a building.
Facial Recognition Cameras
Widespread smart phone technologies, including Apple and Samsung mean that we have become used to facial recognition as a way to unlock our phones, applications and confirm, for example, payments.
Facial recognition is itself a form of biometric credential and can be used in access control. Card readers and keypads are the more traditional devices for gaining entry or exit through a controlled doorway. Facial recognition cameras are another. These devices are a form of ‘reader’ with a Wiegand compatible interface making them ideal for use with an access control system. In addition they can be used to instantaneously measure and record forehead temperatures, denying access if the readings are higher than a pre-set limit.
Facial recognition camera terminals are also a form of ‘contactless’ entry.
Contactless Access Control Systems
Traditional access control systems relied on keypad pins and card readers. Keys on a keypad have to be pressed or a card presented within very close proximity to a reader. Contactless solutions avoid making contact with surfaces that other people will or may have touched. Facial recognition camera terminals provide ‘contactless’ door entry and as do mobile phone Bluetooth low energy (BLE) readers.
There is no doubt that our approach to workplace management has and will continue to evolve as a result of the pandemic. With offices less likely to be fully staff there is the need to make sure that those who do go to the office are secure and protected. An access control system does this but when executed well can provide so much more to support hybrid working schemes and help to not only protect staff but reduce the risk of infection to them. For more information please contact our security specialist to discuss how our EntroWatch access control solution can be deployed within your building and offices.