With employers wanting to hire and retain the best staff and offering favourable working practices, while employees embrace their new-found freedoms and find employment that works for them, flexible working is the new norm. But this has led to more lone working, or employees being classed as ‘at-risk’.
What an ‘at-risk’ employee is can be very broad. It can mean being the sole customer facing employee or meeting with clients on your own (possibly at their home address, or in a meeting room). It may be that you run your own business or that you deal with all cash handling situations on your own. It may be that you travel overseas to unfamiliar surroundings or that you meet with people that have traveled from overseas and are in unfamiliar surroundings. Or it may be that you are a lone working female.
Whichever it is, it brings with it safety and security concerns both as an individual and from a business point of view (who have overarching responsibility for your safety and wellbeing).
So, I have put together a list of 10 security tips that you can use to help improve your safety when you are working on your own.
- Establish a buddy network with other lone workers in your area. Chances are that there will be other lone workers in your area- get to know them and support each other. It can mean just popping your head around a corner and saying hello or taking it in turns to make that cup of tea. Or you could establish a call back procedure for those times when you are doing something particularly risky.
- Ensure that emergency numbers are handy- next to or on the phone, and preferably set up as a speed dial.
- Make sure you are aware of the escape routes and ensure they are easily accessible. If you are meeting with someone on your own, make sure that they are not between you and your escape.
- Offer a friendly greeting to people that enter your shop or office or those you are meeting. Notice their general appearance. This attention to detail conveys control and puts people on notice that they have been observed.
- Keep an eye on anyone who is loitering. Ask politely if they need assistance. Again, this attention to details conveys you are in control.
- Don’t leave back doors open and unattended. Ensure they are always alarmed, even during working hours.
- Keep your office or shop neat, clean and well lit. A tidy, orderly office or shop with good natural surveillance is more inviting to the public and less inviting to criminals. And fix all defective locks, windows, cameras and light bulbs.
- When there are no customers around, keep busy with tasks away from the sales counter, or where you would interact with customers.
- Use security cameras. Well positioned security cameras can be a very effective deterrent but are easily thwarted by covering the face. So, use a mixture of cameras in obvious and less obvious places. Ensure you display the appropriate signs informing people that you are using CCTV.
- Set up a check system. There are many ways to set up a check system for employees who work alone. From 24 hrs check calls, to remotely monitored security timers with initiated calls, to scheduled drive-by or other responses. The options used are dependent on the level of risk and the cost, so it is worth speaking to a professional security company about what’s best for you.
Flexible working is something that is growing in popularity and with the current trend doesn’t seem to be stopping anytime soon. And with that growth comes more lone workers or ‘at-risk’ employees. But being a lone worker doesn’t have to be ‘risky’. As with my previous blog, nor does it have to be about spending money, following these simple practices will help reduce your risks as an employee and help keep your employer happy.
If you would like to know more about security for lone workers, then please give me a call.