Maintaining a safe workplace is essential for employee and customer satisfaction, but it can take some work. Over one in four burglaries involve businesses, FBI statistics show. More than four in 10 cyber attacks target small businesses, with the percentage of attacks rising from 34 percent in 2014 to 43 percent in 2015, according to a Symantec report. And two million workers each year are affected by some form of workplace violence, ranging from verbal violence to homicide, the Occupational Health and Safety Administration estimates. When your employees and customers have concerns about safety, it can hurt your workers’ job performance as well as your sales.
Here are four ways you can help your employees and customers feel safe:
Secure Your Parking Lot
If your business has a parking lot, your lot is often the first point of contact between your business and your employees and customers, so itâ€™s important to keep it secure. Visibility is the best deterrent against crime in parking lots. Make sure your lighting is sufficient both to illuminate driving and walking paths and prevent shadows where attackers can hide. For maximum illumination, use metal halide lamps, spaced so that no area lacks lighting.
Make sure that landscaping features, such as trees and shrubs, are trimmed so they donâ€™t provide attackers places to hide. Additionally, consider installing an HD security camera system to both help you monitor your parking lot and help you identify suspects if the need arises. Placing signs alerting criminals that they are under surveillance can act as a deterrent. Installing emergency phone lines can empower parking lot users to quickly summon security.
Protect Your Premises
Similar considerations apply to keep the inside of your workplace secure. Visibility is again key. Make sure itâ€™s easy to see into your building, so that intruders and assailants wonâ€™t find an easy place of concealment. Install cameras at entrance points and other strategic locations, along with signs announcing that the premises are under surveillance.
Use locks, bars, and gates to secure potential entry points. Install motion detectors and alarms to alert authorities when thereâ€™s been a breach. Be sure to keep track of all keys distributed to employees, so that you have a short list of suspects in the event of an incident.
Discourage Workplace Bullying and Harassment
Strong policies against workplace bullying and harassment should also be part of your security policy. Verbal bullying and harassment create tension that makes people feel unsafe and can escalate into physical confrontations and attacks.
Discourage these potential problems by working with your employee assistance program provider or local community programs to develop effective policies against bullying and harassment. Train your managers on how to respond to situations. Training for managers should include how to respond to domestic violence since domestic violence issues can spill over into the workplace. Communicate your policies against bullying and harassment to your employees so that they are aware of them and know what to do if they need to report an incident.
Secure Your Digital Perimeter
Cybersecurity is also important to make your customers and employees feel safe. Installing an EMV chip card reader to handle point of sale system transactions will both protect your customer’s data and protect you from liability. If you collect customer contact information for purposes such as mobile marketing, make sure customers are submitting their information voluntarily with the option to opt out.
For your employees’ safety, make sure to provide training in cybersecurity basics, such as the use of strong passwords, the difference between secure and insecure connections, the importance of downloading apps from official providers only, and how to avoid falling for scams such as phishing. Using a password manager program for company devices can help enforce a secure password policy. Use a VPN with multi-factor authentication to ensure safe connections to your network. Use up-to-date versions of software apps, and set employee devices to automatically check for antivirus updates. You may also consider enrolling employees in identity theft protection services so they know they are protected if an issue arises.