In March 2020, companies around the world closed their offices and sent employees home to work remotely. Since then, many offices have reopened, but not all companies are returning to a pre-2020 work environment. Some companies are embracing a hybrid work model that puts workers in the office on certain days and allows them to work from home on others.
In a workplace redefined by remote capabilities, there are new concerns for company leaders and building owners, managers, and developers to address—especially security. Maintaining security in offices with a hybrid work model requires efforts in cybersecurity to protect digital assets and access control to protect physical ones.
What Is a Hybrid Work Model?
A hybrid work model is a scheduling system that gives workers the flexibility to work either in the office or from home. The specifics of each hybrid work model depend on the company. In some companies, managers decide which days an employee can work from home or not. In others, an employee can freely choose to work from home or in the office.
Security Concerns in a Hybrid Office
Under a hybrid work model, the duties of a security supervisor grow more extensive, even if there aren’t as many people in the office. Managing cybersecurity and physical security for a company that might have workers spread across the state, or even across the country, necessitates the embrace of tech-forward security solutions.
You might be managing security for a company that has more remote workers than it has space for in its current offices. Or, you might need to juggle access permissions for employees who come into the office once a week with those who only come in once a month.
In any case, overcrowding, disorganization, physical access, and computer security are some areas you should address to successfully manage and secure a hybrid workplace.
5 Ways You Can Maintain Security in a Hybrid Workplace
Below are five effective ways to maintain both cybersecurity and physical security in an office with a hybrid work model.
1. Two-factor authentication
Two-factor authentication (2FA) is a second layer of authentication that employees must present before they’re allowed to access information.
2FA is helpful for hybrid offices because it adds an extra measure of cybersecurity for employees working from home. While it’s not possible for you to be there and personally oversee security for an employee working from home, two-factor authentication ensures that off-site employees are using a trusted process to log on safely.
Many companies and individuals use VPNs (virtual private networks) to encrypt their internet traffic and make sure internal communications stay safe and highly secure. Compared to normal internet usage, an employee using a VPN to connect to the company’s network is a much more difficult target for hackers.
VPNs are also important because employees’ work habits when they’re not in the office vary widely. An employee might work from home, a nearby library, a coffee shop, or any other place with public Wi-Fi access. It’s not realistic for you to secure every possible network an employee could possibly connect to. In these contexts, it’s especially important for your employees to be using VPNs so that they can securely perform work no matter where they are.
3. Desk booking software
We’ve covered some of the ways you can boost your company’s cybersecurity, but maintaining physical security is just as important.
Many companies that lease an office with a hybrid work model choose a space that can’t physically accommodate all employees. This is because they know that the office will never have to accommodate everyone at once. However, to prevent overcrowding, you may need a desk reservation platform.
Desk booking software is superior to a confusing manual system that might result in a desk being double-booked, or leave employees in the dark about which desks have been reserved. Use the software to make sure that every employee who wants a desk can easily reserve one without confusion, stress, or delays.
A desk reservation platform also helps company leadership and building staff keep track of who’s coming and going from the office. Having a log of everyone who worked in the office on a given day and at which desk they sat can help prevent or resolve a security breach.
4. Visitor management system
In a hybrid office, visitor management takes on increased importance. Businesses are always receiving a steady stream of visitors, from delivery couriers to clients to vendors. This is on top of employees receiving their own visitors, like food delivery drivers.
You need a way to maintain security without inconveniencing a company’s visitors. One solution is a visitor management system, which controls access while keeping a record of every visitor.
For employees, a visitor management system includes benefits like notifications whenever they have a visitor. Visitor management systems can also guide visitors to the correct area of the building by electronically locking and unlocking doors and elevators at the appropriate times.
5. Smartphone-based access control
A smartphone-based access control system is an ideal tool that allows you to easily manage and assign credentials while maintaining security.
Smartphones can be superior to physical credential alternatives, like keys or fobs, which can be easily lost. Even your most careful employees are liable to lose a key or two, and every lost credential isn’t just a security breach—it’s a storm of administrative headaches as you work to quickly deactivate and replace the fob.
Digital credentials are much easier to assign, organize, and manage than physical ones. And by securely storing those digital credentials on an employee’s smartphone, you revolutionize the entry process by removing physical credentials entirely.
Ferdison Cayetano is a Content Writer at ButterflyMX and a proptech enthusiast from New Jersey who’s looking forward to the innovations that will revolutionize real estate.