October 4, 2022

Preparing To Open Your Business After The Pandemic And The Push Toward Mobile Access Control

CEO at Nexkey, changing the way people experience access to physical spaces.

Covid-19 has changed everything about the way we work, and it may never return to the way it was. Businesses need to ask themselves what this new reality will look like and how to best prepare before opening their doors again safely and successfully.

The spread of coronavirus is most likely to occur in close proximity, as a result of talking, coughing or breathing. Office spaces have become the virus’s playground. Changes in our workplace are not just a quick fix for the time being. We may be dealing with safety protocols for a long time, and we need to make these investments to protect our workforce now and in the future. 

The CDC has many recommendations when it comes to creating a safe office building:

• Promote telecommuting or remote work wherever possible.

• Provide directions on where employees and guests can park and what entrances they can take.

• Stagger employee work schedules or break times to limit occupancy.

• Notify employees, contractors, customers, etc. when exposed to someone who received a positive result for Covid-19.

• Be prepared to lock down if the virus starts to spread around the office.

A common theme is limiting occupancy, working remotely when possible and opening communication to help stop the spread of the virus. Modern access control solutions can solve a lot of these issues for many businesses. 

Access Control Is More Important Than Ever

My company, Nexkey, surveyed more than 1,200 office workers on how much Covid-19 changed their perception of physical security in the workplace. It turns out it changed quite a bit, with 44% of respondents saying they thought access control was more important after the coronavirus pandemic. What’s more, 67% said security now trumps convenience when it comes to choosing an access control system.

Protecting our workforce goes beyond wearing masks, social distancing and disinfecting common areas. To be as prepared and safe as possible, we need the technology around us to promote these culture changes at work.

The Shift To Mobile Access Control

More than half of our respondents use a key card or fob to enter their building, but it’s clear that businesses may start shifting toward mobile access control. 

Mobile access control has already been making its way to the front of the pack in terms of innovation. Mobile was our respondents’ No. 1 choice when asked what they would like to use to unlock their doors, even though just 5% of respondents use a smartphone to unlock their office today.

Here’s why mobile is climbing to the top of the leaderboard after Covid-19 and how to make it work for you:

1. Touchless entry

A hundred people touching a keycard to a shared reader or entering a code on a pin pad every day seems unimaginable. The smartphone is becoming that replacement.

Your smartphone is personal to you. Keys are sent remotely, and mobile credentials limit interaction with public devices to unlock doors because the Bluetooth range is larger than with RFID keycards. This can eliminate touch readers, pin pads or fingerprint scanners. 

2. Remote unlocking and key management

First and foremost, businesses need to try to promote telecommuting and remote work when possible. Limiting occupancy and managing daily operations remotely allows cleaning crews and deliveries to come through. Dedicated entrances and exits can be locked and unlocked remotely so people can avoid each other. Staffing becomes more efficient and safer with automated schedules.

3. Access real-time data

For a business owner, if an employee or member notifies you that they tested positive for Covid-19, it’s up to you to make sure the spread is minimized as much as possible. 

Knowing exactly where an infected person was in the building and who was there at the same time is crucial. The merger of the cloud and physical spaces makes this process easier and faster so business can continue after any incident.

4. Staggered employee schedules 

Social distancing is of the utmost importance, but it can be difficult in open office spaces where desks are only a few inches apart. You’ll need to create schedules for all occupants to limit the number of people in the building at any given time and allow employees to sit at every other or every third desk to maintain the six-feet-apart rule.

With mobile access control, you can manage schedules and easily change them week to week, if needed, to keep up with changing regulations. This can help increase business productivity while maintaining the highest of safety standards. 

5. Instant lockdown 

Little by little, we’re starting to accept more appropriate social interactions as the spread slows and the curve flattens, but it may backfire, and cases may spike again. We need to be prepared in the case of a second or even third wave of shelter-in-place. 

Immediately lock down until it is safe to reopen. For communities that give access to customers, limiting access is hard to communicate with everyone. This may be essential to ensure a decrease in the spread of the virus and in liability as a business. 

Why Doesn’t Everyone Have Mobile Access Control?

While 75% of the businesses we surveyed wanted access control, 1 out of 4 said the biggest reason they didn’t was cost. This is why we typically only see access control with bigger companies.

Mobile access is becoming more affordable, but some systems still require a monthly fee for each user and charge for every integration needed to manage your business effectively. You may start to hesitate in using the platform at its full potential, which defeats the purpose.

Businesses that don’t make changes to their workplace before opening their doors are at risk for serious liability or prolonged closure if Covid-19 spreads within their walls. Unpreparedness can affect productivity if employees are out sick or if the business is shut down. So, make these changes with great thought and research to manage your business remotely and at the highest efficiency during these unusual times.

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