The Government’s decision to classify SIA licence-holding security professionals as critical workers has meant that in many cases security officers are the last people standing in a building. Overall the Coronavirus outbreak has meant significant change for our front-line security officers.
In some instances, their shift patterns have changed where we’re required to provide day cover to maintain a presence in a largely empty building, whereas before it was mainly nights and weekends. Some relief officers are now mobile, serving a number of different sites where it’s safe to do so, whereas before many were based in just one building. Others are supporting critical infrastructure sites and are working longer shifts. Our colleagues at our remote monitoring centre in Glasgow are busier than ever as many clients turn to technology to protect empty premises rather than have an officer on site. At the same time, our officers are playing a vital role in supporting the Police service, which is already stretched.
Meanwhile, like many others on the front line, some of our officers are unwell, or self-isolating because a member of their family has the virus. Many have caring responsibilities in their household to work around. In our offices, our people are busy managing constantly-changing customer needs with our security officer’s constantly-changing availability. It’s a tricky balancing act for everyone.
The key to making it work – and ensuring that people remain engaged, motivated and healthy – is good communication. Usually that would be through regular site visits, but obviously that’s not an option now. Instead, we’re using our colleague portal, emails, phone and video calls, letters and other channels to share advice so that they feel confident in their role and supported.
Many of our officers are faced with dealing with people who are showing symptoms of Covid19, so we’ve provided step-by-step advice on how to support those customers while also protecting themselves. Giving them the correct Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is obviously a key part of that, as well as instructions on how to use it properly. Public transport has been reduced in some areas, and helping colleagues plan their journeys, which are often at anti-social hours, is key, with our central scheduling department and local management teams supporting them with route planning. Our previous approach to getting people to site in an emergency – known as lift to shift – isn’t appropriate in these circumstances so we’re adopting new ways of working.
Regular one-to-one check-ins with our security officers is also important. Their line manager will know them better than anyone and there’s already a trusted relationship in place. Making sure they’re feeling well, both mentally and physically, and taking the time to recharge is essential. We’re long-term supporters of Combat Stress and have a strong understanding of how people can be affected mentally by being on the front line and how mental wellbeing is important.
Overall we’re listening to what our security officers need – they’re on the front line of this outbreak. The next few weeks and months are challenging times for us all. By listening to our front-line teams, we can ensure they provide the best possible care to our customers while also looking after themselves.
We’ve set up a dedicated coronavirus support team to answer any questions about the impact of coronavirus on your business. Please contact us on email@example.com and we’ll do our best to help.