Security Guards Face COVID-19 Head-On:
The economic impact of COVID-19 on security businesses around the world is clear to see. It seems as though no industry is immune to the effects of such an unforeseen, shocking, and globally significant event like this one. The security guard industry is no different, of course. With the near-complete shutdown of the service industry, a similar contraction is happening in the demand for security guards at events and hotels. On the other side of this, you see an increased demand for security guards at grocery retail chains, medical facilities, essential businesses, and temporarily dormant buildings.
One bright point of all of this is the remarkable courage we see from healthcare and other essential workers, and how people have come together to express gratitude for these people. The role of security guards in this pandemic is also worth highlighting, as they outnumber public law enforcement nearly two to one. They are on the front lines along with our healthcare workers and deserve recognition for the work that they’re doing.
The National Association of Security Companies states that private security officers are “on the front line everywhere in maintaining public order and security in the current crisis,” and emphasizes, “the essential service role played by security officers and the essential business role played by private security companies cannot be overstated, nor overlooked.”
It’s important to remember that you can only control so much. No matter how much demand for your company’s security services has changed, there are always ways you can respond productively. Three of them are as follows:
Now, more than ever, good communication is paramount to business operations. Security guard companies need to ensure there is clear, healthy communication between management, guards, and clients. With the massive amount of misinformation circulating around COVID-19, you have to be very careful with your verbage.
It’s important for management to lead by example to ensure guards and your clients remain calm. Communicate only the facts in a calm and clear manner, both to employees and to the general public. The importance of safety is highly relevant here. Communication should be done remotely as possible in accordance with government guidelines.
Remote communication is not only the safe approach, but it can often yield uniquely positive results for companies. Instant communication between guards, management, and clients can prove to be valuable in times of crisis. This ensures all relevant stakeholders are notified of last minute changes and that corrective action is taken.
2) Be Adaptable:
Companies that have been operating with a ‘business as usual’ mindset are learning the hard way about the importance of being able to adapt to uncertainty and rapidly changing situations. Reacting quickly to emergencies is nothing new to security guard companies. But not all organizations in the industry know how to preemptively adapt their operations to respond to quick changes.
It’s a given that illness will very likely affect your guards in one way or another. The ability to quickly adapt one’s operation in the face of absences, no-shows, or sudden changes in operations may prove to be a competitive advantage for the companies who are prepared. One key component, according to Security Magazine, is remote supervision. They advise that
“Having the technical ability to remotely manage guards allows the supervisor to make informed decisions, know where guards are and know what issues they are dealing with – all while ensuring service level agreements (SLAs) are met and client sites are secure during very trying times”.
3) Exercise Foresight:
Few were able to accurately predict the significance and effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. In order to respond to this crisis effectively, the ability to act nimbly is a top priority. This ensures that your company not only survives, but thrives. For security guard companies that are in a pinch, it’s important to figure out ways to pivot. This may include:
- Looking for contracts in different industries
- Choosing entirely new markets
- Changing the way you operate at a fundamental level
For companies experiencing growth, now may be the time to invest in solutions that will allow you to handle increased demand, help your company grow, and scale along with this new landscape. Whatever the situation you find yourself in during this pandemic, make sure to examine where you are at today so that you can continue to be effective and grow tomorrow.