As the pandemic continues to unfold, many businesses continue to opt for home working, with some deciding to make a permanent move to this model regardless of whether the return to life as we knew it pans out. Buildings have been left empty for long periods of time. With less ‘people presence’, it can be easy and costly to miss a potential security breach.

The buildings may be without people, but they are not without assets. In fact, they are assets in their own right and have to be protected accordingly. But how can security officers and their teams work with building occupants to ensure these assets are protected even when they are not being used at full capacity?

We continue to work closely with building owners, landlords and tenants to review security measures, considering everything from major threats such a break-ins and vandalism to the perhaps lesser known risks of ensuring unused utilities are turned off. If left on, a building can be vulnerable to fires or even flood damage. All boxes must be ticked to ensure what starts as a relatively small risk doesn’t manifest into something larger.

Unoccupied buildings can be left exposed to risks such as theft, fire or damage. They can also seem appealing to unauthorised personnel such as squatters, drug dealers, or even gangs, particularly throughout London. There is a reason why security officers are classed as key workers – they continue to head out to protect buildings and businesses from these ongoing threats whilst many of us remain at home.

It’s important to ensure all empty buildings are secured against intrusion and to address any damage as quickly as possible. Emergency systems must be kept up to date and risk assessments carried out regularly. However, there is little point in conducting a risk assessment and unless you are going to rectify issues and make improvements immediately. A business can’t afford to fall into the trap of thinking ‘it won’t happen to me’. Our security officers go above and beyond the call of duty to ensure it won’t.

Just last month data revealed the job roles that had experienced  the highest rates of death from coronavirus, with elementary occupations, such as security officers, accounting for 66.3 deaths per 100,000 males. That is the highest rate of death involving COVID-19. Yet security officers will continue to provide a reassuring presence across our largest cities to help protect buildings as they largely remain empty. Just as people are recognising how crucial cleaning teams are to their continued safety and overall business continuity, I’m confident people will soon start to recognise the role security teams have played in supporting them throughout this challenging period. The industry’s position as key workers should not be forgotten and it’s up to us to make sure we rise to any future and inevitable challenges.