For over a year, we have looked at how the pandemic has reshaped the security industry. We have, quite rightly, empathised with officers who have travelled through a barren City, on deserted public transport, to manage eerily quiet corporate buildings. It has certainly been a test of character and resolve. Yet, as we pass a full year since the first set of Covid-19 restrictions was introduced, it’s time to look ahead.

The Government roadmap provides a welcome dose of structure, something that was missing as we yo-yoed our way in and out of lockdowns and restrictions in 2020. At SmartSec, we are now seeing first-hand that businesses are preparing for the much-anticipated return of their employees.  We are part of the positive ‘return to work’ conversations that organisations are having. This goes beyond creating one-way systems and social distancing guidelines. Front of house security officers will be the first face returning employees will see when they walk through that reception lobby. Customer service skills and a sensitive, personable approach will be paramount.

It has been well-documented that many organisations will adopt a hybrid way of working where colleagues split their time between working from home and in the office. A recent report showed that seven in 10 workplaces will struggle to tempt their workforce from the comfort of their homes. Recognised names such as Metro Bank, Lloyds and NatWest have all confirmed they will revert to a hybrid working model post-pandemic, to name just a few. Be that as it may, our large corporate buildings and the cities which they call home are slowly awakening from this prolonged slumber. It will take time for them to stir but providing earlier steps of relaxed measures are deemed successful, the government has said that all restrictions on social contact could be removed as early as 21 June.

There is also growing optimism surrounding the nationwide vaccine rollout that life will soon start to return to normal: businesses open and employees back at their desks. Whilst many workers will be desperate to leave the house and socialise with their peers, there will inevitably be some anxiety after so long working from home. There are also the fears over health and safety.

This takes us back to where we started: empathy. Security officers will guide the returning workforce towards hygiene facilities, demonstrate new procedures, and ensure social distancing is maintained. People skills have long been important in front of house, but the post-pandemic era will require a sensitivity and empathy that goes beyond traditional roles.