By Helmey El-Aasar, SmartSec Solutions

Stress Awareness Month has taken place throughout April; quite fitting considering some Covid-19 restrictions were also lifted this month. With that comes certain anxieties about returning to work, traveling on public transport, and even socialising with other people again. The approach to the relaxing of restrictions will vary on the individual and the experience they have had whilst working from home.

Needless to say, a great deal of empathy is required. None more so than from the front of house security officer. They are the first-person returning workers will see as they walk through the front door, perhaps for the first time since autumn 2020, maybe longer. There will be an element of worry, apprehension, nervousness and even excitement. Customer service skills will be paramount. This is where our internal training comes to the fore.

One of the first steps we took at the start of the pandemic was to place our officers, supervisors and managers through mental health awareness and first aid training, a subject we take very seriously. With more than 400 employees, it’s vital that they are able to identify the early signs of such issues and that they have the channels to communicate these concerns confidently and discreetly so appropriate action can be taken. Our clients are also rightly demanding more from our security officers in this area.

The second training initiative we launched during the pandemic was Prevent-19, an internal online training course specific to the coronavirus infection prevention. It was important that our security personnel, many of which were working as key workers throughout lockdown, had the tools and confidence to manage near empty buildings and oversee their reopening. Prevent-19 provided the fundamentals when it comes to managing buildings with social distancing, face masks and hygiene in mind, enabling us to redesign reception areas for one-way directional control.

Furthermore, our officers are constantly alive to other potential threats and dangers such as terror, theft, and physical attacks. We ensure our front-line staff complete Action Counters Terrorism (ACT) awareness training which deals with hostile reconnaissance and how we can support the police services in the event of a terrorist attack. We also run a number of our own security awareness courses to test our emergency procedures, coordinated by counterterrorism experts.

We have retrained our people, online and face-to-face, to manage the new security normal as a result of the pandemic. Security officers’ positions are adapting just as quickly as the layouts of offices change. We will continue to develop in-house training courses focusing on front of house skills to support our staff and to place them in the best possible position to respond to any scenario.