The good news is that security firms are typically more accustomed to crisis situations. In the US, at last count, security is being considered an essential service in 27 states because of its key role in protecting critical infrastructure. In Canada, security services are also being considered essential services. In India, the Union Home Ministry has asked private security agencies not to lay off guards or deduct their salaries. In the UK, the Security Industry Authority is also lobbying for key worker status. And the list goes on.
Recently, the Security Industry Association (SIA), the Electronic Security Association (ESA), and The Monitoring Association (TMA) asked state public officials to classify electronic monitoring and other safety services as “essential” during the COVID-19 pandemic. Security services are deemed as essential services if they are SIA-licensed and work within these 8 categories: hospitals, social care, courts, government estate, supermarkets, food supply chain, transport network, national infrastructure, and utilities. The Security Industry Association (SIA) is also partnering with ASIS to supply resources for COVID-19 and business continuity, including a Guide to State and Local COVID-19 Programs.
No doubt about it, these are hard times for SMBs. For owners of small and medium sized businesses, the outbreak of COVID-19 poses many issues. Owners of small security firms are busy running their day to day operations and some businesses are already starting to feel the effects of the pandemic from a sudden loss of contracts. One of the things you can do to recuperate from a loss of contracts is to shift according to where the demand for security is high right now. Grocery stores, senior residences, pharmacies, and liquor outlets are just a few of the places suddenly requiring security officers in front of shops to make sure their patrons are following social distancing protocols.
There are things you can control and measures you can take:
- Prioritize employee safety.
- Offer paid time off to employees if they are showing symptoms.
- Put a robust employee communication plan in place.
- Create a dedicated COVID-19 resource hub.
- Practice routine check-ins to ensure employees are fit to be onsite.
- Tell sick employees to stay home.
- Efficiently reassigning cut staff so as to not lose them.
- What if scenarios / worst case planning.
- Review your insurance policies to determine whether losses and expenses incurred and/or anticipated might be covered, and to identify any notification requirements that must be satisfied.
- Manage increased demand (hospitals, critical retail, critical infrastructure) – keeping them healthy and safe.
- Shift resources/reallocation as buildings lock down.
- Expect to see certain sectors with a decreased demand (think events, hospitality, travel, and tourism).
- Keep up to date on changes in policies regarding temporary staffing and licensing from your local security associations and licensing body.
Here are a few government resources that may help guide your small- and medium-sized business plan during COVID-19.
- United States: https://www.uschamber.com/co/start/strategy/business-owner-tips-coronavirus-pandemic
- Canada: https://www.canada.ca/en/services/business/maintaingrowimprovebusiness/resources-for-canadian-businesses.html
- United Kingdom: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19
Consider looking into advice from industry associations that cover your particular geography. Here are just a few resources:
- California: https://calsaga.org/
- Illinois: https://www.ilsecuritypros.org/i4a/pages/index.cfm?pageid=1
- International: https://www.iahss.org/page/covid19 (Healthcare)
- ASSIST: https://www.assisttexas.org/
- International: https://www.asisonline.org/
- UK: https://www.sia.homeoffice.gov.uk/Pages/Coronavirus.aspx
While it is important for businesses to do proper contingency planning, it is even more important to stay calm and safe. Hopefully, the pandemic will subside soon and we’ll all get back to the business of keeping everyone secure in a more predictable environment.
If you’d like to learn more about the resources, advice, and support that TrackTik can offer to help you weather the storm, please contact us. We are always here. Don’t forget to share positive stories of security officers on social media using #frontlinesecurity to show them you care.
Stay safe, stay secure.