The Many Sides of 24 Hour Lobby Security

Lobby Security 2.11.15
24-hour premises security is very challenging (yet rewarding) and those of us charged with manning these 24-hour stations must use a myriad of skills in our daily work to balance life safety and customer service.  Believe me, there is certainly more than what meets the eye! I urge you to read on to get a written snapshot of this fascinating field and integral part of many high-rise buildings today.

The Technical Side

Our aim is to proactively identify every person who enters the building as a member, visitor, vendor, contractor or perhaps an unwanted guest.  This involves an incredible amount of effort such as:

  1. Facial recognition
  2. Enhanced memorization of employees’ names
  3. Constant study of non-verbal communication
  4. Body language (represents two-thirds of all communication displayed by an individual)

This knowledge helps us to better observe and detect an individual’s behavior and their primary purpose within the building.  We aim to identify routine activity patterns and make our assessments based on any activities that may be unusual.

The Human Side

Our job requires an active interest in the overall well-being of each team member, visitor and tenant, while also having some light fun while working with one another.  This helps create a freeway of shared information and compared intelligence, lays a foundation of trust and integrity throughout the ranks, and continuously builds dependability and reliability within the department in our world of “We’re 24 Hours and We Never Close”.

“Improved service delivery is a paramount characteristic that security must embrace and execute at every  opportunity.” – Zakiyyah F. Askia, Apex3 Security


The Security Side

The lobby security officer is the first interpersonal interaction that the visitor will experience at the building.  This exchange should be open, receptive, and pleasant.  However, the visitor could perceive this initial process as being invasive to their privacy because we request proper identification from each visitor who enters the building. Some people may find this annoying and frustrating as they just want to make their appointment and go.

In addition, each visitor is required to have a specific contact name of the person they have arrived to meet and this may pose an additional barrier, depending on the situation.  The officer will then contact the tenant to confirm their admittance.  The primary goal is to perform these processes with a casual feel yet infused with professionalism so as not to arouse displaced tension.  For example, first-time visitors who enter the premises could be coming to interview for an available job position and may be somewhat nervous and slightly apprehensive. Our job is to determine the nature of their visit and obtain the necessary information without conflict. We must identify and empathize with these emotions in order to create a positive interaction so that the visitor is able to fulfill their intended purpose.

The Personal Side

The security officer must present a proper uniformed dress appearance, display an approachable command presence, speak with proper diction and voice tone, provide sufficient eye contact, and utilize universal hand gestures.  This lends each security officer a sense of ownership over their purpose, role, and function as a first-point-of-contact building representative.

The Trust Side

It is of the highest importance for building security officers to welcome and develop good rapport with all building members and visitors alike and strive to keep a “clean slate” with everyday interaction.  It is equally important for the building community members to know that they can trust us.  This will encourage individuals to advise us if they observe any potentially hazardous conditions, building-related infractions or infrastructure-related concerns which we will report to building management.  By working together as a team with building management, we can accomplish our goal of ensuring the utmost safety and security for us all.

What other facets of this industry have you observed? Please leave your feedback here in the comments! Thanks for reading my first blog post.

A huge thanks to Zakiyyah F. Askia (pictured above) of Apex3 Security, Director of Security and Life Safety at 20 West Kinzie for contributing this article and being a guest blogger.

8 thoughts on “The Many Sides of 24 Hour Lobby Security

  1. OnSiteOffice Team

    Fantastic job done by Zakiyyah and to Christine for encouraging her team, even outsourced, to participate in the AAM blog. I think it is a wonderful idea for a property manager to get the entire team involved in blogging and Christine you are leading that charge!

    Excellent blog and my hats off to you and the AAM Team for doing this. I love it.

  2. Zakiyyah F. Askia

    Thank you Cindy for the wonderful comment and also to OnSiteOffice Team for your amazing feedback!

  3. Christine Spasoff

    Thanks again Zakiyyah for contributing this blog article and for sharing your knowledge which comes from many years of experience. You are a valuable team member and great leader for our security team! Keep up the GREAT work!


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