The Many Sides of 24 Hour Lobby Security
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:
- Facial recognition
- Enhanced memorization of employees’ names
- Constant study of non-verbal communication
- 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.