In this article, we’ll look at the key features of smart access control technologies, and how organizations that implement this tech can see significant improvements in employee efficiency and productivity — improving overall profitability.
The Role of Access Control in Workplace Productivity and Efficiency
Access control systems impact workplace productivity in two key areas. Firstly, for the employees assigned to manage the systems. The less manual work involved in operating and maintaining the access control system, the more productive those employees can be.
Secondly, for the employees using the systems on a day-to-day basis. This includes employees who interact with access control as they go about their daily job, and also management who need to monitor and report on workplace access as part of their broader responsibilities.
Key Features of Access Control Systems That Improve Productivity and Efficiency
Remote access and mobile capabilities: The ability to assign access permission remotely, reconfigure or update locks over the air, and assign temporary access to individuals via a smartphone app all significantly reduce the amount of manual work needed to maintain a secure system — and save significant time for individual employees, causing less disruption to their day-to-day work.
Real-time monitoring and alerts: Unlike a key-based system, where keys can be copied and used for weeks without detection, a smart access control system can alert security services in real-time when a failed access attempt is made, or a user remains in a location after their authorized time has expired. This reduces the need for security personnel to spend hours reviewing CCTV footage or manually reading through access logs to identify suspicious activities.
Integration with other systems: Modern smart access control systems are compatible with a range of other systems, for example, sharing employee arrival and departure times with your HR software to log instances of lateness, or granting temporary access to members of a specific project team based on information pulled from a project management tool. This reduces duplication of work and therefore minimizes unnecessary admin overheads.
Customizable access levels and permissions: Being able to grant time-limited access to visitors such as delivery agents or tradespeople working on-site means they no longer have to be personally escorted by security or reception staff. In the same way, customizing the specific zones that employees can access based on their job role limits the potential for unauthorized access to sensitive materials or confidential information.
Cost Savings Associated with Access Control
These factors add up to significant cost savings. Firstly, there’s a reduction in the need for on-site security personnel, which brings with it significant savings. In addition, the elimination of physical keys or cards removes the costs associated with issuing, configuring, monitoring, and replacing them.
From an admin perspective, recording access attempts and maintaining an audit trail is performed automatically, saving hours of manual work in both keeping records and reporting on them.
And perhaps most importantly, the higher level of overall security achieved with smart access control systems means a reduction in inventory or data loss — and a corresponding saving in insurance premiums.
Implementation of Access Control Systems
Before implementing a smart access control system, there are a few factors to consider. It’s important that the type of system you procure fits your business model and the specific needs of your environment.
For companies handling large amounts of valuable goods, the most important factor might be time and zone-based access, to ensure that only authorized individuals are allowed into certain storage areas, and their movements can be accurately tracked.
Or for businesses dealing with hazardous materials which require staff to wear protective gloves and masks, a biometric system using facial or fingerprint recognition may not be workable — a lanyard-worn smartcard could be a better solution.
Measuring the ROI of Access Control Systems
To gain a clear picture of the ROI of a new access control system, it’s important to do some groundwork. During the procurement process, take the time to gather as much data as possible on the costs associated with your existing system.
For example, the costs associated with employing security staff, the management time spent administrating your existing system, e.g. setting up keycards, replacing lost ones, or reconfiguring locks, and the losses experienced due to security breaches — e.g. stolen goods or data.
You should also log the impact that the current system has on employee productivity — tracking how much of their time is spent dealing with access-related issues, e.g. replacing a lost keycard, contacting management to gain access to a specific area they need to work in, or making additional trips to recover a key they’ve left at home, so they can access the office out of hours.
Continue to track these statistics as you begin using the new smart access control system post-implementation. You’ll be able to make a direct comparison of the costs of the productivity and efficiency costs of the old system versus the new one — and accurately calculate the return on your investment.
From making individual employees’ daily routines more streamlined to reducing reliance on manual interventions by security staff to minimizing the risk of data, IP, or product loss, smart access control systems have the potential to save significant time and money across the business. While there is an initial investment in equipment and training required with any implementation, the longer-term benefits outweigh the initial cost substantially, delivering a significant ROI to those organizations adopting smart access control solutions.