One thing we as humans excel in is our ability to adapt and overcome. While it may take time to return to a sense of normalcy, what we can do in the present moment is find ways to continue moving forward with our lives as we are still learning about this rapidly evolving virus.
The Coronavirus pandemic has definitely changed our world and it will take months to see all the effects of it.
One thing we as humans are very good though is to adapt and overcome. While it may take a while to return to some kind of normalcy, what we can do in the immediate present is find a way to continue moving forward with our lives while we’re still learning all there is to learn from this pandemic.
It’s clear that at the moment the primary shift of a retail security guard has become limiting access and enforcing social distancing and masks regulations. The duties have shifted from loss prevention and general safekeeping to a more active approach with a considerable increase in the number of interactions with the public.
Before the pandemic, a guard inside a retail store would perform various checks throughout the day, walk around the premises and occasionally interact with the public by giving directions or assisting customers and staff.
Now the same guard is tasked with a different set of responsibilities. The majority of the shift is spent at the entrance of the business, making sure everyone walking into the area is complying with the orders to wear masks.
Unfortunately, as we have seen from recent news, the job is not so easy. There is a heightened sense of irritation from a lot of people who consider the stay at home orders and the obligation to wear masks in public an infringement on their freedoms. The anti-authority sentiment is exacerbated when these people are confronted by a uniformed guard telling them they are not able to enter a store without a mask.
So now more than ever, security guards have to be able to firmly rely on their customer skills and de-escalation training in order to effectively and safely handle the situation.
A lot of companies do not think about customer service skills when hiring or employing a security company. But the majority of the work in the security field is attending to the customer’s needs. Sure there are plenty of physical security positions where there is no interaction with the public and a guard may spend their entire shift just guarding a warehouse at night or watching a CCTV monitor. However, the majority of the work does involve interactions with other people. Having the ability to interact with a variety of people from all walks of life and being able to use different tones and registers based on the topic of the conversations, are valuable skills that are not always easy to learn. Choosing to use a word rather than a different one can help diffuse a situation without the need to resort to physical force.
Manly P. Hall once said that words are potent weapons for all causes, good or bad.
The Coronavirus world we live in requires a lot more tact and skills with words than before. A lot of people have lost their job, their savings, many have lost loved ones due to the virus. Their emotions are on edge, and possibly the last thing they want is being told what to do by one more stranger at a door.
As always, in the security field, we have to be the voice of reason and be able to understand all people and find a way to enforce the rules, while allowing our customers to keep their freedoms and dignity.
It’s imperative that the guards who are faced with these new challenges have the maturity, life experience, and an understanding of this new environment in which we all find ourselves right now.
Security Challenges In The Coronavirus Era
By Andrea Pasquettin, VP of Contracts and Procurements, Force Protection Agency.
Force Protection Agency (FPA), the “Secret Service of Hollywood”, is a leading provider of security, investigative & training services to a variety of industries through custom-designed strategies, expertly trained personnel, and excellent customer service. Our ranks consist of an elite group of former military and current/retired law enforcement professionals with years of operational experience and a broad range of tactical and technical expertise across multiple disciplines. Based in Beverly Hills, CA we operate worldwide.