Office security is a huge issue. Most employees leave business buildings at night, and many carry a personal set of keys. Commercial office space has its own risks, since many businesses may not know each other despite sharing the same building. 70% of office theft is at the hands of someone with a key or an employee of that business. It is impossible to completely avoid theft incidents, but there are some easy steps to take that can reduce crime.

 

Reduce Opportunity Theft

 

Valuables left unattended on someone's desk or personal space are sitting ducks. Leaving an item of value unsecured or sitting alone invites theft. Encourage employees to lock their most important valuables in a locker (if you have one) or a portable safe. Your purse, wallet, and expensive electrical devices are all targets. On average, more credit cards are lost at the office than anywhere else.

 

Never carry huge sums of cash. Cash is untraceable, and a thief is more likely to target a stuffed wallet than a bunch of credit cards. Secure company-issued electronics and personal laptops to your desk. A co-worker may try to steal something knowing it might ultimately reflect badly on you for "losing" the device.

 

Always lock your desktop before leaving the area. Thieves can steal personal information, possibly from your email or "username and password" memory documents.

 

Office Layout and Procedures

 

When it comes down to it, office theft prevention is all about improving current habits.

 

Many offices, based on the cubicle and decor arrangements, invite theft. Dark corners with big cubicle clusters make it easy for thieves to snatch something off of a desk. Think about who handles the personal information of customers and co-workers. HR reps and account specialists should have plenty of privacy. Anyone handling money should have a security safe. Everyone in the office needs accountability.

 

The receptionist's desk and all doorways should be studied and control. New clients, outside salesmen, maintenance, and others all must pass through the doorways and in many cases, pass reception. Never allow strangers to simply wander, peeking into rooms. If you see someone that doesn't belong, ask a few questions and guide them on his or her way. Require escorts for visitors entering controlled areas. If you see a stranger, make a mental note of what they are wearing. Details like these may help in a future investigation.

 

In larger buildings, the bathroom needs to be locked. Many thefts begin with someone hiding in the bathroom until the last employee leaves. The person in charge of the office should never acknowledge employee absences for private time or otherwise. Employees attempting theft are more likely to do it when you are not around.

 

Enforce security measures with an iron fist. Require visitors to carry passes. Well-dressed strangers or solicitors may be con artists, casing the building for weakness. Never invite solicitations over the phone. Consider holding meetings with new clients, interviewees, and outside salespeople in a brightly-lit, windowed conference room. Your office should appear friendly to anyone coming in, but it should also appear alert and on-guard.