When you operate a business, you must protect your interests. This protection includes your physical property, your intellectual property, and it also extends to your employees. It makes sense to use video as part of your security practices. Surveillance video allows you to keep an eye out on what’s happening in your business both when you’re there and when you’re away. This way, you can make smart decisions that will positively impact your revenue and your workplace experience.
In this post, we explore why video surveillance is a good idea and how to effectively use it in your front office.
Let’s get started.
The Benefits of Using Video Surveillance
Although we may not like to think about it, the world is dangerous and unpredictable. It’s always a good idea to take a proactive stance and protect your business from internal and external threats. Whether you’re attempting to identify an employee who has sticky fingers or you’re hoping to monitor multiple locations in one glance, video surveillance is the right move. It gives you greater visibility into what’s really happening in your office.Here are some of the biggest reasons why you should include video surveillance in your front office: Click To Tweet
Here are some of the biggest reasons why you should include video surveillance in your front office:
Screen Visitors: Discover who’s coming in and out of your building. It’s your responsibility to control access to your business. Your surveillance video can act as a front line for screening.
Improve Workplace Productivity: Research has proven that simply having active cameras in your workplace can improve productivity. Employees are more likely to do their work and get things done when they know they’re being supervised and recorded. Your surveillance cameras can also help you identify why there may be a dip in productivity, i.e. spotting an employee who repeatedly takes extended breaks.
Use for Training: When you use security cameras to monitor employee and visitor behavior, you can also use that footage for training purposes. Train your team on how to spot threatening behavior and suspicious activities. You can also use this information to identify hazards and potential security breaches in your workplace.
Deter Theft: By simply having a camera positioned in your office, you can reduce the occurrence of break-ins and robberies. Most criminals prefer easy targets, and when they spot your surveillance equipment, they’ll know that you take your security seriously.
Reduce Employee Theft: Unfortunately, employees sometimes steal from their workplaces. This can lead to a devastating financial loss for your company. Installing video surveillance cameras can thwart theft attempts by dishonest employees.
Identify Criminals Easily: If the worst case scenario happens and someone does break in, you can hand over your surveillance footage to the police so that they can identify those responsible. It’s always better to have it and not need it then to need it and not have it.
Resolve Disputes: Your surveillance video footage can help you settle disputes, whether that’s between employees or between an employee and a visitor. Review your video footage to see what occurred and to help you formulate an amicable resolution to any disagreements.
Access Footage Remotely: Thanks to technology, video surveillance footage may be accessible from a mobile device, such as your smartphone. This makes it easy to check in, whether you’re across town or on the other side of the world.
These are just some of the benefits you’ll gain by using surveillance video in your office. In fact, there are very few cons when it comes to video surveillance. However, you do need to keep a few things in mind when you’re implementing video surveillance in your office. We’ll cover that next.
Is Video Surveillance Legal?
Privacy is a basic human right. It’s important that you’re not violating the personal rights of your employees at the workplace with your surveillance videos. Here’s what you need to know to ensure that your surveillance videos are complying with state laws.
First of all, it is 100% legal to use video surveillance in every state in the US. But you must have a reason for setting up video security in your workplace. There are legal reasons that absolutely justify video surveillance. These include:
- Theft – If you have a problem with theft (from your employees, customers, or visitors), you can install video surveillance equipment to help you correct the problem and spot new theft in the future.
- Employee accountability – You can use video surveillance if you believe that your employees are goofing off and not doing their jobs. You can also install cameras if you believe that your employees are participating in some illegal activity.
- Physical safety – You can use video surveillance to provide an extra layer of physical safety to your employees and visitors.
Of course, your employees have rights, too. And the law limits how you can use surveillance equipment. There are reasonable privacy expectations, such as not including surveillance videos in two-way mirrors in your employee restrooms. In fact, you are most likely forbidden from setting up surveillance cameras in your restrooms at all.
Another commonly restricted location is the employee locker room, which makes sense. Employees expect privacy in these locations. But some states also prohibit video cameras in employee lounges, too. So, if you plan to film those areas (such as break rooms), do take time to familiarize yourself with the video surveillance laws for your state.
To ensure that you’ll following the privacy laws in your state, do the following:
- Install security cameras in public areas only – This includes your front office and other areas in your building where employees have no reasonable expectation of privacy.
- Post a sign to inform your employees (and visitors) that you have cameras – Even if the surveillance camera is in an obvious location and not hidden, you still need to post notification signs.
What about surveillance audio?
Video surveillance is one thing, but audio surveillance opens up another can of worms. The privacy laws for recording audio vary by state. So if your surveillance equipment has an audio component, it’s definitely a good idea to check with your state. In some states, it’s illegal to record audio without consent.
If you plan to record audio, have your employees sign a consent form. This ensures that they know they’re being recorded (both visually and audibly).
Keep in mind that the above advice only points you in a general direction. To get accurate legal advice, be sure to consult with an attorney.
Where to Place Video Cameras in Your Front Office
Where should you place surveillance cameras in your front office for maximum benefit? Here are some great ideas:
Have a camera that sees who’s coming in and out of your office. You can use a standard surveillance camera or a doorbell-type camera if your business is locked and you control access on an individual basis.
Position a new camera at every exit from your reception area. This allows you to have a better understanding of the traffic pattern for your employees, customers, and visitors.
The Reception Desk
If you don’t have a camera on the entrance, position a camera to look at visitors from the receptionist’s POV. It’s important that your surveillance camera has a clear view of individual faces, without any obstructions of weird angles.
The Point of Sale
If you accept cash transactions in your workplace, you need cameras trained on the register.
The Waiting Room
Add a surveillance camera in your waiting room so that you can monitor for any suspicious activity in real time.
Workplace Video Surveillance Best Practices
Here are a few things to keep in mind when it comes to video surveillance:
1. Find the Light
Don’t position your surveillance camera in the path of direct sunlight. This can create distorted images and silhouettes. Ideally, your camera should be positioned with the sunlight (or any other light) behind it.
2. Check the Angle of the Camera
The goal of your surveillance video is to see images clearly, but you won’t be able to do that if the camera is positioned too high. Check the viewing angle to ensure that you can clearly make out facial features, in case you need to verify an identity.
3. Check Your Surveillance Frequently
Get in the habit of checking your footage regularly to ensure that everything is well. Regular checks will help you spot and address suspicious activity quickly.
4. Decide How Long You’ll Store Your Footage
Determine the right length of time that you’ll store footage, and make sure that you disclose this information to employees. They need to know how long you will keep video records of their activity on file.
Adding video surveillance to your office will provide a lot of benefits, such as increased workplace awareness, theft prevention, and greater employee productivity. But before installing video surveillance in your office, check with your state’s labor department to ensure that you’re obeying the law.
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