Many businesses will endure a long process to reopen following the COVID-19 pandemic. A lot has changed over the past six months, and with new mandates and regulations, companies will need to quickly adapt their policies and update their security processes to ensure the safety of their customers and employees.

Access control systems have been around for years and have been used in various industries. Fast-forward to today, and our current climate shows how access control systems can be used for more than just managing a building’s entry points.

As many organizations begin returning to the office, the fear of spreading the coronavirus – and germs, in general – will be heightened. However, an access control system can help mitigate risks and provide organizations another way in which they can protect employees and customers, particularly by deploying the following three strategies.

Restrict Access to Communal Areas

We know from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that the coronavirus is spread through respiratory droplets released when people talk, cough or sneeze –– hence the social distancing guideline that encourages people to keep at least six feet apart.

For businesses, this is affecting the number of people who can gather in a facility’s communal areas. Prior to the pandemic, organizations didn’t often restrict access to areas like cafeterias, lobbies, break rooms, libraries or other common areas that didn’t store high-value assets. Now, however, they’re looking for ways to ensure that areas promoting large gatherings aren’t accessible to a broader community in order to decrease the risk of spread.

With an existing access control system, businesses can limit the number of people who gain access to these areas at one time. Organizations can more effectively control who is and isn’t allowed in a given area, while complying with local or state regulatory policies related to group gatherings.

Leverage Cloud Capabilities to Limit On-Site Workers

Many organizations sent employees to work from home during the pandemic, which left facilities and office spaces empty or with skeleton crews on-site. Now, as organizations juggle when to bring back employees and how many actually need to be on-site, demand for cloud technology has never been higher.

When it comes to security, solutions such as cloud-based access control allow facilities managers to monitor their office building 24 hours a day, 365 days a year –– without having to be there in person. Additionally, businesses can leverage cloud technology to promote a safer, healthier environment for those who do need to be on-site. By issuing mobile credentials, employees can use their mobile phones to scan in and out of these areas, potentially reducing the chance of spreading germs.

Integrate Systems to Enforce Business Policies

As businesses look to implement new solutions to manage the health and safety of their people, access control should be an integral part of that strategy. Whether adding symptom screening measures or bolstering threshold management solutions, organizations should be sure to integrate these with their existing access control system.

For example, if employees are receiving symptom questionnaires, how is the organization automating building access based on the employees’ responses? Likewise, if a temperature screening device is installed and integrated with the access control system, access can be granted or denied based on certain parameters defined by the business. These automated workflows can not only increase efficiencies, but help organizations better enforce policies and procedures that are designed to prevent the spread of germs and help keep people safe.

Today’s workplace is all about managing who’s on-site, when and what areas they’re accessing. As organizations put in place measures to mitigate risks, it’s essential that they consider the power of access control systems.