Sce Pike is the Head of MFH at ADT and delivers WiFi, Access, Automation & Security.
Personal safety has declined in the U.S. over the past decade. In 2019, Mercer, the world’s largest outsourced asset manager, completed a 10-year study of personal safety trends and published the findings in their annual Quality of Life Ranking. The report revealed that personal safety has declined across the United States.
One doesn’t have to look far to read headlines about mass shootings, racially motivated attacks and riots, all of which add to Americans’ perception of a lack of safety. According to a study by the LR Foundation, “Almost two in five people (39%) in the USA feel less safe than they did five years ago—up from 27% in 2019.” The pandemic, violence and uncertain political climate of the past few years have caused us to consider our personal well-being, both mental and physical, in ways that we haven’t before.
The message is clear: The topic of personal safety is here to stay.
How can the multifamily industry build personal safety into their buildings?
Historically, the multifamily industry has been great at understanding the next wave of consumer desires. For example, as public interest in “going green” grew, the industry embraced sustainability through LEED certifications and, more recently, smart thermostats.
As personal safety becomes a priority for residents and staff, it is incumbent upon building owners and property managers to prioritize safety, as well. Here are some best practices to help ensure the safety of your residents and staff.
1. Security Processes For Staff
Without proper training, your staff can find themselves wholly unprepared for emergency situations. Implementing training programs for all staff members is key, along with establishing a “Safety Strategy” for such things as office safety, vacancy showings and rental and property inspections. Start by performing a safety assessment with your staff that outlines goals, then create a simple checklist of how to deal with particular issues during times of vulnerability. OSHA’s Universal Precautions for Violence is a great resource to get you started.
2. Increased Site Security
In addition to automation, there are a plethora of on-site security measures available, including access management services, smart unit locks, security cameras, video doorbells and alarm panels for multifamily communities and single-family rentals. These tools can alert residents and staff to safety issues and be monitored by and backed up on a trusted platform. Moreover, you can raise residents’ confidence in the safety of the building by maintaining handrails, stairways and common area lighting and by performing regular inspections on the property’s locks and security devices.
3. On-The-Go Safety
Next-generation smart property will not only have on-site security but also help keep residents and staff safe through on-the-go safety offerings. For example, you may want to give your staff the ability to trigger an emergency call to a security company’s monitoring center via their badge or a wearable pin, allowing them to call for backup from anywhere. Group tracking features can also enable staff to keep a watchful eye on co-workers conducting evictions or vacant unit tours in case they encounter issues.
Paying attention to personal safety drives retention of residents and staff.
In a time where “quiet quitting” is a frequent trending topic on social media, making your buildings safer for staff is a worthwhile investment of time and resources. Demonstrating to your staff that you are prioritizing their safety through on-site training and on-the-go safety products may very well save you from costly turnover. And you can show care to residents by providing reliable security services that help keep them safe. After all, if the home they live in takes care of them, why would they want to move anywhere else?
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