It seems like we spend a lot of time talking about creating the ideal environment for our staff and clients. What we don’t talk about is safety. I don’t think the world is any worse today than it was ten years ago. I suspect we are all more aware of what is going on thanks to the internet and social media. This is neither a positive nor a negative thing.
I very much think that as leaders a great deal of our time and energy must be dedicated to creating the ideal environment for our staff and clients. Without either, we will not have businesses. We want positive, warm and welcoming environments. We want our staff to want to be at work and we want our clients to want to spend their money with us. Yet, in all of our conversations, we fail to talk about safety. As a female, I can tell you that safety is a huge priority for me. When I feel safe, I think better, make better decisions.
Recently, as I was preparing to meet a client, the question of where we would meet came up. Since the pandemic, I have worked from home. In my line of work a zoom meeting or visiting a client in their office honestly works best. And because of this, I have not really thought of safety. As I walked into a client’s office after hours, I realized I needed to think about safety and create safety policies.
Here are a few suggestions to help you get started.
Meetings should always happen during standard work hours. If an after hours meeting is required, make sure there will be a group present.
Hold meetings in public places. Coffee shops are great places to meet if neither of you have offices.
Unless required by law, keep the door open. Make sure everyone in the room has a clear path to the door.
Consider installing windows in doors. This will maintain privacy and create safety.
Encourage staff to walk to their cars together after dark.
Make sure the reception desk is always manned. This will keep people from simply walking into offices.
If possible, always have a third person present. This is particularly important when having serious conversations with someone.
Create a warm environment, but always keep things professional.
Always let others in the office know who you will be meeting with, when and where.
If you have an HR department, include them in these conversations. It is vital that safety become a priority in our workplaces. Include your employees. It is unfair to expect someone or a team to think of everything. Give your employees a voice. Allow them to help write these policies. Remember to keep the policies positive. Your goal is to create a safe work environment, not provide opportunities for people to condemn others.