In a previous blog, we offered advice for monitoring employee computer use. However, you should not forget about the risks to your business inside your office walls. The threats can come from thieves, attackers, competitors, and even your employees. According to a 2007 American Management Association survey, 48% of companies use video monitoring to prevent theft, violence, and sabotage. Also, the US Department of Commerce notes that employee theft contributes to 30% of business failures. Consider protecting your business with video surveillance.
How are video surveillance cameras used?
Traditionally, businesses used analog closed-circuit television (CCTV) systems, which record low-resolution video to a DVR. Today’s IP video systems will capture real-time or previously recorded footage of your business. This camera will transfer footage over the internet to your cloud-based account. Then, you can log in to this account from a desktop, smartphone, and tablet device. The higher-quality video will allow users to zoom in much closer to an image. In addition, each camera will have its channel, ranging from four for a small business to 32 for a large enterprise. It depends on the number of office areas your business needs to monitor.
What are the benefits of using video surveillance systems?
- An added sense of security: You will be able to see which employees and visitors come into your business. Also, an employee who works late in the office alone may feel safer knowing your business is monitoring the office.
- Prevents theft: The existence of a video camera discourages would-be thieves from stealing. In addition, if a customer is sneaking one of your products into a bag without paying, you can catch this person in the act. The same goes for employees helping themselves to your inventory without permission.
- Deters harassment: If an employee accuses other co-workers of bullying and notes when each incident took place, you can review footage from those times and places. From there, you can look for any visible signs of ridicule, exclusion, and violence towards the employee.
- Manage insurance claims: Video surveillance helps your business spot any safety issues causing injury to employees. Also, video evidence of any events can prevent any false claims against your business. Some insurance companies will even kick in a discount if the business installs a video surveillance system.
- Watch employee work habits: Video surveillance allows you to see how your employees are working. You can boost employee efficiency by encouraging their reported good habits and minimizing weak areas.
- Monitor business while away: The saying, “While the cat’s away, the mice will play,” may apply to your business. If you’re going on vacation, you can log into your video surveillance account from a mobile device and view office activities in real time. In addition, if your business has multiple branches, you can manage each location from one computer screen.
What should you keep in mind when using a video surveillance system?
If your business is seriously thinking about installing a video surveillance system in your office:
- Make sure to review the laws about video surveillance in your state. Your IT consultant and a lawyer can explain the regulations behind workplace video surveillance in your area.
- Notify your employees the business will use video surveillance in the office. Your HR department should update the written company policy with this change. Then, tell your employees about the new video surveillance system via email, memo, or company-wide meeting. Let them know the video surveillance system is in place to protect the business, not to invade their business.
- Your security cameras should be visible to any employee in the office. In most cases, we recommend limiting hidden camera use to areas with ongoing theft and attacks.
- Do not put video surveillance cameras in places where people expect privacy. This includes bathrooms, locker rooms, dressing rooms, and lounge areas.
- Do not record any sound on the cameras, as this falls under wiretapping. This type of activity is illegal in most states.
- Check the video surveillance cameras and related equipment regularly. Your business cannot catch any threats if the batteries are dead, or the camera is not working.
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