Editor's Note: Back to the Office

Oct. 12, 2022
Despite the demand and success of remote and hybrid working, it makes sense for integrators to be in favor of in-person attendance

This article originally appeared in the October 2022 issue of Security Business magazine. When sharing, don’t forget to mention Security Business magazine on LinkedIn and @SecBusinessMag on Twitter.

In a country where business is under siege by inflation, government intervention, supply chain uncertainty, global pandemic recovery and political unrest, I was surprised earlier this year when a wise person who is well-known in our industry told me that remote work was the No. 1 threat to the security industry.

The logic is sound (more on that later), but it contradicts many conclusions that the business world has made since the height of the pandemic.

In an interesting LinkedIn blog post entitled Remote Work and the New Normal, industry research analyst Elizabeth Parks writes: “In early 2020, suddenly anyone who could work from home had to, and that resulted in a ‘shared learning environment’ between employers, employees, vendors and customers. As technology issues were resolved and new workflows developed, employees and employers discovered that productivity was not suffering under remote work.”

Walking a Tightrope

So why then, would remote work be the top threat to the security industry? Simple math. Fewer people in offices means less need and fewer security systems in those offices; and worst-case, no offices means no need for physical security systems.

It creates a very interesting tightrope that the security industry – especially physical technology providers – must walk.

I concluded our annual State of the Industry survey (results coming in the December issue of Security Business) with an open-ended question: What is the single most important thing your company has changed due to the COVID pandemic and resulting economic instability?

Being an open question with any response accepted, there was obviously a wide range of answers (so far – there’s still time to participate); however, I was surprised to see that the dominant answer among integrators and consultants (again, so far) was moving to remote work.

More than a quarter of responses directly cited remote work, hybrid work or flexible scheduling as the single-most important thing:

“Made peace with remote work.”

“Allowed more ‘work from home’ than ever before.”

“Work from home – in particular for our monitoring center.”

Only two people so far went in the other direction:

“We created flexible work hours, but still required office attendance.”

“We embraced face-to-face work.”

Is There Still a Need?

I think we can all agree that there is certainly still a want from both employees and employers when it comes to remote work – but perhaps not as much of a need as there was during the height of COVID.

We seem to be past the height of COVID. I attended GSX in September and it felt like the good-old days: A bustling trade show with lots of social events sprinkled in. Heck, we even got back to the private corporate rock concert during GSX (sweet).

I have been invited to more than my fair share of vendor-held summits and conferences lately. Indeed, we are getting back to face-to-face.

While I’m definitely in favor of flexible scheduling and perhaps a hybrid plan, if I were a security integrator, manufacturer or end-user, I would be firmly in the camp that there is a time, situation and place for remote work in many industries, but the security industry should be the champion of getting back into the office.

It’s just smart business.

Paul Rothman is Editor-in-Chief of Security Business magazine. Email him your comments and questions at [email protected]. Access the current issue, full archives and apply for a free subscription at www.securitybusinessmag.com. 

About the Author

Paul Rothman | Editor-in-Chief/Security Business

Paul Rothman is Editor-in-Chief of Security Business magazine. Email him your comments and questions at [email protected]. Access the current issue, full archives and apply for a free subscription at www.securitybusinessmag.com.