The tragic shooting at Annapolis’ Capital Gazette offices has gripped us all. Five people were killed by a local man who had previously had several run-ins with the newspaper. He had, at one time, brought a defamation lawsuit against the paper, which was later dismissed in court.
This incident has hit home for many of us in Maryland. We tend to think that these types of things just don’t happen here – but the reality is that it could happen anywhere, to anyone.
While there is generally no need to fear for your life on a daily basis, there are many simple ways to stay safe.
Here are some tips, designed to help you, your employees and your colleagues feel more secure at the office:
1. Be aware of your surroundings at all times
Every workplace has hazards. In the office, you should be on the lookout for things like:
- Ladders blocking walkways or doors
- Water or other liquids on the floor
- Debris or clutter that could block free movement
- Sharp edges that could cut or scratch
- Floor tiles or rips in the carpet that could be tripped over
Action: Always report safety concerns and have them addressed in a timely manner.
2. Know where emergency exits are located
In case of fire or any type of emergency that requires a fast evacuation, ensure that all employees know their escape routes. Conducting regular drills will help everybody stay calm in case they have to act quickly.
Action: Develop a detailed disaster recovery plan (DRP) and review it frequently. Many people think that a DRP only covers computer meltdowns and IT disasters, but a comprehensive DRP should extend to personnel as well.
3. Reduce workplace stress
Stress can wreak havoc on anybody’s mental health. At the very least, this can lead to substandard work, but it could also mean lost time at work, employee attrition, and in extreme cases, it could come back to haunt the rest of the staff.
Action: Establish an open-door policy for all to express their grievances and, if you work in a high-stress industry, you might want to think about bringing in a counselor to speak to your staff on a regular basis. this will not only reduce all of the above-mentioned negative issues, but it could alert you to potential problems on the horizon.
4. Be aware of unsafe behaviors
Recognizing unsafe behaviors in the workplace is the first line of defense in protecting staff from any unfortunate circumstance. Some behaviors to watch out for include:
- Violent, erratic or uncharacteristic behavior
- Obsession with a particular staff member or manager
- Disregard for company safety policies
- Abusive/concerning behavior/language
Action: Be sure your employees understand their options for reporting such behavior. Provide them with several outlets, both anonymous and direct. This will ensure that they always feel like they can speak up if they feel threatened or unsafe in any way.
My Annapolis Office is a safe and secure office environment that caters to Maryland’s small business community. Drop by for a tour and find out what we are doing to help our local businesses grow.