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Author Topic: Security Doors, and the etiquette therof  (Read 7634 times)

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Harriet Jones

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Re: Security Doors, and the etiquette therof
« Reply #15 on: June 14, 2013, 06:46:05 AM »
Do you have someone in your company in charge of security procedures? Or is there something in your employee handbook?  I used to work places where they were really serious about security, and there was no "just letting people in".  Everyone had to have their key/badge with them at all times.

Regarding the people there for training - are they told ahead of time they're supposed to check in?


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Re: Security Doors, and the etiquette therof
« Reply #16 on: June 14, 2013, 07:15:30 AM »
To clarify - the doors are solid, but there's glass around them. We're not a customer PII (things like SSN, credit scores, etc.) sort of office - it's more confidential than sensitive. Also, they do announce if someone leaves the department, within minutes of them being dismissed, so there is almost no chance of a recently let go and disgruntled person coming in. The security doors are mostly just to keep the other tenants from coming in - we have other companies in the building that could potentially wander up and see what BigRedWireless is doing. They aren't used for timekeeping/person tracking.

People here for training are sent a form letter sort of email a day in advance telling them where to go to sign in, and what to do when they get upstairs. The ability to read it, I can't tell you - they may not have e-mail set up yet, as some could be brand new hires, but most are employees here for compliance/business skills training.

ETA - you can get a temp badge downstairs at the security office, during some hours, but they aren't available all day in our building - they float between three buildings in our complex. Temp badges are frowned on, though, and you can get in trouble if you get them too often.
« Last Edit: June 14, 2013, 07:22:09 AM by RebeccainGA »


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Re: Security Doors, and the etiquette therof
« Reply #17 on: June 14, 2013, 08:32:45 AM »
I work in an office with a very similar set up. We have glass doors which are locked and for which you need to swipe your badge to unlock.

For your first question, when someone is in our elevator lobby area looking bewildered or otherwise looking like they do not belong, I just say, "Can I help you?" That opens up the opportunity for them to tell me what they are looking for. Most of the time, they are looking for another office or they are trying to deliver something and I can then direct them as to where they need to go. Sometimes, they are visiting our office and waiting for soeeone to come get them. Either way, "Can I help you?" works as a polite conversation opener.

For your second question, I've been on both sides of that coin. I've sat near enough the door to be the one to have to answer knocks, and sometimes, at times when there are just a few people in the office, I've gotten a call from a colleague stuck on the other side of the door to come let them in. Yeah, it's kind of a pain, but we're a pretty friendly and easy going group here so it's really no biggie. Especially since, as I said, I've sometimes been the one who forgot my badge and had to knock. I mean, I can't really be too annoyed at someone who does something I've been guilty of before.

Since you know the people who work there, I think it would be pretty strange if you were to let yourself in and then grab the door to close it behind you, leaving them to swipe their badge separately. If the company really means for you to do that, then the security door should be set up that way. I've heard of that kind of thing, where you swipe your badge then enter a small room which can only hold one person, then swipe your badge to get into the office. This setup ensures that only one person can enter at a time and that each person is actually authorized to enter. Barring this kind of set up, I think that it's just normal to hold the door open for your co-workers.


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Re: Security Doors, and the etiquette therof
« Reply #18 on: June 14, 2013, 10:02:08 AM »
I agree: in the first instance, I would direct them to go downstairs to register.

For the others, I would take my cue from the general office environment.  If this is mainly to keep other tenants out, then I would be lenient about the tailgating and letting coworkers in.

I once had a related situation.  Many moons ago, I worked for a mental health facility, and I once had to go to the psych ward of the main hospital.  I was duly admitted, and was waiting for my meeting.  Some of the patients were waiting there as well.  A man came up to the security door (I could see him through the small window in the door).  He was knocking and pounding and waving at me to let him in.  I had no idea who he was, but I knew that the reason the doors were secured was because a significant portion of the patients were there due to court order.

I went to the main desk, and explained to one of the nurses.  She muttered, "It's probably Dr. Kildare (not real name)."  And yes, it was.  I was familiar with the name.  He was a psychiatrist notorious at my clinic for overmedicating his patients and having the shoddiest paperwork I have ever seen.

The nurse would not let him in.  She told him to drive back to his office and get his pass card.  She didn't say, but it was pretty obvious that he regularly forgot his pass card, and she had had enough.  She even warned the patients in the waiting area not to let him in.
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Outdoor Girl

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Re: Security Doors, and the etiquette therof
« Reply #19 on: June 14, 2013, 10:03:55 AM »
^ Good for her!

I indicated upthread that I would get up and let a coworker in but I would finish my thought.  If they were habitual offenders, it would take me longer and longer to finish that thought.
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Re: Security Doors, and the etiquette therof
« Reply #20 on: June 14, 2013, 01:14:24 PM »
In the first situation I think its ok to address the person "oh do you not have a badge? Usually trainees are sent instructions to sign in downstairs, they would issue you the badge there which would get you access."

In the second situation, i think its rude to not let someone in if you know they are allowed in - but you should not have to constantly be interrupted to do so. You can make them wait a few minutes as you complete the task you are in the middle of. And if its something they do regularly you can call them out on it "Joe you seem to never bring your badge when you head out for coffee, please start carrying it. It is very disruptive for me to have to listen to the banging and interrupt my work to let you in daily."

I can say with certainty that at Apple Computer, at least back in the 90's (and I have no reason to think they've loosened it up since then) that badge or no badge, you were NEVER supposed to tailgate or allow it to happen.  Evar!!!!!  Eleventy ever!  Status could change in an hour, and you wouldn't know because it was none of your business.  Layer upon layers of security badge doors.  It isn't rude to refuse to let them in, it's standard business practice in many places.  You're a grown up, you are SUPPOSED to remember your badge at all times, and while you COULD get a temp, it wasn't a 'live' badge, it was just paper, same as with visitors, and you'd have to be escorted everywhere, because the paper didn't open a thing, it just said you were allowed to go see "X person in Y department".  And X had best be with you at all times.  It wasn't quite that draconian if you actually did work there, but you'd get security coming to talk to you if you blew it too many times...

Ok so then that would be a situation where you didn't know if they were allowed in, so it wouldn't be rude to not open the door. In some places though an employee does know if another employee is allowed in. That's why I wrote, as you bolded, "if you know they are allowed in."

Sheila Take a Bow

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Re: Security Doors, and the etiquette therof
« Reply #21 on: June 14, 2013, 01:30:36 PM »
For the first situation, direct them to security.  I'd be proactive about it -- in our building we are supposed to call security if we see someone where they don't belong, but I do think it's a little nicer to direct them to security instead.

For the second situation, it depends.  If you're interrupted rarely, and being interrupted won't mess up what you're doing, then I think it's nice to open the door (unless your company doesn't want you to do that, in which case don't do it).  But if you're interrupted several times a day, or if it's always the same person, or if you really can't get up at that moment -- it's not your job to open doors for people who really need to remember their access devices, anyway.


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Re: Security Doors, and the etiquette therof
« Reply #22 on: June 14, 2013, 02:04:40 PM »
For the first case, I'd just ask, "Do you need help?" The thing is, you've said some of them might not have company email yet, so they should get a pass. Or they may be looking for a different company altogether and accidentally gotten off on the wrong floor. Or the security guard downstairs was swamped with people asking questions and didn't give them all the information they needed. Or it was noisy, with lots of people talking and they thought they heard what the person security desk said, only to realize when they got to your floor that they didn't.

Because you can't know the circumstances that led to them standing there not knowing what to do, I think it is best to err on the side of them not having all the information they need. Then you can direct them to the security desk, or elsewhere, as appropriate. If this happens often, like more than once a month, I'd report it upstream, because it could be a problem with the system, not the individual employees. Maybe the emails aren't being sent out in a timely manner, maybe one of the security guards isn't giving out the right information, etc.

For the second, it depends. I was in a similar situation once, where my desk was closest to the door. But co-workers at two other desks could also hear if someone knocked, so we sort of took turns letting people in. However, this didn't happen very often--maybe once or twice a week at most.

But if you are getting up from your desk daily to let people in, then I think that's too much, in an office where people know they need to carry their badge. If it's one person repeatedly, I'd speak to that person and let them know that they are interrupting my work daily, and that it needs to stop. Or eventually, I'll have to report them to their supervisor.

If it is many people over the course of a week, but not one person with a ton of repeat offenses, I'd go to a supervisor on the floor and ask for help, because clearly, people need to be retrained. Each employee probably sees it as "just a minute to let me in," and not the 5 minutes it takes to regain your track of thought, or the fact that the OP might be getting up from her desk 7 or 8 times a day.

For the tailgating, it depends on company policy. Where I work, we can tailgate, but we must still swipe our badges to indicate we've entered a section of the building. They keep track of employees because we have a lot of confidential info in the place and there's a risk of someone stealing it and selling it. If you aren't allowed in an area, the beep the system makes changes and the person in front of you is not supposed to let you in. They are getting stricter and stricter about this.

Now it is not uncommon to come through the door onto your floor in the morning and find a senior level employee just casually hanging out near the door--they are there to check to make sure everyone is swiping their badge. They don't get upset if you hold the door for someone, but they do get upset if you don't swipe your badge. (At times, we have a lot of temps, over 250, in our building and there's no way to learn their faces, but forcing everyone to let the doors close completely would mean that it would take much longer for everyone to enter the building and get to where they are working--and we'd have people backing up on the stairways, which isn't safe. It's a compromise.)

I'd follow company policy to the letter, and if anyone complained, I'd point out the policy. This is what I do and while a few fellow employees have complained to me about it, my boss has commented in my review that I take company policy seriously. This has led to at least one promotion, because I'm trusted with the confidential stuff.
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Re: Security Doors, and the etiquette therof
« Reply #23 on: June 14, 2013, 03:58:43 PM »
I work for a govt agency, and we are not supposed to let people in unless we recognize them or they are wearing a badge.   I've turned away more than one person because of this, and if they get upset, I give them my boss's phone extension, and tell them to please call my boss to complain that I am following regulations.


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Re: Security Doors, and the etiquette therof
« Reply #24 on: June 14, 2013, 04:41:43 PM »
This is a matter of company policy, and possibly law, rather than etiquette.  Please contact the appropriate personnel in your company for advice.
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