Beyond Physical Security: Mental and Emotional Well-being of Security Guards
The private security industry has transformed in the last 50 years from a small niche sector to a huge global industry, employing over 20 million frontline workers worldwide. These individuals are often the first point of contact when entering a building, whether at access points, reception desks, or inquiry counters. While they project strength and resilience, the reality is that security professionals face a myriad of challenges such as difficult clientele, long working hours, limited social life, and low wages that take a toll on the mental and emotional well-being of security guards.
A recent study by the University of Portsmouth found that nearly 40% of surveyed security guards displayed symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). The Research Showed:
- 64.6% of security guards encountered verbal abuse every month, with half of them experiencing this distressing situation as often as once a week.
- 43% of respondents faced threats of violence monthly, and an alarming 10% had to contend with such threats daily.
- 30% of those surveyed reported experiencing workplace physical assaults annually, while nearly 10% endured minor physical assaults each month.
The Link Between Mental and Emotional Health and Job Performance
The interplay between mental and emotional health and job performance among security guards is a critical dynamic that profoundly influences the effectiveness of their roles. Guards who maintain sound mental and emotional well-being are better equipped to make swift, clear-headed decisions in high-pressure situations. This not only enhances their ability to communicate effectively but also bolsters their response to security threats. In contrast, neglecting their mental and emotional health can lead to decreased job performance, compromising the safety and security of the establishments they safeguard. Statistics show that security guards experiencing regular verbal abuse and threats of violence are more likely to struggle with anxiety and stress, ultimately affecting their on-the-job performance.
As a responsible premier manned guarding service provider, we at RAXA understand the paramount importance of prioritizing the mental and emotional well-being of our security personnel. We firmly believe that it is not only a moral obligation but also a strategic imperative to ensure the continued professionalism and effectiveness of the security industry. Therefore, at RAXA, we have implemented the following strategies to support the mental and emotional well-being of our security guards, and we highly recommend these approaches to all industry stakeholders:
Regular Check-ins: Establish a system of regular check-ins with security staff to gauge their emotional well-being. Encourage open communication and provide a safe space for them to express any concerns.
Critical Incident Debriefings: After a violent or distressing event, provide security officers with a platform to debrief and share their experiences. This can help them process trauma and reduce its emotional impact.
Team Engagement: Involve and engage with each employee on a regular basis. The engagement initiatives can be virtual and/or in-person. This gives a sense of belongingness to the organisation.
Exercising: Encourage our team to lot of physical activities, be it half marathons, cycling, BMI checks, etc.
Peer Support Programs: Create a peer support network where security officers can connect with colleagues who have faced similar challenges. Peer support can be invaluable in helping them feel understood and less isolated
Promote Work-Life Balance: Implement reasonable working hours and schedules that allow for a healthy work-life balance. Ensure that security professionals have time to rest and recuperate.
Training and Education: Offer training programs that equip security guards with the skills to handle stressful situations effectively. This can help build their confidence and resilience.
The security industry as a whole must recognize that safeguarding the mental and emotional well-being of security guards goes hand in hand with ensuring the safety and security of the establishments they protect. Beyond the physical aspects of security, we must acknowledge and address the emotional and psychological toll that this profession can exact. Lastly, security companies, regulatory bodies, and clients need to collaborate in creating a more supportive and sustainable working environment for security guards.