Emerging from lockdown: dealing with identity

“Distributed working” has been a key theme over recent months. While your workforce may have been furloughed or working from home, as time progresses there will be inevitable reasons and opportunities for employees to come back into the office, however infrequently at first. You may be forgiven to think that this has no impact on individuals’ ID cards but now in particular is the time to consider the effect of lockdown.

When we haven’t seen someone for a while, we are often struck by changes to their appearance which we wouldn’t usually notice if we encountered them regularly. Over the last few months, it is inevitable that colleagues we used to see on a day-to-day basis may not look quite the same as they used to. This could be due to:

  1. Changes in weight, both gains and losses
  2. Hairstyle and hair colour
  3. Facial hair

As a result, when we start to go back to the office – and especially considering any contractors or new staff onboarding – the people seen around the workplace may not necessarily be known to each other or immediately recognisable as their former selves. In addition, while many companies do regularly update their staff ID credentials, many more do not, and it is not uncommon to see people with very obviously younger versions of themselves on their ID cards.

While photos on ID cards should be updated whenever there’s a marked alteration to someone’s appearance as a matter of course, emerging from lockdown provides a unique opportunity to undertake a comprehensive programme to update all employees’ credentials.

The return to the office post-lockdown should stimulate organisations to better reflect their staff’s new look through new ID. After all, an organisation’s stringent ID management should be maintained in the same way that its IT security is addressed.

At the same time, consider your options to add extra layers of security to your workplace’s ID cards: incorporate defined access permissions to both data and physical areas, include electronic payment capabilities and consider recording time and attendance as employees’ daily schedules at least until the “routine 9 to 5” five days a week becomes the norm again.