A Sobering Reality
How are American adults and teens feeling about school and workplace safety? We thought you’d like to know.
Today’s turbulent social and economic times have brought new stressors into the lives of parents, students and employees. These stressors often lead to new behaviors, and schools and workplaces need the proper tools and training in place to recognize and manage them.
We look to our schools and places of business to provide a safe, secure environment so we can thrive and achieve our goals. Are our nation’s companies and schools doing a good job mitigating and managing violence and related behaviors in the places we live almost as much as we live in our homes? According to a poll we recently conducted with John Zogby Strategies, these establishments could be doing better.
What the Numbers Show
Our Navigate360 | Zogby Safety and Wellbeing Poll aimed to determine what — if any — impact the confluence of today’s national health and economic crises has had on both adults’ and 16- to 17-year-olds’ lives and sense of safety in their community settings. The results are sobering, yet they offer significant opportunity for improvements in the way schools and workplaces view safety management.
Three in five adults say either they or someone close to them are very (19%) or somewhat (40%) likely to “encounter a violent critical incident, experience self-harm or contract COVID-19 or other communicable disease” in today’s turbulent national health and economic climates, according to survey results. And 61% of teens surveyed say they are thinking more about their physical and emotional safety and wellness than they did 6 months ago. Yet only 31% of these same teens believe that they and their classmates have received adequate training in case of an emergency.
Of course, obstacles generally come with opportunity. Now is the perfect time for leaders to amplify their safety education and training initiatives, as well as leverage professional third-party advisors’ expertise in assessing security risks and suggesting technology and procedural improvements that can keep schools and businesses safe.
More from the Navigate360 | Zogby Safety and Wellbeing Poll:
46% of adults surveyed
52% of surveyed adults
54% of surveyed teens
An Imperfect Storm
The imperfect storm of economic insecurity, new health regulations and social and political tensions has resulted in public environments in which people fear for their and their loved ones’ safety more than ever before.
“We can’t ignore the facts that many adults and many children have experienced a lot of stress,” said Navigate360 CEO Jean-Paul Guilbault in a recent podcast for EHS Today. “They are losing loved ones and other family members to the health issues that are in front of us. Many families are under financial stress with many, many consequences. So many families that exist out there are also trapped within domestic conflicts … They have no place to go and no one to intervene, and so those stresses are real.”
According to Guilbault, another forthcoming stress “is going to be this return to kind of a ‘new normal’ and a new approach. As a society, we don’t have a one-size-fits-all set of norms, and workplaces all have their own different norms. So do schools, so do families. And so we will see inside our workplaces different behaviors, different conflicts as a result of some of the new policies in physical distancing that are coming about.”
All of these factors put enormous pressure on employees, administrators, parents — and especially kids. Safety from the violence that may arise from these stressors can only come from vigilant efforts to vet buildings’ visitors, assess potentially problematic individuals and streamline security initiatives to make sure nothing and no one falls through the cracks.
…And a Silver Lining
There is a silver lining amid this cloud of insecurity and distrust with workplace and school safety. These community qualms can — and do — shed new light on what school and business leaders need to do to step up and take charge of critical security needs.
Peace of mind is key to feeling safe in our community spaces, and people will certainly take notice of streamlined security measures and invigorated initiatives to enhance personal safety.
“Most people are resilient,” Guilbault said in the EHS Today podcast. “In times of crisis, people do do well, and they do better than we expect. I think that’s important that we all keep in our purview.”
About the Poll
Our poll of 1,000 adults nationwide was conducted online on Aug. 28, 2020 and has a margin of sampling error of +/-3.2 percentage points. The poll of 303 teens aged 16 and 17 was conducted online on Aug. 29 (with parental permission) and has a margin of sampling error of +/-5.7 percentage points. Read more about the 2020 survey results here.