For many people who hold jobs, starting the work day is pretty straight forward: walk into the office with a cup of coffee, start up the computer, read some emails, and kill time until the boss catches you or you actually have to start work. Guess what? Many people who work security in nightclubs and bars often take the same approach: walk in the door with your 5 hour energy drink, set-up some stanchions, and kill time until the boss catches you or a customer shows up.
Honestly, it is easy to see why security staffers often feel that they don’t need to do much upon arrival. They figure that since the bar manager has been in the establishment for at least a few hours, the bar is set up, music is going, and they know when the first rush of clients is going to arrive, why should they do any work?
Uhm, because it’s your job.
And the better prepared you are to do your job, the better off both you and your place of business will be. I hate to burst your laziness bubble, but I guarantee that there is plenty for you to do prior to starting your shift or opening.
1) Pre-Departure – Yeah, you should probably be ready for work before you leave the house. And part of that is getting yourself in the right mental state. Think about what day it is and what type of crowd you are expecting (depending on the day). Is it Thursday Night College Night or is it Mellow Jazz Lounge Sunday? You have to be paying attention either way but chances are that Mellow Jazz Lounge Sunday will be a bit less stressful and as such will allow you to work in a state of more “relaxed awareness”.
What are you wearing? Are your clothes clean? Shoes look decent? Do you have all of your gear? Gel insoles? Flashlight (how are the batteries)? Breath mints? Cell phone? Earpiece? Nothing sucks more than showing up missing equipment or needing to drive back home to grab something.
2) Arrival and Greetings – You should be arriving 10-15 minutes early, dressed, well groomed, and ready to go. Do you look like you just rolled out of bed? Take a minute or two at the car (or hey, here’s and idea: before you leave the house) to make sure you look presentable. Believe it or not, looking the part will lead to acting the part. And acting the part will lead to you actually doing your job.
Say hello to the bar/nightclub/lounge staff that you encounter on the way to the equipment room or office. It will give you an idea of who is working and they’ll know that another piece of the security pie has arrived.
3) Gear up – Head to the equipment room or office and get your radio or any other gear that your workplace provides. Put it on and test it before you leave the room! Nothing looks more unprofessional than an employee testing equipment in front of a bunch of Patrons.
4) Find your Head of Security/Manager/Supervisor – Ask them, “Are there any special events booked or guests that will be arriving during the night? What post will I be manning? Any special orders for the night? Guest lists? Special guest requests?” You’d be surprised at how often a manager will forget to tell you things. By asking, you not only help to jog their memory, but get yourself even more mentally prepared for the night to come. The last thing you want to hear at 10:15 is “Oh yeah, at 10:20 we have a party of 30 coming in.” Ask questions, it never hurts.
5) Prep the establishment – If you are the first one on, here is a good checklist to follow:
Doors – Are all exit doors secure and in working order? That means do they open and close.
Restrooms – Do the doors work? Toilets flush? Sinks work? Many times YOU are the one that will have to deal with restroom issues. It makes sense to check them ahead of time and save yourself some possible aggravation.
Hallways,Stairs, and Walkways – Are they free of debris/trashcans/furniture? Make sure people can get around without climbing over or around things.
Front Door Check – If you are working the Front, do you have everything you will need? Make sure you have stanchions, ID books, count clickers, Nightly Report binders, and anything else your establishment uses at the Front Door.
Set-up – Any stanchions, tables, cash registers, ropes, chairs, etc. that you will use during the course of the evening. Have these prepped and ready BEFORE the crowds arrive. Otherwise you will have a logistical nightmare on your hands.
Briefing – Get together with the rest of the security team and your Head of Security or Manager and find out what else is going on that evening. This not only gets everyone on the same page, but finalizes your prep.
Now…you’re mentally prepared, your equipment is set, and you can really start your night. Take a deep breath and get to it!
Until next time…