Corporate Safe Rooms: Protecting Your Office From Workplace Violence

With today’s rising workplace violence, corporate safe rooms are becoming a common office feature. Any enclosed space in your building can be made into a corporate safe room by reinforcing doors, windows, and walls to resist bullets. Conference rooms—even those with large windows—are some of the best rooms to convert to a corporate safe room.  TSS has created countless safe rooms; in this blog, we’ll walk you through the essentials of choosing a safe room location, what you need for your safe room to be effective, and how TSS can help.

Workplace Violence Is on the Rise. Corporate Safe Rooms Help Protect Workers

Over the past three to four years, TSS has seen a sharp increase in demand for corporate safe rooms in response to rising incidents of workplace violence. 

According to a 2022 report from the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), workplace violence continues to climb. Workplace attacks rose more than 34 percent over the last several years. Workplace homicides increased 11 percent during that period.  

Active shooter event increases are especially concerning. According to the FBI, these have increased by more than 150 percent since 2006. In a recent report, Threatwise Global projected at least a 10 to 15 percent increase in workplace violence in the coming year.  

Building a Corporate Safe Room

According to TSS CEO Jim Richards, almost any space in an office can be converted to a safe room. TSS has converted conference rooms, huddle rooms, storage and mail rooms, and even bathrooms into corporate safe rooms. It all depends on your corporate office’s unique needs.

“Let’s say you have a multi-story building or multi-wing office area,” Jim explains. “You’re going to pick one area in that suite area or on that floor, and you’re going to designate that as the safe space where people go if there is an act of violence.” 

Once you identify an ideal corporate safe room, you’ll reinforce it by replacing existing windows with ballistic windows, reinforcing drywall with ballistic fiberglass panels, and swapping standard doors for ballistically-rated doors that can withstand bullets and keep intruders out.

Conference and Huddle Rooms Make Excellent Corporate Safe Rooms

Where you create your corporate safe room depends on your existing floor plan, budget, and team size. Conference rooms and huddle rooms usually make great safe rooms, even though they typically have lots of windows. This is because they are easier to access in an emergency and reinforcing the space is more straightforward compared to supply closets. In fact, Jim estimates that more than 60 percent of the corporate safe rooms TSS creates are built into huddle rooms or conference rooms. 

TSS can quickly replace large conference room windows with bullet-resistant windows—that’s both faster and more cost-effective than reinforcing drywalled storage or mail rooms. We can often turn a conference room into a safe room overnight.

More importantly, conference rooms and huddle spaces are usually both comfortable and accessible. Conference rooms are often sized for full team meetings, so the entire staff can easily get to the space and fit there in an emergency. Although huddle rooms are smaller, they’re usually spread throughout the office. Having several reinforced huddle rooms means more people can get to a safe place quickly. “You can still put a lot of people in a huddle room,” Jim points out, “when everybody’s standing side by side. That surprises many people.”

Plus, HVAC systems keep these rooms comfortable for several hours, even when many people are inside. Most conference and huddle rooms have landlines and Wifi or ethernet, so your team can communicate in an emergency. 

Storage Rooms Are Not Ideal Safe Room Locations

Many people think that a windowless storage room or mailroom will make the best safe room. Although either of those could be a safe space, they are almost never the best option. 

While it can be done, small storage rooms are typically expensive to make into safe rooms. Tearing out the drywall, hanging bulletproof fiberglass, and then hanging new drywall is a lot of work. That sort of renovation is also usually very loud and messy, which makes it harder to get office work done.

Besides being expensive and a hassle to renovate, storage rooms and mail rooms usually don’t have an important safe room feature—open space for people to take shelter. Storage and mail rooms are mostly taken up by shelving or worktables. Additionally, mail rooms and storage rooms aren’t designed to hold a lot of people for a long time. As a result, they can get extremely stuffy and hot if the entire office needs to take shelter.

Finally, these rooms are often far away from most of the office workers, making them hard to reach in an emergency. They rarely have landlines or internet access, and might be located in parts of the building with bad cell reception. People who are sheltering need to get information and communicate with emergency responders.

In larger buildings, bathrooms can be a good place to shelter in an emergency. Bathrooms are easy to reach on each floor and usually have good ventilation. But, they can be expensive to reinforce because of sinks, tile backsplashes, mirrors, and other features. When you choose TSS to build your corporate safe room, we help you build the most secure location possible while making the most of your budget.

What About Executive Offices?

Executive offices are usually secured separately. Because they aren’t easy to get to in an emergency, they do not make for effective corporate safe rooms. If you want to protect your C-suite offices, TSS is ready to help; contact us to learn more.

Effective Safe Rooms Require Process Planning

For a corporate safe room to actually work, you need to have a good security and emergency plan. Employees should be trained on safe room specifics and be able to answer questions like: 

  • Where are the saferoom(s) located?
  • Which room do you go to during an emergency?
  • How do you make sure the door is locked and someone has called 911?
Regular drills help employees know what to do in case of an emergency.

“We’ve created a lot of corporate safe rooms over the past several years,” Jim explains. “And the truth is, in most offices, building the safe room isn’t the hard part. The hard part is making sure you put in place the protocols and procedures so that people know what to do, keep their heads, and get safe in an emergency.”

TSS Can Help You Make Your Workplace Safer with Corporate Safe Rooms
Over the last 20 years, TSS has created countless corporate safe rooms across the country. No matter your threat level, company size, or office layout, our skilled team is ready to help you find a solution that protects your team and your budget. To learn more or get started, contact our ballistic security experts today.
Back to Blog