Nexkey has released the second annual Access Control Trends Review which reveals that most people are happily returning to the office in the next few months, and there is a shift toward smartphone-based access control post-pandemic. 

Nexkey surveyed over 1,700 people, 300 of them managing office access, to understand the current and future state of the access control industry.

Interesting highlights from the survey include:

  • 91% of remote workers plan to return to the office.
  • 85% of people returning to the office plan to return by September 2021.
  • 68% who already have returned to the office are happy to be back.
  • Yet, 68.7% office workers still use unsecure keycards, fobs and keys.
  • 9% of people today use smartphones to access their workplace, the number one choice among users, an increase of 64% compared to last year.
  • 85% of office managers want more doors to have access control, a 10% increase from last year.
  • The number one reason people aren’t getting more access control is that it is too expensive.


Return to the Office

At Nexkey, we have seen more and more businesses return to work after a huge decline in occupancy starting in April 2020. It has been a slow upclimb but as of June 2020 it seems like occupancy has finally reached the pre-pandemic level. 

Confirmed by this survey, 68 percent of people are currently working in the office full-time or part-time, most having a flexible schedule continuing to work from home.

For those still working at home, 91 percent will return to the office either part-time or full-time, and very soon. Eighty-seven percent of those will make their return by September 2021. Most will return with a flexible schedule, and 62 percent will go to the office once a week or less.

People are generally happy to go back; 68 percent of office workers who have already returned from remote working feel satisfied to be back in the office. 


The Shift to Mobile Post-Pandemic

As people return to the office, more than half (53 percent) of people who manage access in their own building think access control is more important due to the pandemic. 

Since last year’s survey, the same percentage of workers still use key cards (44 percent) yet 9 percent of all office workers surveyed use a smartphone to unlock their doors, an increase of 64 percent from last year. 

A whopping 98 percent of office workers said they have a smartphone today. Our smartphones are always on us and have become an extension of us. It’s no surprise that the smartphone was the number one choice across all credentials, beating key cards, key fobs and pin codes.


Security Is Still a Big Issue With Keys, Cards & Fobs

Sixty-six percent of office workers prefer security over convenience, the same percentage seen mid-lockdown. Key cards continue to be the most common access credential, especially in companies with over 1,000 employees. However, the data also shows they have the most vulnerabilities.

It is scary to see that one out of four let someone borrow their key to unlock their workplace. Thirty-three percent of businesses had to change the locks because keys from an employee were not returned, and of those people, 43 percent had to do that, astoundingly so, at least four times in the last year to stay secure.


What Is the Potential for Access Control in the Future?

Of those surveyed, 85 percent of office administrators want more doors to be outfitted with access control, an increase of 10 percent from last year. The number one thing holding people back to get more access control is that it is too expensive.

When it comes to the price for the ideal access control system, 77 percent said they would only pay under $1,000 per door. Interestingly it seems more people are willing to pay a monthly fee than in the prior year: 54 percent would pay $11 or more per door for the ideal access control platform, an increase of 4 percent from a year ago. 


Verdict: Stronger Demand & Acceptance for Cloud-Based Models

This report shows that the pandemic has accelerated a move towards the mobile credential and increased the demand and acceptance for cloud-based access control systems. People are unhappy with the security flaws of legacy systems and want more out of access control. They not only want to keep bad people out of their spaces but want to support the return of the good people back to the office. As an industry we not only have to adapt to the needs of the customer in the here and now but stay ahead of those needs by building products that not only lock and unlock doors but are intelligent, provide insights into occupancy and flow of people and tie better into the overall concept of smart buildings.