Workplace Trends
November 4th, 2020

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Throughout any phase of reopening the office, one thing stays the same: Employee and visitor safety is a critical business priority.

To welcome your workforce and guests back into the office, make sure you’re prepared to keep them safe by having the right platform to manage visitors and establish access control.

With health and safety at the top of everyone’s minds, companies are leaning on technology to help them manage who can come into the office, control when they’re able to gain entry, and maintain a secure record of that information to reference in the event there’s a need for contact tracing.

Having the right tools in place will help you protect people from the moment they walk in the door. As you get ready to reopen your workplace, solutions like access control and electronic visitor management systems help ensure a safer environment. 

While both visitor sign-in software and access control systems help keep the office safe, it's important to understand how the two solutions compare when it comes to bringing employees back into the workplace. Here's what you need to know.

What’s the difference between visitor management and access control?

Access control systems center around workplace security, and typically include badges that employees can swipe or an app that syncs with the system that’s installed on a door or other point of entry. While that can provide valuable information about who was in the office, when they were there, and when they left, it isn’t designed to provide deep insights into occupancy. At least, not on its own.

That’s an important distinction, particularly during the COVID-19 era.

How COVID-19 impacted visitor management — and what you can do about it

Access control keeps offices secure while sign-in software for visitors creates a quick and easy process. Now, workplace leaders are using these systems together in new ways — as employee safety and check-in tools.

On top of managing the guests in your workplace, you can use a visitor management system to limit capacity by setting up an employee check-in process.

It’s easy to include safety measures, such as a wellness questionnaire or a self-screening checklist, as part of your check-in procedures. Ultimately, a modern visitor management system puts the power of capacity management in your hands and automates many of the steps necessary for a safer workplace.

Keep an eye on capacity limits

One thing we understand about COVID-19 is the major role proximity plays in its rapid spread. At the guidance of health experts and government authorities, business leaders are monitoring and managing capacity levels in the office to minimize the risk of exposure.

With employees, contractors, job candidates, and other visitors coming into the office, keeping capacity under control is practically a full-time job. Visitor logging systems take the time-consuming tasks off your hands so you'll be well-prepared to respond and adapt.

With live views of your workplace occupancy, you can prevent overcrowded offices and minimize the risk of a COVID-19 outbreak. You’ll know right away when there’s a space capacity issue, which has never been more important than in today’s high-stakes environment.

Make your check-in process quick, efficient, and safe

New processes can feel disorienting when employees return to the workplace — a positive and safe experience will go a long way to reassuring staff that you’re protecting their health and respecting their well-being.

According to Forrester's PandemicEX survey, 50% of employees are already afraid to return to work.

Ease some of their anxiety with a smooth check-in process, which can also help reduce the chance of potential exposure in the lobby or front desk area.

Let your team and visitors know where they’ll sign-in and what steps to expect. Integrate with calendars (such as Google Calendar, iCalendar, or Outlook) and notification tools, such as Slack, for consistency and swift notifications.

A simple way to protect the office is with a wellness checklist or questionnaire. Determine specific office guidelines and communicate them clearly with employees. For example, based on CDC recommendations, you may ask employees if they have been sick within a two-week period. If they have, your policy may require them to work from home.

Reduce the number of touchpoints

Paper-and-pen methods were already outdated, but now they’re simply unsafe.

People feel uneasy about shared surfaces — and with good cause. Experts have warned the coronavirus can live on some surfaces for several days.

One way you can reduce the spread of germs — and viruses — is by removing or reducing physical touchpoints.

For example, with Teem's visitor management software, employees and visitors will receive a QR code in a confirmation email. Then, they can simply scan the QR code from their personal device in order to check in.

Make your visitor management count

First, you need to evaluate how many people can safely be in your workplace at a time. If you’re unsure how to get started, iOFFICE's Space-Right™ physical distancing feature helps you adjust that limit based on your current circumstances.

You select capacity limits and the system will let you know when something needs your attention. Live updates to occupancy data allow you to learn quickly as things change, meaning you can respond swiftly to any risks.

Once you’ve determined that parameter, set the safety limit and let your technology keep an eye on capacity — freeing you up to work on other critical tasks.

Integrated solutions

Integrating visitor management software with your access control system is one way to gain greater control over the office. By connecting the security and building access tools you already use with a visitor management system, there’s the option to grant access only to the employees that have been pre-approved.

With an effective process in place, connecting your access control and visitor management software provides a great tool that you can use as a gatekeeper for your workplace.

And at least for now, that extra level of protection may be needed for larger companies or those with multiple properties in various locations.

Here are some other helpful integrations to look for:

  • Hardware (such as tablets and kiosk systems)
  • Messaging systems (such as Slack and HipChat)
  • File management (such as Box and Dropbox)
  • Email clients (such as Outlook and Gmail)
  • Business software suites (such as Google Apps and Office 365)

 

How can I reopen safely during the pandemic?

There’s a tough balance between sustaining operations today and moving full-steam ahead into the future. Getting that balance right is never easy, and there’s no question that the pandemic — and resulting economic downturn — has significantly added to that difficulty.

For businesses getting ready to reopen, leaders have to tackle these challenges head on as they make critical workplace decisions.

When it comes to implementing new procedures and policies — including the tools that make a safe return possible — there’s no uniform, one-size-fits-all approach.

With Teem's Return-To-Work Starter Kit, your workplace will have what employees need to collaboration in a safe workplace environment. From welcoming guests and inviting employees back to the office, to booking desks or reserving a conference room — you can create the return that works for your workplace.

This is an important opportunity to address your organization’s unique goals and reflect the needs of your workforce. Don’t miss it.

While you evaluate your return-to-work options, request a live demo to explore how Teem's visitor management helps you keep employees safe.

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