In this era of greater expectations for employee health and safety, having a workplace visitor policy in writing has never been more important.
If you don’t have a workplace visitor policy, you’re literally opening the door to all kinds of workplace visitor risks, from a former employee with a grudge to an unassuming contractor who unknowingly exposes your workplace to COVID-19.
Why do you need a workplace visitor policy?
Here are three compelling reasons why you need to implement a workplace visitor policy or update your existing one.
1. To protect your employees and assets
No one wants to think about workplace violence, but it can happen anywhere. Since 2006, 90 people have died in 13 mass workplace shootings in the United States, according to data obtained by USA Today, the Associated Press, and Northeastern University.
A workplace visitor policy that requires every workplace visitor to sign in and checks them against a security watchlist is your workplace’s first line of defense.
Having a workplace visitor policy also protects your assets from theft or damage. That includes your IT infrastructure, expensive equipment, and even intellectual property.
Depending on the nature of their visit, your workplace visitor policy may need to require guests to sign a non-disclosure agreement or restrict them from certain areas, such as laboratories where your company is developing the next breakthrough vaccine.
2. To deliver a consistent visitor experience every time
As the old saying goes, you only get one chance to make a first impression. That's especially true for the impression you make on every workplace visitor.
If you’ve ever spent 20 minutes waiting in a crowded lobby only to find you were in the wrong building or the person you came to see wasn’t there, you know you’d never want a client, contractor, prospective employee, or another type of workplace visitor to have a similar experience.
Having a workplace visitor policy sets expectations for every employee about how to manage the visitor experience. That includes notifying the host, signing them in, giving them a photo ID badge, and getting them set up for the day.
This helps ensure every workplace visitor is promptly greeted and feels welcome from the moment they arrive.
Contact tracing is an effective way for public health officials and workplace leaders to slow the spread of COVID-19. In a recent PwC survey, 35% of employees said they expect their employers to notify them if they have been exposed to the virus at work.
In terms of your workplace visitor policy, COVID has brought new considerations into the mix. For some, that includes health screenings or self-screening for symptoms. Maintaining a digital log of all visitors is one of the most proactive steps you can take to protect everyone who enters your building.
That way, if someone discloses they have tested positive for COVID-19, you can easily see who else was in the office that day and notify them. Just make sure you communicate your workplace visitor policy - COVID updates to anyone who will be impacted by the changes you make.
What should a workplace visitor policy include?
Your workplace visitor policy should clarify the rules and procedures for visitors, answering common questions such as:
Who is permitted to visit
What information should be collected from each workplace visitor
Where visitors may go with or without a host
When visitors are permitted to be on your premises
How employees should handle an unauthorized workplace visitor or a workplace visitor who violate policies
If you don’t have a workplace visitor policy, employees will make their own rules. Aside from creating a potentially unsafe environment, this can lead to confusion and a chaotic workplace visitor experience.
Having a strong workplace visitor policy ensures everyone understands their role in keeping your workplace safe and secure.
It also creates a consistent, exceptional first impression for every workplace visitor who walks through your doors.
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