A visitor management system has always been a critical part of workplace safety. Now, following the coronavirus pandemic, many organizations are rethinking their approach to visitor management to keep their employees safe and healthy.
The most important function of any visitor management system is to keep your workplace safe and secure. It protects your employees from any unauthorized visitors who may pose a threat, such as a disgruntled former employee or a competitor who may be trying to steal intellectual property. It also protects your valuable assets, including your physical property, equipment, IT hardware and your company data.
A visitor management system can also help you take precautions to keep your workplace healthy. You can use it to manage health screenings, such as taking the temperatures of visitors before they enter. And as contact tracing becomes an increased focus for preventing the spread of coronavirus, a visitor management gives you an easy way to see who was in the workplace on any given day.
If you find out about a potential COVID-19 exposure in your workplace, you’ll have a digital visitor log of everyone who was there that day so you can notify them.
No one likes waiting in a crowded lobby. A visitor management system streamlines check-in so you can minimize bottlenecks and wait times in your reception area. It also makes it easier for your receptionist to manage other responsibilities. A great visitor management system can even stand in for a front desk receptionist.
Greeting clients, job candidates and other guests with a paper visitor log doesn’t exactly give the impression of a modern, digital workplace. Signing in with a digital tablet is more impressive and will give your guests confidence that you’re an innovative, tech-forward company.
Visitor management is everyone’s responsibility. Every employee needs to understand your
company’s policy and do their part to follow it. That means checking in every guest, every
client and every vendor, every time.
When it comes to developing and enforcing a visitor management policy, the conversation
should start at the top. Your senior leadership team—including your office manager or real
estate executive, HR director and CTO—need to weigh in with any concerns they have. They can
then appoint others to draft or update your visitor management policy and select the best
visitor management software.
If you’ve never had a formal visitor policy, you might not know where to start. Here are five elements every visitor policy should include.
Explain what your visitor policy is and why it exists. Emphasize the benefits we discussed above, including protecting employee health and safety and providing an exceptional visitor experience. You will also want to define different types of visitors who will be expected to follow this policy, including vendors and contract employees.
Define the steps in your visitor check-in process. For instance:
This part of your visitor policy should outline where guests are permitted to go on your premises, noting any areas that are off-limits or where they need to be accompanied by someone. Visitor access restrictions would also include hours when visitors are not permitted.
Define the level of access visitors will have to your Wi-Fi network, including which network should they join and the guest password.
This part of your visitor policy should address any visitors who will not be permitted on your premises. Some companies maintain a security watchlist that includes terminated employees or anyone who has been banned from your building due to criminal activity, such as assault or theft.
Your visitor management policy should include a plan for cross-checking visitors against this watchlist and what employees should do if an unauthorized visitor arrives.
The days of using pen and paper sign-in sheets for visitor management are coming to an end. Sure, they served their purpose at one time, but these outdated methods no longer have a place in your modern workplace.
Digital visitor management systems support all elements of visitor check-in. They allow you to screen visitors and maintain a digital visitor log you can refer back to at any time if needed. For instance, if you learn of a possible COVID-19 exposure at your workplace, you will know who was in the building that day so you can notify them.
Or, if you have a building emergency and need to make sure everyone has evacuated, you can look at your visitor data from a mobile device to verify who was in the office.
You can also look at historical data of your visitors to get helpful analytics, such as what types of visitors you have most often and which days you tend to have the most visitors.
While many visitor management solutions appear to be similar in functionality and features, some have more limited capabilities.
Here are seven things you should look for before you select visitor management software for your organization.
A simple, user-friendly, and intuitive design provides a positive experience for your employees and their visitors. It also increases user adoption rates. If your visitor management software is too complex or confusing, it’s more likely users will bypass it altogether.
The ability to enable self check-in for visitors is also incredibly useful. The visitor management software you choose should make it easy for them to enter their information on a digital panel or kiosk, notify their host and find their way.
Make sure the software you choose includes visitor documentation so your guests can complete digital contracts like NDAs or background security check forms. The system should also save those files, eliminating any extra steps for your receptionist.
The ability to easily print visitor badges from your system is important. This helps your workforce quickly identify visitors and manage authorizations.
What good is a visitor management system if you can’t take it anywhere? A cloud-based system will work anywhere you have internet access, whether you’re in your company headquarters or renting a temporary office space for the week. All your visitor data is stored in the cloud too, so there’s no need to worry about losing any important information. Best of all, because cloud-based software is subscription-based, you don’t have to worry about a big upfront investment or expensive maintenance fees. They’re all rolled right into your monthly payments
Pre-registering your visitors makes the check-in process even faster. You can enter their information ahead on time and also provide them with important details, such as where to park and how to access your building’s Wi-Fi.
Your visitor management software should allow you to check all visitors against your security watchlist and alerts appropriate personnel if unauthorized guests attempt to enter. This extra layer of security can save lives.