How to Create a Workplace Visitor Policy for the Post-Pandemic Workplace

office visitors using a visitor management system

Customer management has never been as important as in the wake of the global pandemic. And as workplace safety has become a priority for business owners, managing visitors has revealed some surprising challenges. If you’ve yet to rethink your visitor management policy, now’s the time.

Today’s workplace is already starkly different from even just a few years ago. Allowing visitors access to your business premises now comes with risks far beyond the threat of industrial theft or espionage, especially as more offices become ever more connected through smart office solutions. So in the post-pandemic workplace, creating a workplace visitor policy is more important than ever. Here, we’ll look at what it means and why it matters.

Does visitor management matter?

Whatever business you run or manage, you likely have a few different types of visitors. How you manage those visitors will depend on a variety of factors. The three main types of workplace visitors are:

  • Customers/clients
  • Job candidates
  • Contractors/suppliers.

You need to know when those people are planning to arrive, when they have arrived, guide them through your premises, and be aware of when they leave. A well-designed visitor management policy ensures an up-to-date and easily accessible record of every visitor entering and leaving your workplace. That make it easier to prevent unauthorized access and also ensures new health and hygiene policies can be adhered to more proactively.

Visitor management has always been important because it helps set a professional tone for your business. In the light of COVID, that matters even more. As much as your staff, visitors need to feel confident your workplace is taking pandemic-related precautions. 

Combine that with the fact that many workplaces may now feel unrecognizable due to pandemic-related redesigns, and it’s clear that to inspire confidence and encourage safety, a visitor management policy is critical. So here’s how to create a workplace visitor policy for the post-pandemic workplace.

Evaluate your existing visitor management policy

Look at any formal, written rules and regulations you already have in place for visitors. If you have yet to create any kind of formal visitor management policy, your employees will simply make it up as they go along. That can lead to confusion, risks, and mistakes. 

A more defined visitor management policy ensures that both staff and visitors have clear expectations and guidelines to follow. 

However, even the most thorough and comprehensive visitor management policy will need to be reexamined post-pandemic. It will need to be updated with the following considerations:

  • Will you require pre-registration for visitors so you can more effectively manage occupancy levels?
  • What is the ideal process of visitor check-in, including the cloud based visitor management system you choose to adopt and the information required from every visitor (for example, are you going to carry out temperature checks on each visitor?)?
  • Your method of visitor identification (wrist bands, badges, etc.).
  • How do employees get notified a visitor has arrived to meet them?
  • Do you need access restrictions to prevent guests from going into restricted areas?
  • The complete check-out process.

High security is also a big requirement for many industries in terms of visitor management. Cloudbooking offers tailored solutions for certain industries such as our aerospace and defence solutions.

It’s important to have clear, defined procedures in place. If a member of your workforce tests positive for COVID-19, how will they inform management? How will management inform the rest of the workforce, as well as any visitors the infected person may have come into contact with?

The problem with paper-based visitor management

More businesses are shifting to a digital visitor-management system to ensure workplace safety and efficacy post-pandemic. Paper-based sign-ins simply have too many flaws to be able to manage effectively. The most common drawbacks to using a paper-based visitor sign-in system include:

  • Being unable to pre-register expected visitors
  • Lack of automated alerts that let your team know that a guest has arrived
  • Confidentiality is an issue, too, as signing into a guest book means visitors can easily see who has been visiting and who they’ve been visiting.

Manual check-in processes are unreliable, and using a paper-based system will increase the risk of unauthorized visitors. Slow visitor processes also negatively reflect your brand, which isn’t a great look if you’re expecting investors or new hires.

A paper-based strategy simply can’t integrate with any other software or hardware solutions you’ve adopted in the workplace. Digital technology makes it easier to integrate those solutions, so digital signage is up to date, and wayfinding is easier. A digital approach is the better option for visitor management in the post-pandemic workplace.

Choosing a visitor management system post-COVID-19

While using a digital visitor-management system has become more normalized in recent years, COVID-19 dramatically accelerated its adoption. It’s no longer nice to have — in a post-COVID-19 world, it’s essential. 

Should a visitor or employee be diagnosed with COVID-19 or any other contagious disease, you will have an accurate record of every visitor and employee onsite at the time. You can easily check who the infected person has interacted with, which will make it much easier to let people know they need to start testing.

However, choosing the perfect post-pandemic digital visitor-management system, requires knowing what to look for. Here are some of the most important capabilities of a digital visitor-management system:

  • A pre-registration function, preferably with a streamlined check-in function such as a QR code, will speed up check-in time and reduce the number of people waiting in the lobby/reception space.
  • Integration with your email platform, making it easier to communicate before and after the site visit.
  • A printing function, so visitor badges can be easily created without slowing down check-in.
  • Self-service check-in to reduce employee contact with visitors who may be contagious (and vice versa).
  • Automated “guest arrival” notifications that can be delivered via your chosen communication channel (slack, email, text alerts, etc.).
  • Repeat visitor-information storage to prevent regular visitors from going through the check-in process from scratch at every visit.
  • Real-time reports that cover lobby activity and visitor history, so that information isn’t just easily accessible but can also be easily searched and remotely accessed.
  • Integration with any other technologies you use, including space management software and digital signage.

A word on scaling

When organizations start to look at developing a more robust visitor management policy, they’ll often focus on digital systems designed for small to medium enterprises. The problem then becomes an issue of scale. Ideally, you should choose a visitor management system that adequately serves your growth strategy. All new tech needs to be analyzed to ensure your business is future-proofed against rapid, even unexpected, scaling.

Create your post-pandemic visitor management policy

It’s not alarmist to suggest that protecting your staff, their guests, and business visitors from COVID-19 is necessary. Even if the end of COVID-19 is on the horizon, the pandemic has highlighted some core health concerns that affect a globally-connected civilization. With global supply chains and eCommerce allowing for global audiences and connectivity, brands are no longer geographically restricted or budget limited.

All visitor management policies need to be ready to adapt and update in light of unforeseeable changes to the next step of COVID-19. It could (and hopefully will) fade away to become a distant memory. But should the unexpected happen, workplaces and those who run them need to be prepared.

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