Do You Need An ID Badge System Or A Visitor Management System?

by Glenn Hicks on December 15, 2020
How To Plan A Safe Return To Work Now And In The Future

As you make plans to reopen, the question of managing access control and occupancy is almost certainly keeping you up at night.

An ID badge system and visitor management system can help, but because both offer different advantages, it may not be clear which one you need.

Here’s an overview of each and some considerations to help you decide.

What is an ID badge system?

An ID badge system allows you to verify the identity of employees and grant access to them individually. It’s one of the simplest and most effective ways to ensure the security of your workplace.

Most badge systems rely on radio-frequency identification (RFID) sensors to gather data such as employee name, ID, timestamp, and location. Some workplaces even use biometric systems that check for fingerprints or retina scans. These eliminate the potential for security breaches that can occur if ID badges are stolen or misused.

A few scenarios where ID badges can be particularly useful include:

  • Verifying an employee has valid credentials before they enter the workplace
  • Using entry and exit timestamps to manage time and attendance, especially when employees work in shifts or overtime, so they can be paid accordingly
  • Monitoring employees working in remote offices
  • Managing security clearance to restricted areas within the building, such as vaults or data centers

Typically, the vendor that manages your workplace security system also implements your ID badge system. These systems are easily configurable so you can design them to manage access by department code or function.

How can ID badge systems help you maintain workplace safety?

Although ID badge systems are most often associated with security, their ability to track occupancy and space utilization makes them even more relevant in the post-COVID-19 workplace. Data gathered from a badge system can give a precise account of how many employees are in the office and where they are located.

This occupancy data can help you adjust cleaning schedules and regulate temperature, ventilation, and lighting.

They can also feed valuable data to your space management software so you can limit capacity by building, department, or floor.

You can use this data to identify areas that become frequently crowded, such as common areas and conference rooms, and determine how to reconfigure or repurpose them to ensure physical distancing.

See how our new space planning feature makes this easy.

ID badge data can also help you forecast future space needs.

For instance, Bridgestone wanted to gain more insight into how employees were using their space so the company could better plan for the future. Before the pandemic, some employees were working from home by choice several days a week, and it didn’t make sense for everyone to have a dedicated desk.

Using an employee badging system that integrates with our space management software, Bridgestone could see how often each employee was in the office during a 30-day period. Some employees rarely used the office, while others came in daily.

Having this insight allowed the leadership team to determine who needed a dedicated desk and who could share a desk or reserve one as needed.

And with a significant percentage of employees planning to continue working remotely at least part of the time, we expect to see more organizations taking advantage of flexible seating arrangements.

What is a visitor management system?

While badge systems are ideal for employees, they don’t allow you to manage secure access for visitors. A visitor management system is designed to do exactly that. The best systems check visitors against a security watchlist upon arrival and allow you to collect any required documentation, such as nondisclosure agreements or wellness screenings. They should connect with badge printers so you can give each visitor a photo ID badge.

What does a visitor management system offer that an ID system doesn’t?

ID badge systems and visitor management systems both serve similar functions, but the requirements to manage visitors are different.

While ID badge systems typically rely on human resources or IT professionals to manage access, visitor management systems make it easier for employees to manage their own guests.

If they know a client or job candidate is coming in, they can pre-register them in your visitor management system.

Through integrations with email providers, employees can send a welcome email with all the information their visitor will need, such as directions to your building, where to park, and how to access your company’s Wi-Fi.

The visitor will also receive a QR code to scan upon arrival so they don’t have to wait to sign in. When they check in, their host will receive an automated notification via Slack, email, or their mobile phone.

How can visitor management software protect employee health?

Visitor management systems aren’t just for guests. As workplaces begin to reopen, some organizations are requiring their employees to pre-register before they arrive each day.

This serves several important safety functions.

First, it allows you to see how many employees are planning to come to the office so you can limit capacity.

You can use the system to prompt employees to complete a quick wellness questionnaire to assess their risk of exposing others to COVID-19.

Visitor management software can also support contact tracing by maintaining a digital record of everyone who was in the office during a given time period.

How iOFFICE can help you reopen offices safely

ID badge systems and visitor management systems both have a role to place in protecting your workforce.

Depending on your organization and your plans for returning to work, you may even need both.

Fortunately, iOFFICE’s integrated experience management system (iXMS) includes visitor management and integrates with ID badge data.

Within a single platform, you can store occupancy and visitor data, limit capacity, support contact tracing, and manage room and desk reservations for your flexible workplace.

We can help you come up with creative solutions to manage a safe workplace now and reduce real estate costs with better space planning.

Schedule a consultation to discuss your return-to-work needs.


Glenn Hicks

A member of the Business Development team, Glenn has years of experience with business process improvement on the Commercial Real Estate and Facilities Management sides.

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