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Your workplace is changing so fast, you may not even recognize it a few months from now — but so is your workforce.
If you’re like many organizations, you’re using the more distributed nature of work as an opportunity to hire more independent contractors, freelancers, and consultants. Managing access for so many different people can be challenging, but visitor management software can help.
The idea of agile working has been around for many years. More than a third of U.S. employees participated in the agile workforce, also known as the "gig economy", prior to the pandemic. That percentage grew by 33% in 2020, according to Fortune.
In an agile workforce, employees may work entirely remotely or divide their time between home and the office. Because they don't come into the office every day, they typically don't have an assigned seat. Those who rarely come in may not even have an ID badge or a way to access the office without someone signing them in.
The pandemic has introduced new concerns around limiting capacity in the office, following social distancing guidelines, and taking reasonable steps to ensure every person who enters isn't positive for COVID-19.
That includes having employees complete a wellness questionnaire and/or taking their temperatures. With a new federal mandate for all U.S. employees at companies with more than 100 people to be vaccinated or tested once a week, employers will need to take additional steps to ensure compliance.
That all starts when someone signs in for the day, whether they are a full-time employee or a contract worker.
If someone does disclose a positive COVID-19 test, employers need to know who was potentially exposed so they can notify them, a fundamental part of contact tracing.
This is only possible if employers have a list of every employee and contractor who came to the office on a particular day.
Visitor management is important in an agile workforce for other reasons, too. Contractors or consultants coming to the office for a specific purpose typically need someone to validate their credentials and sign them in. As the agile workforce grows, so does the amount of time people spend waiting in the lobby. If they're lucky, someone greets them as soon as they arrive, but that isn't always possible. Their host could be stuck in traffic or in a meeting that's running long, leaving them waiting for a long time. Unless they've left instructions with the front desk receptionist, no one else knows who they are or how to help them.
Visitor management software simplifies the process of checking in visitors, verifying their identity, and screening them according to your health and safety guidelines. It also gives you a digital record of everyone who has been in the office for contact tracing purposes.
Whether you’re preparing to reopen the office or you’ve been back on-site for months, visitor management software is essential for several reasons.
Your employees are your most valuable assets, and their most basic need is to feel safe. A sign-in sheet makes it difficult to maintain a high level of security. Anyone can sign in, and your receptionist may never know they’ve been recently terminated or have a restraining order against one of your employees.
The best visitor management systems check guests against your security watchlist and notifies security personnel if someone is trying to gain access when they shouldn’t be.
Wellness screenings have become standard in the past year as businesses and other establishments try to minimize the spread of COVID-19. With visitor management software, visitors can quickly and confidentially complete these screenings before they come into the building.
No one likes waiting in a crowded reception area or sitting alone waiting for their host to meet them. Visitor management software streamlines the check-in process so clients, vendors, contractors, and others only need to enter their information and be on their way. And if you pre-register guests, they only need to swipe a QR code on their phone for touchless check-in. When they do, their host will receive an automatic notification to meet them.
When an important client is coming, you want to make a great impression. That’s going to be harder if they spend the first 15 minutes of their day trying to find their way around, calling someone who doesn’t answer, or trying a dozen different Wi-Fi password combinations to check their email.
With visitor management software, you can pre-register your guest and send them an email with all the information they need to have a great visitor experience. You can include directions, where to park, where to eat lunch, and how to access your wireless network.
If you have many people coming and going, it’s hard to remember who was in the office earlier that morning, much less the previous week.
But sometimes you need to know. If someone tests positive for COVID-19, you can check digital visitor records to see who was in the office at the same time. From there, you can determine who may have had close contact with that person and notify employees in a confidential manner.
In a recent PwC survey, 35% of employees said they expect their employers to notify them if they may have been exposed to someone who has the virus.
If you choose to use your visitor management system to support contract tracing in the workplace, you can ask every employee to pre-register or check in daily when they arrive.
Over the past year, employees have become even more accustomed to having everything from groceries to gifts delivered to their doorstep. Their online ordering habits are likely to continue after you reopen the office. Having dozens of different food delivery drivers show up at your front desk reception at lunchtime can be a logistical nightmare. The best visitor management systems streamline check-in for everyone and immediately notifies employees to pick up their orders.
If you have an iPad at the front desk, each person simply needs to enter their name and the name of the person who made the delivery. That way your receptionist doesn’t have to spend their entire lunch break signing people in and calling employees to get their orders.
As you expand your workforce to include more vendors and independent contractors, visitor management software becomes even more essential. Here are three tips for using it to make check-in as efficient as possible.
Employees may not always recognize every new face who comes into the building, but they should make them feel welcome. By using your visitor management system for badge printing, you can give temporary workers the official stamp of approval so employees know who they are and can greet them by name.
You can pre-register each individual who will need to come to the office on a regular basis and save them in the system so they don’t have to re-enter all their information each time. They just need to scan a QR code on their mobile phone or search for their name to check in. This way, they can get right to work without wasting time waiting for someone to greet them each morning.
For people who are new to your organization or only work there on occasion, navigating a large corporate campus can be intimidating.
A mobile workplace app designed for your employees also benefits regular vendors and contractors.
They can easily find their way around with wayfinding maps and turn-by-turn directions. They can reserve a workspace or a room that best supports the work they’re doing that day.
And if they need tech support or someone to fix the coffee machine, they can easily make a request through the app.
Keeping track of who comes into your building has always been important for security purposes, but it’s even more critical as COVID concerns continue. A touchless visitor management system employees, visitors, and contractors can access through a mobile app protects your workforce while minimizing the use of shared surfaces.
Once the threat of a global pandemic has subsided, it will help you manage access, prevent overcrowding, and ensure everyone who comes to your workplace feels welcome.
To learn more about how our visitor management software simplifies check-in, request a demo today.
Mike Petrusky is host of the “Workplace Innovator Podcast” and Director of Events and Growth Marketing at iOFFICE. He joined iOFFICE in March of 2018 with a mission to energize the company’s live events. He is a dynamic speaker, podcaster, and seasoned marketer who has a passion for sharing iOFFICE’s unique brand of thought leadership to CRE & FM leaders in the digital workplace.