A workplace visitor policy ensures everyone who comes to your office has a consistent experience, no matter who they’re coming to see. It also clarifies expectations for your employees.
You may not think you need a workplace visitor policy in writing, but if you don’t have one, you’re (literally) opening the door for confusion and misunderstanding to arise. You might even be putting your employees at risk.
A workplace visitor policy outlines the rules for allowing access for different types of guests to your facilities and is an essential part of effective workplace security. It helps ensure the safety of your employees, assets, property (both physical and intellectual), data and visitors themselves by decreasing the risk of theft, violence and injury.
Explain what the policy is and why it exists.
For example, “Our workplace visitor policy defines the rules for receiving guests at our company. The purpose of this policy is to protect the safety and security of our employees, visitors, and property and to ensure only authorized personnel have access to our facilities.”
List the individuals to whom this policy applies.
Are all employees subject to the policy or only full-time, on-site personnel? Are there different rules for contract employees or remote employees who are temporarily working in the office? What about employees visiting from other company locations? Be sure to define the specific rules for various types of visitors — ex., clients, contractors, vendors, service providers (such as caterers) and family members of employees.
Describe the check-in process.
For example, “Upon arrival, all guests must sign in with the front desk receptionist. This includes providing their name, contact information, reason for visit and the name of the employee(s) they are visiting. Every visitor will receive a guest badge, which must be worn at all times.”
Establish any specific privacy guidelines guests must follow while at your facilities.
For example, “Visitors must sign a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) before entering the facilities. In addition, all guests must be accompanied by the employee(s) with whom they are meeting for the duration of their stay. Visitors may not take photographs or video recordings while on the premises unless given explicit permission to do so.”
Define the level of access visitors will have to your company’s network.
Is there a guest Wi-Fi, or can they connect to your company’s own wireless network? Are they allowed to connect personal devices or only their work devices?
Outline the process for receiving deliveries.
For example, “All mail and packages are to be delivered to the front desk receptionist. The front desk receptionist is responsible for checking in the delivery and has permission to sign for all deliveries unless an employee has explicitly stated otherwise. If the front desk is unoccupied and the package does not require a signature, the courier may leave the package in the designated area.”
List the spaces where visitors are always allowed, sometimes allowed and never allowed.
For example, access to server rooms and data centers is expressly forbidden for most non-employees. However, exceptions will be made in certain situations, such as when the company has hired a third-party IT specialist to assist with a technology-related issue. Visitor access restrictions would also include visits from employees during non-work hours. Your workplace visitor policy should clarify whether employees have to receive special permission to be on premises at night or on the weekends.
Describe the process for handling unapproved visitors.
What steps should employees take if they see a visitor in a restricted area unaccompanied by an employee? Or if they encounter a visitor who isn’t wearing a guest badge? Should they address the visitor directly or alert security personnel? What should an employee do in the event they see a colleague violating the rules? It’s important to clearly define the responsibilities of employees in regard to the workplace visitor policy to avoid situations where a small issue escalates into a major incident.
The most crucial step of creating a workplace visitor policy is to make sure every employee understands it. Include a review of the policy in your new employee onboarding process. Have supervisors go over the policy with their team at least once a year. This will not only help minimize security risks but also ensure a consistently positive visitor experience.
In addition to including the elements above, there are three things you can incorporate into your workplace visitor policy to make it even better.
Whether you’re hosting a large company event or simply hosting a client for an annual on-site visit, pre-registration helps make the visit go more smoothly.
Pre-registering guests ensures their details are in your system prior to their arrival and provides them with important information, such as directions to the office and check-in instructions.
Guests also receive a QR code via email that they can scan when they get to your facilities to expedite check-in. Pre-registration supports a more streamlined check-in process and helps you set visitor expectations.
Like pre-registration, self-service check-in is an excellent idea whether you’re expecting one guest or a hundred.
With self-service check-in, visitors can use a kiosk to register instead of having to wait for the front desk admin to be available. They can sign any required documentation (such as a waiver or NDA) and print their photo ID badge.
Once registration is complete, the appropriate employee(s) are notified via email, Slack or push notification on their mobile device.
Part of an effective workplace visitor policy is knowing how to handle an unauthorized guest. Part of an exceptional workplace visitor policy is preventing unwanted guests from ever making it past the lobby by using a security watchlist cross-check.
When a visitor checks in, their name should automatically be cross-referenced with your security watchlist. If an unauthorized individual attempts to gain access to your facilities, the appropriate personnel should be alerted so appropriate action can be taken.
The simplest and most cost-effective way to implement all of these is by investing in visitor management system.
Visitor management software supports a safer and more productive work environment. It allows you to keep track of who is on company premises at all times and maintain a secure digital record of past visits, which can be extremely beneficial if an incident does occur. Most importantly, visitor management software helps you protect your organization’s most valuable asset: your employees.
While the primary purpose of a workplace visitor policy is to keep your workplace secure, remember that you also want guests to feel welcome when they arrive. They should be greeted promptly by a front desk admin and when the front desk is unoccupied, it should be clear what they need to do to check in. Your organization should commit to making sure every impression (not just the first) is a great one.
See how our visitor management software improves security and creates a great first impression from the start. Request a live demo today.
Tiffany covers leadership and marketing topics and enjoys learning about how technology shapes our industry. Before iOFFICE, she worked in local news but don't hold that against her.