What is visitor management and why is it important?

Brendan O'Neil
Brendan O'Neil

As offices continue to reopen, space is something that has to be reimagined.

How do we move within a space safely?

How do we designate spaces for a hybrid workforce?

And, how do we manage visitors when occupancy numbers are as stringent as ever?

Enter, visitor management. 

What is visitor management?

Visitor management, or visitor management systems (VMS), refers to any process that helps an organization keep track of the people that visit your on-site location. Policies can vary by organization, facility type, industry, or geographic location. 

For some organizations, simply collecting the visitor’s name is sufficient, but others have higher security requirements—like badges, legal documents, employee escorts, and more. New COVID-19 rules and restrictions also need to be considered, certain security requirements may include health checkpoints or vaccination verification. 

Workplaces must be prepared to handle all of these logistics while still providing guests with an enjoyable visit and employees with the confidence to welcome their visitors. Visitor management solutions are important because they help ensure you check all the right boxes.

How can visitor management improve workplace experience?

At the end of the day, workplace leaders just want to provide the best possible office experience. Visitor management systems can get pretty complicated, fast. But here are a few simple ways implementing some type of visitor management process can benefit overall experience for guests and admins.

1. Streamlines check-in to welcome guests

As meetings, conferences, interviews, and other events that need personal interactions resume in-person attendance, you can  schedule them for a certain date so that you can proceed with these social events without worrying about overlaps and virus contraction. Additionally, any uninvited visitor can be screened for safety before being allowed entry into the premises.

A VMS makes it easy to locate a visitor’s information instantly instead of having to sift through pages of information. This makes it more difficult to fake entries, times of arrival, and departures. And, unlike collecting records manually, digital VMS can save time by efficiently analyzing and recording dates.   

2. Helps you make a good first impression

The aesthetics of your lobby and entryway are important, but how it makes people feel is what leaves a lasting impression. A visitor management system allows you to focus on the person, not the paperwork, and ensures a worry-free arrival for any guest visiting the office. Some VMS allow you to email guests in advance, so you can send directions and tips to alleviate any unneeded stress upon arrival. 

VMS also allow you to simplify the sign-in process. Hosts can receive automatic notifications when a guest arrives, reducing guest wait-time and giving you more of an opportunity to focus on the guest experience. 

3. Improves office security

VMS and visitor check-ins can improve the safety of your employees and organization in a host of ways. Traction Guest’s 2020 survey found that 92% of respondents said a VMS creates a safer environment. 

Visitor management systems are helpful when it comes to detecting who was present in the office and when. This information is useful in catching unauthorized individuals, especially in the event of a crime or security breach. And with the importance of COVID-19 spread reduction, these systems have become crucial components of the contact tracing process.

A digital visitor management system also protects the information of every visitor. This becomes incredibly important as governments around the world continue to bolster data privacy regulations (such as the GDPR and CCPA) as well as the penalties levied for breaches.  

Who counts as a visitor?

Let’s determine who actually counts as a visitor, and why they may be looking to come to your office. Visitors can be categorized as 

  • Business meeting attendees 
  • Job candidates 
  • Messengers, delivery people, mail people 
  • Contractors/vendors
  • Auditors and regulatory professionals 
  • Drop-ins (i.e family members, employees, etc.) 

In many offices, employees themselves count as visitors as many offices are operating with hybrid or entirely remote work models. Regardless of who your visitors are, it’s imperative to leave a good impression on them, and ensure that their time at your office is as seamless as possible — because the quality of their visits reflect on your overall brand. 

How to start your visitor management system

In order to get started with a visitor management system, there are a few things you need to consider for implementation. 

  • Make sure it's touchless: In the age of COVID-19, touchless is the way to go. Providing online check-ins reduces paperwork and provides an added level of cleanliness. 
  • Implement wayfinding and digital information intake: This allows building management professionals to know who is in the building, and where, at all times. This becomes important when there are capacity restrictions due to the pandemic. 
  • Make instructions for visitors: Successful VMS implementation can only happen if everyone involved has clear expectations — including the visitors. Clear instructions about masking, vaccination status, and distancing will ensure visitors know how to interact within the building. 
  • Include health checkpoints: Checkpoints are important for contact tracing and guest tracking. 
  • Send notifications: Keeping both visitors and employees apprised of visitation changes and updates is necessary for ensuring a seamless VMS. 

Visitor management for a positive guest experience

Whether a delivery person or a hybrid employee coming in for a weekly meeting, it’s important to have systems and processes in place that allow them to feel comfortable entering a building in the age of COVID-19. 

Visitor Management systems are simple and scalable, and ensure that you’re meeting the needs of diverse guests as they visit your office. Because while visitor management is about security and streamlined interactions, it's ultimately about an overall positive and safe experience for everyone that enters your building.

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