Any visitor who enters your facility temporarily has the potential to be both a safety and security risk. As a result, it may be wise to address visitors such as vendors, temporary workers, or even family or friends of employees in your corporate safety and security policies. It is for both the employee and visitor’s protection. A visitor may not realize that his or her actions may affect his or her safety and that of others.
A clear visitor policy is vital to the security of your employees, clients, and workplace assets. It keeps your workers safe, your equipment secure, and your confidential information, well, confidential. Of course, the nature of your visitor policy will depend on the type and size of your office. Visitor procedures at a small law firm are likely to be far different from those at a large manufacturer. But regardless of what business you’re in, there are certain issues you need to address. If you don’t have a visitor policy, now’s the time to create one. And if you do have a visitor policy, it’s always a good idea to revisit and update it periodically. Here are some tips to help you do just that.
The first step: clarify who has the authority to approve office visitors. In some cases, anyone in the staff may have the ability to authorize and admit visitors. In others, the responsibility may fall on managers or receptionists. The most important thing is to solidify who will hold that ultimate authority.
Your visitor policy should include information about which areas of the office are open to which types of visitors. For instance, conference rooms might be open to all visitors, while back offices might not. Some areas like sterilized manufacturing facilities or rooms storing confidential information may be off-limits to all non-employees. In general, some level of restricted access beyond the lobby is a common workplace practice.
Know who’s in your office at all times. A sign-in procedure often accompanied by proof of identification helps keep track of visitors. It’s also crucial for knowing who’s in your office in case of an emergency. In this case, a digital visitor log is particularly advantageous. It eliminates confidentiality risks and allows easy-to-access records for future reference.
It’s typically a good idea to make sure your visitors aren’t wandering around on their own, for both security and visitor-safety reasons. You might go a step further and set out specific responsibilities for employees escorting a visitor. For instance, an escort may be responsible for safely evacuating the visitor in case of an emergency, as well as making sure the visitor complies with company policies.
Different kinds of visitors may require different treatment. In terms of non-employees, do you want to treat friends and family differently from other visitors? How about vendors, contractors, or interviewees? You might need to consider different kinds of employees as well, such as temporary workers, contractors, former staffers, and employees who are visiting during non-working hours.
Protecting intellectual property and other confidential information is a big concern for many businesses. As such, they may have particular restrictions for visitors. Your visitor policy should specify details such as appropriate visitor use of your wi-fi network and technology, as well as any restrictions on photography and/or recording equipment if certain visitors must sign non-disclosure agreements.
Once you’ve drafted a solid visitor policy, make sure your employees are familiar with it. You don’t want to risk a security breach because someone unwittingly props open a side door or invites someone into a secure area without authorization. Training and education will ensure that all of your staff members know the right procedures, thereby minimizing security risks and helping visitor interactions run smoothly.
What should employees do if they see an unescorted visitor in a restricted area? How about if they see a fellow employee violating the visitor policy? Having a clear set of guidelines in place can help eliminate confusion and keep your office safe. Your visitor policy may also include an outline of consequences for violation.
In addition to including the elements above, there are 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 the visit go more smoothly.
Pre-registering guests ensure their details are in your system before their arrival and provide 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, 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 unauthorized individual attempts to gain access to your facilities, the appropriate personnel should be alerted so that necessary action can be taken. The simplest and most cost-effective way to implement all of these is by investing in a 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 help to 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 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 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.
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