Visitor Management: What is it and why is it important?
Today, it’s more important than ever to know who’s coming to visit your workplace. Visitor management can make this easier, but you might not be sure how it works in practice. Read on to get an overview of visitor management, and what it offers today’s organisations.
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What is visitor management?
As the phrase suggests, visitor management is the practice of tracking who’s coming and going from your premises. It also enables you to allow or deny access to visitors as the situation requires, for whatever reason the situation demands.
Visitor management applies to many different people who come to your premises. Business meetings are one of the most obvious uses. You can schedule a time for visitors to arrive, and then inform their host when the visitors actually arrives. However, its uses are also much broader. It covers people coming for job interviews, deliveries, and people coming in for contractual or regulatory purposes. It even helps manage unexpected visitors.
In the wake of today’s health concerns, some businesses have applied the principles of visitor management to their own employees too. This ensures that everyone can work as safely as possible.
How does visitor management work?
The specifics vary depending on your own requirements. Early forms of visitor management used simpler, pen-and-paper sign-in options. While these may be used today, these don’t accurately track staff movements on or off your premises. If someone has illegible handwriting, this can lead to confusing or awkward situations. There are also privacy concerns (because you can see other people’s names and contact details) and they have broader impacts on the visitor’s experience of your business.
Modern-day visitor management systems use some kind of digital component. A visitor might sign in on a computer or tablet, which is connected to on-site hardware or a cloud-based system. These systems can also print out visitor badges (great for easy identification) and track visitor numbers with far greater accuracy than older systems. In educational settings visitor management systems can even track DBS checks, including their expiry dates.
Why is visitor management important?
It’s vital that modern-day organisations are able to control who’s coming onto their premises. Today, there are obvious health concerns—if someone is particularly infectious, denying them access (or capping onsite staff numbers) ensures the safety of the workforce more broadly.
Of course, there are other safety considerations. If an organisation works with children, it’s important that visitors don’t pose a threat to their wellbeing. If the organisation needs to evacuate (in the event of a fire, for example) the management system gives an accurate picture of who’s onsite.
While safety is the primary consideration, visitor management also has a big impact on visitor perception. A digital sign-in system doesn’t just track visitor movements; it makes your organisation seem more competent and modern as well. It ensures receptionists aren’t bogged down with pointless tasks, helps other staff prepare for meetings more easily, and helps things run more smoothly overall.
A positive first impression has a significant impact on business prospects and many other considerations. As such, it’s definitely something worth considering for your own organisation.
Who is in charge of visitor management?
Visitor management is often a concern for multiple staff members. Your reception staff will have a great deal of control over who enters the premises; they can welcome scheduled visitors, but also deny uninvited ones should the need arise. They may also need to facilitate detailed data collection from your visitors (though most of this can be done without the input of reception staff).
Naturally, though, visitor management is shaped by other concerns. Business meetings, interviews, special occasions and so on will determine who actually visits—these are things your management team will look at. Your IT staff may have a hand in tasks like managing or deleting user data, or detail repair and maintenance issues. If you’re dealing with highly sensitive information, your legal department may share some advice on the sign-in process—if you need visitors to sign legal documents or site policies, for instance.
What are visitor management techniques?
The important first step is to think about what your visitor management system will look like. You’ll probably want a digital solution, but you’ll have to think about whether on-site or cloud-based systems are right for you.
Beyond that, you need to think about how you balance the visitor experience with the requirements of your business. Consider what happens when someone comes onto your premises. Do they know where to go and what to do? Do your visitors have to wait around a long time to be granted entry? Digital systems can streamline much of the process. But are these easy to find? Is help available if visitors need it? How does the host know their visitors have arrived?
While these questions apply to most organisations that need to manage visitors, other concerns will be unique to you. You might need visitors to fill out NDAs or other forms. You might want people to wear visible IDs, which sign-in systems can provide. Are these tasks intuitive, or are they difficult and time consuming? Streamlining the visit is a essential component of good visitor management.
Don’t forget that all visitor management systems need a human element. Whether it’s a friendly receptionist on hand to deal with queries or a prompt greeting from the relevant staff member, your systems should aid the people on your premises—not the other way round.
Should you have a visitor management system?
Managing the visitors that come to your organisation is worth formalising with a sign in system. It has obvious safety and logistical benefits, but it also boosts the image of your organisation more generally.
By offering a streamlined, easy to use sign-in system, you’ll ensure your organisation can work in a safe, straightforward manner.
Ready to get started with visitor management?
You can learn more about InVentry’s market leading visitor management system here. Or if you would like to see the InVentry system in action click the button below to a book a demo.