Ask anybody who’s ever worked a reception desk—it’s a busy job. Reception staff members are always on the go, multitasking between greeting visitors, giving directions, helping employees, accepting deliveries, answering phones, and more. So it’s no surprise that reception teams have embraced visitor management systems. The people behind the desk love the workplace technology that speeds up visitor processing and notifying hosts. Visitors are impressed by the sleek and professional experience that always makes a great first impression. But is a sign-in app a worthwhile investment for your company?
To answer that question, we need to look closely into the workings of your office to see where visitor management fits in. You might be surprised to find out signing in visitors is only the tip of the iceberg of what such a system can do. Once you see all of the company goals a visitor management system can help you accomplish, you’ll realize it’s an essential component of the workplace experience.
The "wow" factor: how visitor management provides a workplace experience to remember
You don’t have to be a large, multinational corporation to look like one. A few touches here and there in the lobby can give visitors the impression you want them to have. In addition to branded content ranging from large-screen displays to strategically-placed furniture, your front-desk technology represents the level of sophistication and professionalism of your product.
Simply checking in using an iPad doesn’t necessarily achieve all of that. It’s what happens next that counts. What if, for example, before the appointment, your visitors receive an automated email that provides them with a secure, temporary wi-fi credential they can use the minute they walk in? Suppose your guest has been to the office before, and upon signing in, the system remembers them and pulls up a previous photo to add to the badge that’s automatically printed out?
The messaging there is far from subtle: this is not only a company with a finger on the pulse of workplace technology, but it’s also a company that cares about people.
Workplace technology keeps those productivity plates spinning
If you work at a busy company, you know that balancing everything you need to do each day is like a spinning-plates act. You have so much going on, and you can’t let anything drop. So the last thing you need is more distractions or interruptions to disturb your productivity. Visitor management helps keep you on track. When guests arrive, the system alerts you––and since it’s digital, wherever you are––to let you know. If you’re in the middle of something, you can continue your thought process and meet your guests when you’re finished. Or, you can message the front desk that you’ll be there in a few minutes so the reception staff can keep your guest updated.
It’s impossible to overestimate the value of staying "in the moment" with your deep work while dealing with interruptions all day. A recent study at the University of California, Irvine showed that the average office worker takes 25 minutes to get back in the groove after an interruption. The study also found that workers can expect interruptions roughly every 11 minutes. The conclusion is obvious: the more you can help employees stay focused, the more productive they can be. A sign-in app is a hidden boon for productivity, making the workplace experience better for employees, guests, and the company as a whole.
Thinking outside the box about delivery management
Meanwhile, back at the front desk, the staff deals with a lot more than visitors. When deliveries arrive, it often falls to the reception staff to ensure that packages get to the right employees. More and more, the parcels that come into the office for employees aren’t work-related; they’re personal online purchases. Employees rely on it as an employee benefit; it’s a valued component of their workplace experience. They aren’t home to pick up or sign for packages, they don’t have time to stop by pick-up sites, and doorstep package theft is becoming an enormous problem all over the world.
Visitor management helps solve this issue, too. When packages arrive, all the front office staff needs to do is snap a picture of the shipping label, and the system notifies the employee that their delivery is available. Automating the process turns a job that can take hours into a quick task accomplished in seconds.
A new sense of purpose for employees
The new generation of employees entering the workforce have a desire for fulfillment and purpose in their work life. It’s up to companies to find ways to add value to employees’ jobs. Companies are finding the answers in an unexpected source: visitor management. Automating visitor and package notification reduces tasks to mere seconds and frees up staff to tackle other projects that may have been dormant for months or even years. Suddenly, a receptionist can become a visitor experience manager, catering supervisor, workplace experience coordinator, or other creative positions that allow receptionists to use their talents and make significant contributions to the company.
Ensuring a secure environment
You might not think about it often, but your front-desk staff is your first-line defense against security threats coming in the front door. They must be vigilant that those who shouldn’t get in are stopped, and that people don’t wander past the front desk without checking in. Receptionists also often tasked with ensuring legal paperwork, such as an NDA that protects the company, is signed and stored––not an easy job, Here’s where a sign-in app offers even more value.
As we’ve seen, sign-in apps do a lot more than, well, signing people in. We’ve reviewed examples of productivity, deliveries, creating a positive and branded first impression. But one of the most compelling uses for visitor management is security.
With built-in, customizable block lists, and access federal and international watchlists, receptionists can scan IDs and receive discreet messages if a visitor shouldn’t pass further. It’s even possible to pre-check guests and get them approved for entry before the visit, using automated email and text. Other vital steps you can perform in advance include liability forms, and publicity releases your company may require. Visitor management solutions send these documents before the visit, and they can be returned for countersignature before the visitor ever arrives.
So many compliance details, so little time
In an audit, companies must be ready with countless records that prove they followed personal data privacy laws. They must show that they were able to keep sensitive information secure and that they can account for every visitor who came in the door. Replacing paper logbooks with a visitor management system ensures that names, addresses, and other personal information isn’t visible to everyone and that the data can’t be lost, damaged, or stolen. With no extra effort from the front desk staff, you get:
- A complete accounting of every visitor
- Verified visitor IDs
- A record of who they were there to see
- An accurate depiction of the length of their stay
- The purpose of their visit
That’s valuable information to have at your fingertips at audit time.
The future of the workplace is here
Automating tedious yet incredibly vital tasks is just one part of the workplace of the future. Visionaries and futurists see the office of tomorrow providing a highly-personalized experience for every employee. Honoring individuals’ unique needs with equality is becoming a goal for companies around the world. The sign-in app is proving itself to be an essential part of the workplace transformation. After all, everyone knows that real change begins at the front door.
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