By Katherine Schwartz
Demand Generation Specialist
As businesses return to regular operations, coronavirus concerns continue to loom large. Masks and social distancing are still staples, and employees are still mindful of how they interact with the workplace. The transition to the new norm is ongoing, but trending in the right direction. It’s enough that some businesses have begun to welcome visitors back into their facilities. For these eager companies, the safety of their employees, facilities, and visitors rests atop a visitor management system and COVID-19 considerations.
While the core purpose of a visitor management system is to control the visitor experience, it also involves mitigating the risk of spreading COVID-19. Here’s a look at visitor management for COVID-19 and what companies can do to safely reopen their facilities to guests.
Consider the existing visitor process
From sign-in sheets to guest badging, many companies have established visitor protocols. But are they conducive to COVID-19 workplace standards? Look at the process incrementally to decide what’s compliant with current coronavirus standards and what needs changing.
For example, you might have a visitor check-in system that runs through a kiosk. It’s an effective way to limit person-to-person interaction at check-in, but there’s also a risk of surface contamination. You might introduce styluses so guests don’t use their fingers. This is a simple example of how to keep the underlying framework of a visitor management system, while altering it to be more COVID-19 friendly.
After updates to the current process, look at what’s missing. Do you have visitor screening for COVID-19? Figure out what you can add to your visitor management system to increase safety without making it feel invasive. Build in checkpoints, safeguards, and automations where possible to form a visitor management system that’s COVID-19 compliant.
Build traceability into the visitor experience
It’s easy to think of the visitor management experience as a front-facing framework. But there’s more to the process than what guests see and interact with. There’s an entire visitor management software platform that companies can leverage to make the process safer during COVID-19.
Contact tracing is the most important consideration. How do you log the movements and workplace interactions of guests in a way that promotes transparency? Build traceability into your visitor experience in a non-invasive way. Here are some examples:
- Assign visitor badges that create a roadmap of where they move within facilities
- Timestamp guest access to different areas of the facilities to log employee overlap
- Have digital check-in/out confirmations and itineraries for recordkeeping
The goal of traceability is a clear picture of where and when guests interact with facilities and employees. In the event of a positive case of COVID-19—whether from a visitor or an employee—facility managers can comb through the data to find possible exposure points. This is a must-have system for facilities opening their doors to a revolving population of visitors who may or may not follow the same standards as employees.
Create clear guidelines for guests to follow
When a guest enters your facilities, they should expect to follow your rules. A visitor management system is as much about setting standards and expectations as it is ensuring a smooth visit. During COVID-19, this means guests need to get familiar with and abide by your unique rules.
Set up a system to make guidelines clear and present for guests. For example, send an email confirmation after they book a visit that contains a quick synopsis of guidelines. These rules need to cover all important aspects of what’s expected of them, including:
- Mask and PPE usage and guidelines (ex. visitors must wear masks)
- Social distancing rules and protocols (ex. observe floor arrows)
- Personal hygiene standards (ex. handwashing)
- Facility-specific guidelines (ex. how to use workspaces)
Don’t expect visitors to know the COVID-19 policy for your workplace—even if it’s rooted in general CDC or WHO guidelines. Give your visitors clear expectations to follow and they’ll feel more comfortable abiding by them, instead of wondering what’s acceptable during their visit.
Prepare for the unprepared
Some visitors will forget their masks. Others might forget to register their entire party, resulting in more people than guest ID cards. As much as you plan for the ideal visitor management process, things are bound to go wrong at some point. Contingency planning is important. Stock extra masks. Have a process to create guest badges. Prepare for people to be unprepared.
With a good visitor management process and some careful contingency planning, companies can create COVID-19 measures with ease. Focus on touchless systems, traceability, and a controlled experience. The health of employees and visitors depends on your ability to mitigate coronavirus spread through a well-designed visitor management system. It’s an important consideration as you reopen your facilities to the broader public.
Keep reading: How to use workplace social distancing software