In a 2019 survey, 8 out of 10 organizations said that a visitor management system is extremely important. Over 38% of companies stated compliance as the main reason for getting a visitor management system. Furthermore, 92% of these companies agreed that a visitor management system contributes to creating a safer environment.
With offices reopening, it is not just your employees who will be returning. Visitors will start dropping in as well. So, you’ll need a visitor management system that can track employee and visitor sign-ins. Even if you previously had one, considering the changes induced by the pandemic, you may want to upgrade it.
If you are out in the market to choose a visitor management system, here’s a must-read for you. We list nine features that you cannot afford to miss.
First, What is a Visitor Management System?
If you think a visitor management system only collects your contact information before letting you in, then know that’s just one part of the process. A visitor management system does more – it tracks the usage of a building and its facilities. It keeps unwelcome and unwanted visitors at bay. Placed in the reception, it also serves as the first touchpoint for all visitors. The ideal system ensures that they have a seamless and good experience. And think of it, your lobby is the first line of defense against all kinds of threats – both COVID and non-COVID.
With hybrid workplaces becoming the norm, visitor management software becomes even more necessary. Equipped with the right features, it functions as an essential component of people management. Let’s explore these in greater detail.
Also Read: Meeting Room Management Software
9 must-have Features in a Visitor Management System
Paper-based visitor management systems are now obsolete. They help you do little else than build an irretrievable database of people. If you still use it, chuck it right away. If you have been using a seemingly sophisticated screen-based system, which again builds just a database, it may not be as helpful in a post-pandemic world.
Here are nine features that you need if you want visitor management to serve its purpose.
1. Pre-registering visitors – While this feature helped reduce queues at the reception earlier, it serves a more fundamental purpose now. It saves users time and reduces the risk of infection while waiting in line. It can also help reschedule visits based on occupancy levels at a given hour.
2. Occupancy management – Any visitor management system you choose must ensure that number of visitors does not exceed the cap set by regulatory authorities. You can do it by adopting an ‘invite first’ approach, allowing only vetted visitors. The system can alert the concerned team or even block new registrations to prevent overcrowding.
3. Health screening – A crucial aspect of visitor management is to prevent the spread of infection. Integrated with thermal scanners or other contactless temperature detection systems, a modern VMS can deny entry to certain visitors. Alternatively, by enabling pre-registering, you can send across health questionnaires to visitors. The system can allow or deny permission based on visitor responses.
4. Contact tracing – On receiving confirmation of a visitor contracting infection later, the facility managers need to act fast. To prevent infection spread, they need to track down and isolate people in proximity to the visitor. Additionally, they would also have to cordon off and disinfect spaces occupied by the visitor for a considerable duration. A modern VMS tracks a visitor’s on-site activities, helping the facilities team to act more swiftly.
5. Customized forms – If you’ve been making a courier or food delivery person fill the same form as a business vendor, then you’ve been hurting efficiencies of two businesses – your own and that of the courier. Ability to customize a form based on the purpose of the visit can help you collect necessary and meaningful information. Make sure the visitor management system has this feature.
6. Third-party integration – Working in a hybrid work environment, the visitor might need to share or present information with remote workers. The visitor management system must enable such interaction by providing the visitor required level of access to your office infrastructure. At the very least, you would not want to run around at the last minute to get Wi-Fi access for a business visitor.
7. User-friendly interface – If every second visitor needs assistance or has questions when filling a form, it defies the purpose of an automated system. So, look for software with an intuitive interface that reduces the need for manual intervention.
8. Advanced reporting capabilities – Investing in collecting visitor details serves little purpose if you cannot retrieve them and draw meaningful insights. For example, knowing if your vendor meetings are stretching too long or the wait-time of certain visitors exceeds their meeting time, you can make necessary interventions for better efficiency.
On the other hand, employee sign-in patterns could provide early signals of disengagements. It would enable the human resources team to diagnose and act on the underlying issues. Given the various purposes, a VMS must generate customized reports and automatically distribute them to the relevant stakeholders.
Bonus Read: New Work Models
9. Compliance with data and privacy regulations – An important but often overlooked aspect of visitor management is data privacy. Visitor databases of businesses are warehouses of rich information – not just individual information but also about plans and business strategies. Therefore, a modern VMS must be compliant with data residency and deletion policies at multiple levels. It must allow the client organizations to choose data they intend to capture, store, and duration to retain it.
Regardless of the type of business, the breadth of expectations of a visitor management system has increased. It serves as a critical tool that prevents health risks, improves efficiency, and ensures regulatory compliance. So, when you are out shopping for one, remember that the old checklist of features is no longer applicable.
While the above list is admittedly not exhaustive, it will help set you on the right path for finding the visitor management system that’s best for your business in a changing world.
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