10 Reasons Why You Need a Visitor Management System

What is visitor management?

Visitor management is defined as the practice of welcoming, identifying and tracking guests at worksites, schools or other facilities. A visitor management system might be a simple visitor log book, a visitor touchscreen check-in or a software system that can be integrated with physical access control such as surveillance cameras and biometric scanners. Whatever system suits you, there are some compelling reasons why you need to know who’s in your building at any one time.

1. Improve access control and site security

A formal visitor check in system and a designated point of entry/exit work hand in hand with access control to improve overall site security. Investing in a visitor management system which issues a personalised, dated visitor pass shows your organisation takes site security seriously. When teamed with Staff ID badges it becomes much easier to spot an intruder, especially if staff are educated that security is their responsibility and it is not impolite to challenge anyone who does not display a valid badge.

2. Give a great first impression

Usually the reception area is one of the first experiences a visitor will have of your company or school... remember your visitor could be a customer, parent or key stakeholder. You only have one chance to make a good first impression and a professional visitor management system is a key part of a positive visitor experience.

3. Beef up your brand

It’s also a chance to enhance brand identity; by including your logos and colour scheme in the visitor pass design or welcome check-in screens you are projecting a strong, consistent image. The visitor management system itself should be a credit to your company. A paper visitor pass book should be well presented, robust and durable enough for frequent use and a visitor touchscreen should be designed for continual operation in demanding environments.

4. Help busy admin staff

Whether you are looking at a visitor book or touchscreen, both systems streamline the signing in process and taking pressure off a busy receptionist or security guard. You don’t want your reception to become a bottleneck where attending staff are too rushed to make people feel welcome with a personal greeting. Both systems give visitors a uniform set of information to complete thus standardising the data capture process.

5. Create a fire list in case of evacuation

A dedicated visitor book or visitor check in software provides a fire list in an emergency evacuation. Both systems provide an accurate roll call for the fire marshal to check whether all staff and visitors have safely left the building.

6. Date your visitor passes

A dedicated visitor management system should issue a clearly dated pass which will expire and advise visitors to return their pass at the end of their visit, discouraging forgery and future unauthorised access.

7. Create an historic record

Do you know how many visitors are in your building right now?... how about yesterday?... how about 23rd July 2011? There are many situations where a company or school may need an accurate historic record of who was on site over a specific time period. For example, a food processing plant might need to identify a contamination source, or a school might want to investigate a safeguarding issue.

8. The Health & Safety at Work Act 1974

Under regulation 3 of the HASAWA there is a legal duty of care towards staff and visitors

(3) In such cases as may be prescribed, it shall be the duty of every employer to give to persons (not being his employees) who may be affected by the way in which he conducts his undertaking the prescribed information about such aspects of the way in which he conducts his undertaking as might affect their health or safety.

A good visitor management system will communicate any important site H&S information to visitors and collect an acknowledgement that they have read and understood this information.

9. ...and don’t forget about contractors!

If visitors represent a potential risk to your site security, contractors are an even bigger concern as they can be accessing restricted areas, working at height or working with electricity/hazardous substances. Leaving a contractor to "just get on with it" isn't an option so you need a contractor management system which lets you track where they are, what they are working on, understand the risks and exchange important information about your health and safety procedures.

10. GDPR isn’t an excuse not to have something in place

When GDPR was first introduced there was a lot of confusion over the situation with visitor sign in and data privacy. There was a potential issue that the personal details collected in a visitor book were effectively on display to anyone in reception and therefore not GDPR compliant. Some electronic visitor management providers were happy to encourage the myth that the only option was to abandon the visitor book in favour of a touchscreen-based system.

However, a good visitor pass book will include a discreet sheet which protects the privacy of the people who have already signed in. So, whether you prefer a paper pass or visitor touchscreen, there will be a GDPR safe visitor management system out there for you.

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