A clearly laid out office visitor policy is essential to organization, security, and visitor experience within the workplace. Now in the wake of COVID-19, workplace safety and health are more important to think about when it comes to visitor entry procedures. Many are now thinking about how their facilities can manage the flow of visitors while also keeping them safe.
The specific procedures that you choose to implement will vary based on your industry. Regardless, you will want to be prepared for general visitor issues that are known to arise. We explore the ins and outs of an office visitor policy below.
What is an office visitor policy?
An office visitor policy is a clear guideline that details the rules and expectations that visitors must abide by when visiting your site. An office visitor policy does not just apply to visitors, it applies to every member of the company, no matter their seniority or job title.
Why is an office visitor policy important?
It can be difficult to ensure that everyone in your organization is educated on the standard processes for managing visitors. Having a defined policy in place will mean that nobody will be left in the dark and entry processes are clear. Such policies will also allow office managers and administrators to identify weaknesses and vulnerabilities in their security systems, helping them to find specific solutions. It will also help everyone understand the associated risks when not adhering to a visitor policy, and have a better understanding of the steps taken to prevent them.
When consistent procedures are implemented, it creates a consistent experience for everyone who visits your site. It also gives a clear reference and standard to which you and your staff can be held accountable.
Building an office visitor policy
There is no one size fits all when it comes to an office visitor policy. Different visitor types may have different entry policies assigned to them, despite entering the same site.
Some optional policies you may want to include are outlined below:
Clear check-in guidelines required from visitors
The check-in instructions for visitors should be clearly displayed at your reception or entry area. For example, you may require visitors to check in and out and display their reason for visit and entry and exit time. Your visitor policy should also outline if they are required to wait in a certain location or be distributed access credentials to your site.
Some workplaces may want to go beyond this and require certain documents or verifications to be provided by visitors before they enter site. For example, a hospital or aged care facility may require proof of vaccination, or a school may require a working with children check.
Simple instructions for delivery personnel
Like visitor check-in guidelines, your reception or entry areas should include clear guidelines for all delivery personnel to follow when they enter your site. For example, you may require couriers to sign in to a worksite and record the date and time of package delivery and have a dedicated waiting area for a staff member to greet them and retrieve the package.
Outline where visitors are allowed/not allowed
Not everyone will be allowed everywhere within your facility. Consider what areas you want protected and how you can limit these areas to certain people. For example, a cleaner may be allowed into your cleaning supply closet, but may not be permitted onto your roof like a verified contractor would be.
Also consider what visitors are permitted to be left alone, and which ones must be supervised.
What identification proof they are required to carry
Any form of required identification is key to maintain physical security and confidentiality within your facility. With this requirement, it is easy to spot anyone in the facility who is not carrying such credentials. This is especially useful in larger organisations, where it is not practical for staff to be able to identify everyone on site.
Visitors may be required to wear a physical badge or carry a digital badge on their phone. For a visitor badge to be effective, consider including a visitor photo, visitor name, visitor company, host name, visitor type and the check-in date and time. Visitors may even be required to wear high visibility vests if they are undertaking high risk works.
General office policies
General office policies revolving around everyday utilities should also be considered. As visitors may not be familiar with your workplace, or what they are entitled to, it is important to remain transparent with visitors.
- Will visitors have access to the internet?
- Where will visitors park and for how long?
- Will visitors need a key or pass to access the bathrooms?
- During what hours are certain visitors allowed on site?
- Are visitors permitted to take photographs?
- Will visitors be required to make a prior appointment before visiting site?
Set the record straight on data collection
Communicate to your visitors which data you will collect, and how it will be used. Give them peace of mind that it will be stored securely and only for organizational purposes.
Find a way to keep track of who walks in and out of your doors. This is an essential element to be able to refer back to records.
Create a safe, productive, and welcoming environment with Sine
The long list of considerations about securing a workplace and protecting your people and property may make it sound like employers need to create a fortress. But in many cases, providing a welcoming environment for visitors and providing for their safety is the primary concern.
Creating an office visitor policy requires anticipating potential threats visitors may pose to a workplace (or that the office may pose to them). But enforcing limitations is only part of the policy-making process. Once you have a thoughtful office visitor policy in place, a visitor management system like Sine can help you welcome your visitors in a way that is professional, informative, safe, and efficient.
Instead of waiting in long queues and being presented with a pile of paperwork to sign, a VMS can be a relatively innocuous mechanism for managing people without being unnecessarily exclusionary.