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How to upgrade your visitor safety policy for 2021

2020 is over. What a doozy. While we still don’t know what the workplace will look like throughout 2021, the new year is the perfect time to review your visitor safety policy. Especially as we are all eager to see each other in-person to meet and collaborate. Your workplace may not be accepting many visitors today, but with the COVID-19 vaccine rolling out across the world, this is soon to change. 

To get prepared, you should rethink your entire visitor experience. This includes who you invite, how they’re invited, how they enter the building, and how they stay safe and have a great experience while on-site. Workplace safety has new meaning after a year like 2020. Not only for employees, but for visitors as well. Now is the time to upgrade your visitor safety policy for 2021.

Adopt an invite-only so you know who to expect and when

Crafting a safe visitor policy starts well before your guest arrives. You have to know who is coming on-site in advance so your team can take the necessary precautions to make sure everyone stays safe and healthy. Many businesses are adopting an invite-only policy to ensure that they know who to expect each day.

Start by defining your visitor types and access timelines. For instance, you might already have contractors and service personnel onsite, but you’re waiting until later in the year to welcome customers and employee guests like family members. If you created a comprehensive workplace reopening plan for your employees, then you already have a good foundation for your visitor policy.

By using a visitor management system, your team can prepare for every visitor, before anyone enters your workplace. As soon as you know you’re expecting a visitor to come, register them through your visitor management system. With Envoy, you can make this process automatic. When you integrate with your Google or Outlook calendar, we’ll automatically pre-register visitors in Envoy when you invite them on-site.

Learn more about how to create invites with Envoy.

Collect the information you need from visitors before they arrive

Another benefit of an invite-only visitor policy is the ability to collect important information from visitors in a timely manner. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that companies perform daily health checks for anyone coming into the workplace. Companies are embracing this advice and rolling out health questionnaires for their employees and external guests. 

Here are four questions to consider adding to your health questionnaire:

  1. In the past two weeks, have you had any COVID-19 symptoms?
  2. Have you had close contact with anyone with a confirmed or probable case of COVID-19?
  3. Do you agree to follow [company]’s COVID-19 precautions to help prevent the spread of COVID-19?
  4. Is it business-critical that you come on-site or can you conduct your work virtually?

With Envoy, you can feel confident that visitors’ responses to your health questions represent their current status. When you enable near visit registration in your Visitors settings, guests can register 24 hours before their arrival and no earlier. 

Ensure visitors meet your criteria to come on-site with rules

Collecting the information is good, but it’s what you do with it that matters. Use rules to set up an automatic workflow based on someone’s responses to your registration questions. Deny entry to visitors who respond “Yes” to the question “Have you had any COVID-19 symptoms?” for instance, and automatically notify your team to take action. 

Envoy takes privacy seriously, especially when it comes to personal health information. With Visitors, you can control which responses to your visitor sign-in and health check you retain or keep private. Save the information your team needs to plan ahead such as what time they plan to arrive or if they will be eating lunch. Discard the information that should stay private, such as personal health information. 

Do security checks the welcoming way

Health questionnaires are great to screen for COVID, but you’ll need extra security measures in place to keep unwanted guests out of your workplace. With the Visitors blocklist feature, you can set a list of known bad characters and banned guests to keep out of your workplace. All visitor screening and security alerts happen instantly and discreetly in the background. We’ll send you a notification if guests don’t meet your criteria to come on-site so you can take action. Your visitors feel welcomed and you keep your office safe. 

Prevent the workplace from getting too crowded

Now that many local health authorities require that workplaces keep a low occupancy, it’s important to monitor how many people enter and prevent the workplace from getting too crowded. With Envoy Protect, you can set the maximum capacity for a location and Envoy will prevent additional people from signing in. Envoy will notify you once you’re nearing capacity, so you can take proactive steps to ensure guests can start their meeting on-time and keep a safe distance during their visit.

Clearly communicate your safety protocols to all visitors

Once a visitor is approved to come on-site, send them the information they need for their visit ahead of time. This could include things like:

  • What health and safety protocols you have in place
  • How to use touchless sign-in via their phone 
  • How to enter the building safely
  • What to expect when they reach the lobby
  • How to access guest Wi-Fi

Consider including information about your employee protocols as well so visitors know they’ll stay safe while in the building. If you use Envoy Protect to screen employees and ensure that everyone entering your space is healthy, this will make visitors feel more confident about coming on-site.

Automatically grant building access to approved visitors

In addition to sending key arrival info to visitors, you can also provide effortless access to your workplace by integrating with your building’s access control system. When you sync Envoy with your access control provider, you can help visitors navigate through security checkpoints with ease by issuing a QR code or other mobile-based access key. 

You customize what level of building access your guests need directly in Envoy. When they sign-in using Visitors, we’ll automatically grant them the right permissions to your space.

Ditch the kiosk for touchless sign-in

Once visitors reach your lobby, create a touchless sign-in experience for everyone entering your space. Visitors can use their phone to register and sign in when they arrive, so there’s no need to touch shared surfaces. Visitors who don’t register in advance can scan a QR code on the iPad and complete your sign-in from their personal device. 

Here are some additional steps to take to update your front desk practices and nail the touchless experience:

  • Post clear signage at the front desk so people know what to do when they arrive
  • Allow people to check-in using their personal device rather than an iPad kiosk
  • Put a bottle of hand sanitizer next to your kiosk if you do need to use it
  • Update your settings so guests don’t have to tap to take their photo when they arrive
  • Create a welcome guide and customize it by employee or visitor type to make sure everyone has the information they need
  • Make your badge printer easily accessible to guests 
  • Update your hospitality practices. Instead of having a receptionist hand a guest a drink, make personal beverages available to grab without hand-to-hand contact
  • Set up your final screen to give instructions to guests about what to do next, like where to go or where to wait for their host
  • Opt for a sign-in system that notifies your employees automatically when their visitors arrive

Stay flexible and update your visitor policy as things change

2021 still comes with its unknowns. Who’s to say what the workplace will look like a few months from now? So while upgrading your visitor policy now is important, it’s also good to remember to stay flexible as things change. Set a cadence to revisit your visitor policy each quarter to reevaluate where your business is and update your policy as needed.

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