One of the best parts of being back in an office is being able to connect with teammates in real life again and rebuild community with those you work with. And a workplace community means so much more than having lunch buddies in the kitchen or project team members to work with. A workplace community drives a larger sense of belonging and purpose towards a shared goal. According to a report by BetterUp, a sense of belonging among employees can lead to a 56% increase in job performance and a 50% decrease in the risk of employee turnover.But who actually makes up a workplace community? Here’s a clue: it’s not just the employees. It’s also all the guests that visit your offices throughout the week. Whether you have daily guests like caterers, vendors, and delivery staff, one-off visits from clients coming in for a quarterly meeting, or job candidates touring their future office, every visitor is an important piece of your workplace community. Let’s walk through nine ways visitors drive community in the workplace, among other benefits.
9 ways your workplace community can benefit from visitors
1. Creates long-term connections with customers
While Zoom video calls are powerful for introducing your company and your products to prospective customers, on-site experiences are essential in driving more personal connections and ultimately, closing deals. According to HubSpot, the close rate for in-person sales meetings is 40%. By providing a physical space for your sales or customer success teams to meet with customers, your business can further develop long-term connections and relationships with important business partners. For example, if a sales member is able to bring a prospective client into the office, take them for lunch, and spend quality time understanding their pain points, they may be better able to secure a deal. Inviting long-time clients on-site helps show gratitude and a commitment to partnership. And inviting newer clients or prospects on-site can help show dedication and investment in your client’s success.
2. Allows investors to assess your business
Along with being able to invite customers on-site, opening your doors to visitors also allows you to create great experiences for investors and board members. Investors want to see how well your company is doing and what the culture of your workplace is. Seeing the buzz of an office space or watching teams solve problems can help a potential investor paint a larger picture of your business. Plus, your executive teams will be able to lead important presentations and conversations in person if their guests are also on-site.
3. Builds your public reputation
First impressions are everything. Research shows that it only takes 27 seconds for someone to form an impression about you, your business, your trustworthiness, and more. Inviting visitors to your workplace allows you to create a first impression that can drive brand awareness, interest from prospective candidates, and future opportunities with business partners or clients. Chances are if someone has a great first impression of your business and a great experience as a visitor, they’ll share that experience within their network. And like wildfire, your business rep can spread and open doors for new opportunities.You can make sure you create a positive first impression by using a seamless visitor registration software and customizing the experience depending on your visitor. But more on that later.
4. Helps you build a company brand
A workplace lobby is the first look into a company’s brand. It’s like the homepage of a website. Visitors can gather a lot of information about a company’s values, goals, and culture just by their experience in the lobby.Through the physical elements of the lobby, the tools your visitors use to sign-in, and the available beverages or snacks, you can create a memorable brand experience. Allowing visitors to come on-site allows you to plan for how to present your company externally and assess whether your visitors are resonating with it. By iterating on that experience and gathering feedback from visitors, you can continuously improve your company’s brand.
5. Attracts talent
Your company culture and physical office space can be a key recruitment tool to attract and retain qualified candidates. According to The Future of Work 2022 report by Monster, 81% of companies think that in-person recruiting is better than virtual recruitment.The in-person experience of touring an office and meeting with team members can be what ultimately makes a candidate sign an offer. It also helps your HR and recruiting teams ensure that this person is a good fit for the team they’re joining. Making sure that you have a great visitor experience for candidates can go a long way in drawing the best talent to your business.
6. Improves the employee experience
Being back in the office means you might miss your family and loved ones a bit more. Especially if you got used to spending a lot of time with them at home. Allowing employees to invite their family and friends to the office for visits can be exciting and memorable for them. They’ll be able to share their work experience with their loved ones, brag about their variety of office snacks, and introduce them to their company culture. This can help improve the employee’s experience by better allowing them to blend some of their personal and work life in a new way. Being able to merge personal and work communities helps foster an even stronger workplace culture and sense of belonging.
7. Keeps your workplace running smoothly
A workplace runs smoothly when there are enough supplies, snacks, and equipment for employees. Who takes care of all of this? It’s your visitors! The delivery staff, caterers, supply vendors, mechanics, maintenance workers and more are the ones who make sure the workplace has what it needs to get through the day.This group of people is essential in helping workplace managers create a workplace that people love. By inviting these groups on-site and diversifying the enormous task of running a workplace, you are able to better support your workplace management teams and create a more fluid workplace experience. The interactions between employees and food caterers, or between workplace managers and delivery staff, further strengthen that sense of togetherness and workplace community.
8. Helps you improve your security practices
A not-so-obvious benefit of having visitors on-site is that it forces you to make sure your security practices are top-tier. Uninvited guests can pose a threat to your workplace and your employees. So by investing in a visitor management tool that requires visitors to submit identification, allows them to sign non-disclosure agreements, verifies health and vaccination status, and tracks their time in and out of the office, you can make sure your workplace has a strong pulse on the happenings of the office. If your workplace regularly welcomes visitors, you can use that as an opportunity to continuously review, improve, and update your security practices.
9. Drives belonging and inclusivity
Diversity, inclusivity, and belonging are important pieces of building a great workplace culture. According to a study by Better Up, the feeling of belonging is a close cousin to many related experiences such as mattering, identification, and social connection. Aside from the socializing employees do with each other at work, social connections with visitors can also drive a meaningful sense of belonging. Different visitors bring their own unique backgrounds to the workplace. They come from different industries, have varying job positions, have different cultural or socio-economic backgrounds, and bring their own perspectives to the workplace culture. Cultivating an inclusive space by allowing visitors to be a part of a community helps instill the idea that employees and visitors alike can be themselves, connect with each other, and all belong to a shared workplace community.—A great visitor experience helps you build your brand, improve the employee experience, grow your business, and strengthen your workplace community. By opening the doors of your workplace up to the world, you actually foster a more intimate sense of human connection. And it’s those human connections that create strong workplaces.