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Health questionnaires: why you need them and how technology can help

One of the most common places people pick up contagious illnesses is at work. The constant flow of people coming and going. The long hours spent around coworkers. The shared amenities and small workstations. Normally, it’s a common cold or flu season to worry about. But with COVID-19, it’s never been more important to keep employees and visitors in your workplace safe. The best way to do this is for sick people to stay home. But how can you make sure the people entering your building are healthy? 

The solution: Workplace health questionnaires

One of the best ways to know if someone is feeling ill? Ask them! Pre-screening employees and visitors is a cost-effective way to know they are in good health. You can use questionnaires, temperature checks, and health waivers to pre-screen people who want to come on-site. 

These health screening tools are a great way to identify anyone who should stay home. But keeping that information organized and protected could get messy, especially if you have a larger building or lots of employees. You’ll want to make sure your screening procedures are easy to complete, and easy to manage. With the help of technology, you can automatically add a health questionnaire into your registration process and require that employees and visitors complete it before giving them access to your building. Learn which tools can help you navigate a safer return to work, and how to implement them for your building.

Step 1: Reevaluate your check-in procedures

Before you welcome back employees and visitors to your workplace, look at your current office check-in process. Things will likely need to change from what you had set up before the pandemic. Ditching pen and paper sign-in sheets, adding health questionnaires, and requiring pre-registration are all recommended as part of a safe check-in procedure. Here’s how to know what your building needs.  

When planning your health screening strategy, you should ask yourself the following questions:

  • How many people should you allow on-site at one time?
  • How often will people need access to the building?
  • How often should people complete a workplace health questionnaire?
  • How will you accommodate visitors and guests?
  • What types of screening technology does your budget allow for?

If you only have a handful of people coming into the office, you may not need to make radical changes to your check-in process. But if you have a larger staff, it can be harder to keep track of who is coming to the office when—and if it’s safe for them to be there. To make sure staff are cleared to return to the workplace, employees should complete a questionnaire each day before coming in. With a staggered shift approach, only employees scheduled to come in that day would need to go through the screening process. 

When planning for visitors to come into your space, there are more factors to consider. You’ll need to communicate the new procedures ahead of time, plus have a way to ensure visitors complete their screening before arriving. If visitors previously checked-in at reception, you should update the process to eliminate the face-to-face interaction. 

Keeping the process organized and easy is key to enforcing workplace health questionnaires. Next, you’ll want to look for solutions to help you automate this new process.

Step 2: Implement a tool that does the work for you 

Automating your check-in processes is much easier with a digital platform. Employee registration and visitor management systems can give you the tools you need to manage everyone coming through your door—even better if the two systems work together seamlessly. 

There are a lot of benefits to using software for your COVID-19 check-in procedures. Digital forms are much easier to manage, as you can send, complete, and view them from any device. No more stacks of paper or manually logging information. Digital platforms also improve data security. Choose software that meets strict compliance standards, and uses encrypted communication to protect personal information.

Another benefit is that digital platforms enable touchless check-in. With no need for face-to-face interactions, you can move to remote reception. People only need their phone to complete the digital health questionnaire. This way you can remove communal touchpoints like kiosks or sign-in sheets.

To create your COVID-19 digital health screening process, decide which questions you want people to answer to help you determine if it’s safe for them to come in. You should also consider if you want them to complete a temperature check at home as part of the process. Some example questions from the CDC for your health questionnaire include:

  • Have you been in close contact with a person diagnosed with coronavirus?
  • Do you have a fever greater than 100.4°?
  • Are you showing any symptoms of COVID-19 (cough, sore throat, shortness of breath)?
  • If you were previously diagnosed with COVID-19, has it been at least 10 days since showing symptoms, or have you been cleared by a doctor?

When an employee registers to come into the office or if you pre-register a visitor, they’ll automatically receive their health questionnaire to complete before arriving. This way you can make sure that everyone who is approved to come to the office is healthy. If someone answers a question unfavorably and might post a risk, you can deny their entry and follow up with next steps. 

Step 3: Use access control to enforce the results 

Once you set criteria for who is allowed onsite, you can layer in extra security by connecting your access control system so only healthy individuals can badge into your workplace. For the best way to automate and enforce your health screening, use a cloud-based, mobile access control system. Platforms with open API architecture make integrations seamless and fast to deploy. 

One reason for using mobile credentials in this scenario is that it’s one of the most common types of touchless technology in the workplace. An employee or visitor can do the entire check-in process on their phone. Then, the same device gets them through the door. Your visitor just waves their hand in front of the reader to get in—completely touchless from start to finish. 

Mobile credentials are also more convenient than badges or keycards. With a digital process, your employees and visitors don’t need to remember anything else when they come to the office. Plus, you avoid having to hand out shared visitor passes.

A mobile access control integration can also enforce your new procedures without any additional legwork for you. It works by associating the completed health questionnaire with an employee’s mobile credentials. Like an extra authorization step, if the form isn’t completed, they won’t be able to enter the building. Instead of confirming each individual verification form, let your access control provider do it for you.

Cloud-based access control also gives you real-time information on who’s entering and exiting the building. This is a necessary element for better building security and helps you prevent unwanted intrusions. The detailed reporting also enables you to enforce social distancing at work through capacity management. By knowing how many people are at the office, you can make sure there’s enough room for everyone to keep a safe distance.

Other considerations: on-site temperature screenings

Many businesses are also incorporating on-premise temperature screenings for their COVID-19 safety protocols. Before jumping on the bandwagon, there are some key factors to consider with this technology. 

First, consider if your budget allows for temperature scanning technology. Thermal scanning cameras come at a premium. Top-of-the-line equipment can be expensive. Make sure your security budget is flexible enough to cover the hardware, installation, and maintenance costs. 

In order for the system to function, you need a safe space to set up the scans. In some larger buildings, this could create a bottleneck at your main entrance points. Remember, social distancing is important in preventing the spread of COVID-19. Large groups of people waiting for a scan could increase risk.

If on-site temperature screenings are important to your COVID-19 safety strategy, the right technology is key. Look for thermal cameras and scanners that are interoperable. Connecting your existing security infrastructure can reduce the strain on your operations teams. Some thermal cameras can integrate with access control and digital check-ins, for example. This allows you to manage the entire process from one platform. 

Best practices & key takeaways

Using technology to create a safer building is a smart, essential part of reopening during COVID-19. Combining a digital check-in process with mobile access control can streamline your return to work. This integration enables businesses to automate their workplace health questionnaires:  

  • Allowing you to adjust on the fly. Easily change your questionnaires or require additional steps in your check-in process.
  • Reducing administrative burden. Remote access to your cloud-based, digital platform makes management easy and convenient.
  • Creating a touchless experience that’s easy to implement. Interoperable software and hands-free access mean a safer, healthier building.
  • Improving the visitor experience. Digital health questionnaires are convenient and easy to use. Plus, touchless access control is convenient and germ-free.

Integrated technology solutions

When it comes to employee registration and visitor management, you want to choose software that’s easy to use and easy to manage. Envoy does both, while also providing the safety features you need. Easily create and automate custom health questionnaires and manage access requests. Admins have the flexibility to choose the timing and frequency of digital health questionnaires in the Envoy interface. 

As the leading provider of touchless mobile access control, Openpath is a top choice for a hands-free experience. Plus, the cloud-based platform is completely open and seamlessly integrates with Envoy. After someone is approved to come to the office via Envoy, you can automatically authorize their credentials for entry through Openpath. Getting into the building is completely touchless from start to finish.

Together, Envoy and Openpath offer a convenient way to ensure that everyone coming into your workplace is healthy. This integration is a powerful return-to-work technology solution that creates a safer world for everyone.

Want to learn more about the technology you need to manage a safe workplace? Check out our latest ebook, How to build a technology toolkit to reopen and stay open.

Openpath creates touchless access control solutions for any building. Openpath Access combines sleek hardware with a mobile app, enabling employees to enter the office using their smartphones and making office management easier than ever. Openpath’s hands-free touchless technology means users can keep the phone in their pocket, walk up to a door and simply wave their hand to unlock any door.