SVP of Global Real Estate, Office Services and Security
How BuzzFeed keeps their workplaces safe across the globe
You may know of BuzzFeed from one of their hard-hitting pieces of journalism that received a nomination for the Pulitzer Prize. Maybe you’ve been watching their Tasty videos to uplevel your quarantine cooking skills. Or perhaps you’ve read their charming and funny listicles about TV, movies, and entertainment.
BuzzFeed is a leading digital media and tech company that covers breaking news, produces original video, and creates content that people want to share. Their greatest asset is their team—a global footprint of talented journalists, content creators, videographers, and the like. Keeping their team safe and happy is a big undertaking, one that Julia Goldberg does with a team of nearly 25 people across 10 offices globally.
Julia and her team are responsible for BuzzFeed’s security, facilities, workplace design, studio operations, office services, and real estate. When she joined BuzzFeed, they had no visitor management system in place. The process was clunky and unsophisticated—and left the company vulnerable to unwelcome guests. “There was no real process in place. It was all managed over email. People would send expected guests to reception but most of the time our security team had to step in which was a big waste of time and resources,” shares Julia.
Plus, being in the news and media space makes BuzzFeed susceptible to known bad actors or threats across the industry. It’s typically a part of any media company’s security regimen to maintain a list of people who are not welcome onsite. But while BuzzFeed had the list, they didn’t have a secure way to manage it and ensure that those unwelcome visitors didn’t make it onsite.
Julia knew they needed a solution and immediately thought of Envoy.
“I remember first discovering Envoy when I visited an office and was wowed by the whole experience. I downloaded the app because I was curious and then I started seeing Envoy all over the place. I thought it was pretty darn smart,” says Julia Goldberg, SVP of Global Real Estate, Office Services and Security at BuzzFeed.
A quick win for the front desk
Julia had implemented Envoy Visitors at two former jobs, so she knew that rolling it out at BuzzFeed would set her up for a quick win. “It was a no-brainer,” she says. “Because of my previous knowledge and understanding of Visitors, I knew that I could roll this out quickly, easily, and at scale.”
The results were immediate. “My front desk and security teams were so relieved,” shares Julia. “Envoy alleviates frustrations from them having to track down hosts when a visitor arrives. Now, the notifications are automatic. Plus it’s made the sign-in process so much quicker. Guests no longer need to wait fifteen minutes to get to where they need to go.”
The new process also created a great experience for BuzzFeed’s employees. Now, whenever a guest checks in, their host is automatically notified on Slack and can go greet them. BuzzFeed also uses Envoy Deliveries to automatically notify employees via Slack when their packages arrive too.
On top of tracking how long it takes for visitors to sign-in, Julia also closely watches visitor volume to understand foot traffic at all her spaces. With offices of different sizes and functions around the globe, Julia needed to better understand how to make the best use of Buzzfeed’s space. “Envoy’s analytics gives us insights into how many visitors we’re expecting in a day and when. It’s even justified a need for a second entrance at one of our bigger offices.”
A safe solution to keep out unwelcome guests
One of Julia’s top priorities is keeping her employees and her spaces safe. “Like any global media news organization, not everyone in the world agrees with our stories and the news that we find truthful,” she explains. “But with Envoy, we know if a guest is expected and can flag someone if they aren’t.”
This is where Envoy’s blocklist feature comes into play. The blocklist helps Buzzfeed prevent unwanted guests from entering their offices. “This is huge for media companies,” she shares. “Across the industry, we have known bad actors or people who could pose a threat.” Before, her security team relied on a paper list or excel spreadsheet with the names and email addresses of unwelcome guests. “Now that security is tied to their sign-in, we can automatically detect that person and stop them from entering. I’ve had security incidents abated because I had an unwelcome person attempting to sign-in that Envoy helped to surface.”
“The blocklist gives me peace of mind. I can go about my day or even go on vacation and no one calls me with a question about access because the blocklist just works,” says Julia Goldberg, SVP of Global Real Estate, Office Services and Security at BuzzFeed
Planning BuzzFeed’s reopening amid COVID-19
When COVID-19 hit and all of BuzzFeed’s employees started working remotely, Julia found herself faced with a brand new challenge: planning how and when to reopen BuzzFeed’s offices in the middle of a global pandemic. “The health, safety, and privacy of our teams is BuzzFeed’s first priority. We know that this means that we need to put thoughtful systems and technologies into place as we plan the reopening of our offices. There’s no time to waste in implementing a solution.” Julia turned to Envoy once again for help.
“We were looking for a COVID-19-related process for employee access and for how we were going to welcome the team back to the office,” Julia shared. “Choosing Envoy Protect was a natural progression because we already use and love Visitors. It’s so user friendly, both on the admin and end-user side. I feel comfortable knowing that I can use the system the way my team needs it to work. Plus, our IT and front desk teams, and our employees, don’t need to install and learn yet another platform. Once again, it was a no brainer.”
Julia says that her team plans on using Envoy Protect for three main reasons:
- Health and privacy: “Protect allows our employees to easily comply with BuzzFeed’s COVID access protocols. This way we can be sure that everyone who enters our space can comply with our Access Policy, while our team knows that their health-related information will be kept private.”
- Security: “To have our employees register ahead of time and easily show the security team that they’re approved to come in streamlines our entry process and is a huge win.”
- Safety: “We can’t have full capacity at the office so Protect helps me set and enforce capacity limits. Also, it lets us know who’s in the building in case of emergency or for contact tracing.”
With the right technology in place, Julia and her team feel confident in their plan to reopen. Envoy Protect gives them the tools they need to manage employee registration, perform wellness checks, and set and enforce capacity limits at each of their offices. “It’s an essential part of our reopening plans,” she shares. “Envoy is helping us redefine what a safe, secure and healthy workplace looks like as we head toward the future.”