Besides the time and date of each office visit and a bit of personal info from each visitor, perhaps the most important piece of visitor data you can collect is the purpose of each visit.
By understanding each visit’s main purpose, your office team can get a good idea of what part of the office each visitor likely went to, who they interacted with, how long they stayed, and what supplies they likely used or needed while they were on-site — all of which can be helpful for administrative, security, safety, and compliance purposes later.
Taking the time to analyze exactly why people are visiting your office is beneficial for another important reason: Your administrative staff can streamline the check-in process for each type of visit to make it more pleasant for visitors and receptionists alike.
Below, we explore five of the most common office visits to track, along with tips on handling the check-in process for each.
- What they are: These visits include routine deliveries of things like water for the water cooler and snacks for the vending machine, as well as things like office supplies and other work-related purchases. Official, in-person delivery of legal documents are also included in this category. At many offices, employees will occasionally have lunch or coffee delivered as a convenience. Other times, employees may ship personal packages to their office location if that seems safer or easier than having packages shipped to their private residences.
- Why the data is important: Making a note of when supplies are delivered can be helpful for assessing contractor relationships. And data about employee deliveries can help guide official policy changes, such as making personal package delivery as an official employee perk, limiting employees’ ability to ship personal packages to the office, or specifying that employees must stay upfront when they’re expecting a meal delivery so they can intercept it personally. Finally, overall, accounting for when packages tend to arrive can help managers keep the front desk well-staffed when it’s the most important.
- Check-in tips: To make things as quick and efficient as possible for delivery people, make sure to keep a large button labeled “delivery” on the home screen of your check-in system. From there, delivery people may be able to select what type of delivery they’re making (food, packages, legal documents, etc.) based on the most common types for your office. You may opt to set up the check-in system to encourage delivery people to select the name of the employee who made the order, although that might cause some privacy concerns (for example, some of your employees may not want their names to be accessible to any delivery person who comes on site). It’s also possible that requiring a delivery person to select a recipient name may cause confusion (for example, if there are multiple people in your office with the same first name) and inconvenience for them, based on the size of your office.
- What they are: Specialized visits from service providers (such as servers for a catered meeting, cleaning staff, or people who have been hired to repair a piece of office equipment).
- Why the data is important: Making a note of when contractors arrived and left can be helpful for contract tracing purposes, for providing records of services provided (and assessing contractor relationships), and for emergency purposes, as employees aren’t likely to have personal contact information on hand for people who don’t come into the office regularly.
- Check-in tips: The way you structure the check-in process for contractors will depend a lot on which contractors visit your office the most. Visitors may not know to select “contractor” when they check in if they’re, for example, expecting to see the word “cleaning service” instead. It may be simpler to add a button for the most common types of contractors, such as “building maintenance” or “catering” and then have an “other” button for those visits that don’t neatly fall into a common category.
- What they are: This category is self-explanatory, but it deserves special consideration in your check-in process for a few reasons.
- Why the data is important: Just like with contractors, employees may not have a good way to contact job applicants in the case of an emergency, so collecting a bit of their personal information (and then ideally deleting it from the visitor management system when they leave) can be a best practice for emergency purposes. The HR team also may be able to use job candidate sign-in data to assess how early candidates arrived for their appointments, and assess how long candidates spent on-site so they can plan accordingly for future job interviews.
- Check-in tips: Set up the visitor management system to alert all employees who are involved with the job interview process. It’s important that you make a good impression on job candidates if you want to attract the best ones, so everyone on the HR team or anyone who has an interview lined up may want to know when a job candidate has arrived. That way, they can do their best to help them feel comfortable.
Appointments, Meetings, and Personal Visits
- What they are: This type of visit includes general business meetings and visits from employees’ friends and family.
- Why the data is important: As we already discussed, these visits should be tracked just to see how many people are coming to the office regularly. This helps to allocate staffing and office resources in the future. For example, you may use the data to plan how many meeting spaces you actually need (combined with internal data about internal employee meetings), or to see which times of day you get the most visitors so you can schedule your front desk staff properly, or to assess how many people are in the lobby at a time so that you can allocate sufficient seating.
- Check-in tips: Some security experts consider it a best practice to alert all employees to the presence of any visitor who isn’t normally in the office — including contractors and job interview candidates. This gets employees into the habit of noticing people in the office who haven’t been announced or checked in properly, which is good for security. Visitor management systems like The Receptionist can alert employees to visitors’ arrivals using a chat system like Slack to make the notifications unobtrusive but helpful.
- What they are: Some offices may find a lot of benefit in tracking not just visitor check-ins, but employee check-ins as well.
- Why the data is important: If you track every entry and exit of your employees, you’ll theoretically always have a real-time updated evacuation list. For example, you’ll know when an employee has stepped out for lunch so that they don’t have to be evacuated in the case of a fire or other disaster. If you let employees come and go as they please at all hours, it may also be helpful to know what times employees find it most productive to be in the office so you can allocate resources properly.
- Check-in tips: Consider that making employees check in and out runs the risk of making employees feel like they’re being monitored or tracked — unless you can clearly communicate how the data is used. If checking in and out is anything more than a simple swipe of an ID card, they’ll begin to resent the inconvenience and skip the step where possible, which negates the accuracy of the data. You might consider requiring check-ins for part-timers, interns, or volunteers who visit semi-regularly.
Making Visitor Data Tracking Easy
Collecting office visitor data is much easier than it used to be. As long as you use the right kind of visitor check-in system, the data is collected completely passively, with no extra work or records management tasks required for your employees.
Even before COVID-19, managing office visitor data had serious benefits. Consider these points:
- A better understanding of who is coming and going regularly and when can help you better plan for front desk staffing and lobby space.
- Keeping clear visitor records can be crucial from a legal and compliance standpoint, as certain laws, industry standards, or insurance policies may limit the ways that people can access your facility.
- Knowing who is in your office at any time can be essential in the case of an emergency evacuation. Keeping a real-time list of visitors can make it clear to emergency personnel whether everyone has made it out safely and prevent dangerous rescue missions.
Plus, the benefits of tracking visitor data are only becoming more pronounced as people all over the world struggle to keep COVID-19 in check. Knowing who was in the office and why they were visiting can be essential if you want to track who has potentially been exposed, as we mentioned in our post on contact tracing basics for employers.
If you want to try the original visitor management system and enjoy all of these benefits for yourself, check out The Receptionist’s 14-day free trial.
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