As the world returns to in-person work and in-person visits, the specter of excessive foot traffic looms large with office administrators. The thing about visitor management is, however, that many businesses pay it little-to-no-mind. In fact, most businesses don’t have anyone that thinks of ways to improve their visitor management practices on any sort of regular basis. Oftentimes, receptionists or office administrators inherit a system created years or decades prior and merely carry the torch on throughout their tenure due to a false perception that visitor management doesn’t really matter all that much. Unfortunately, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Antiquated sign-in systems like logbooks can be a really shoddy way of recordkeeping, can bog down your visitor traffic flow, and can be a highly suspect way of adhering to compliance standards related to your business. Disregarding the layout of your reception area and not ensuring the you’ve implemented a streamlined floorplan can also be detrimental to your visitor traffic flow. In this article, we’re going to take a look at three ways office administrators are getting ready for, and dealing with the crowds.
Every business is going to have its own, unique visitor “DNA,” which encompasses everything from the number of visitors it has, the time of day it receives the most visitors, how often visitors return, how long visitors stay, and the types of visitors themselves, among other things. Not everyone will be able to benefit from this advice, but for those that can, do your best to group visitors where possible. “Batch” processing is an idea as old as time itself, but it is often not applied to visitor management, even though it should be.
In practice, what this could mean is that you only give visitor orientations every 30 minutes as opposed to every time a visitor shows up. Alternatively, policies could be implemented that you only proceed with, for example, a facility tour after ten visitors are ready, as opposed to taking smaller groups. There are endless possibilities, but the basic premise remains the same, take advantage of the opportunity of processing visitors in larger groups simultaneously instead of processing visitors in a one-off, ad-hoc manner. Visitor management systems like LobbyFox enable to you easily see what type of visitor a guest is by simply glancing at their name badge, making grouping easier. This kind of system can also be used to text a visitor upon check-in with instructions on how they should proceed, based on how you’d prefer the visitors to be grouped.
Look no further than Google Trends to see that the search term “check-in kiosk” has steadily been on the rise for the past 20 years, and many of us can personally attest to seeing check-in kiosks more and more in the real world. Whether you’re checking in at an airport to get your boarding pass, or at a doctors office to notify staff you’re there for your appointment, there’s a good reason that so many businesses are adopting this technology.
Check-in kiosks can be crucial for managing visitor traffic and also just your visitors’ general experience at your facility. Kiosks provide a simple, consistent, and reliable means of checking in visitors, without requiring either them or your staff to fill in information on a sign-in sheet. Modern check-in kiosks, paired with a cloud-based visitor management system, can be used to automatically notify a visitor’s host that the visitor has arrived to see them, and systems like LobbyFox also allow you to set up other, custom notifications as well. For example, if a regulator checks in, your C-Suite or safety managers could be notified. If a visitor fails a health screening (which can also be conducted automatically by the kiosk), your HR manager can be notified and the visitor can be automatically dismissed and told to return after a certain number of days. Most modern check-in kiosks also automate the process of badge printing for your guests as well, allowing your staff to quickly and easily see who’s who in your lobby.
Lastly, check-in kiosks like LobbyFox can also be used to automate the process of visitor orientation, which can take an enormous amount of staff time. Check-in kiosks can not only aid dramatically in managing excessive traffic at your office, they can also save you money through significant productivity gains.
Though it can seem trivial, one of the most effective (and cheapest) ways you can address a difficult visitor management situation in your office is to simply consider the paths your visitors are taking throughout your facility, either naturally and subconsciously or paths you’re asking them to take yourself. All too often we visit an establishment where people are bumping into each other because either the layout of the facility’s floorplan makes it challenging to accommodate many guests (who are often unfamiliar with the layout and therefore are prone to making a wrong turn), or because the directions visitors are being given conflict with paths often taken by other visitors or staff themselves. When contemplating how you can effectively manage visitor traffic, treat your facility like a roadway and avoid situations where guests are going in opposite directions in cramped spaces.
This is often achieved by safety managers all over the globe with something as simple as adequate signage throughout the facility, or in a manufacturing facility, for instance, clear markings on the floor for the direction of travel for any given pathway. One solution that’s begun cropping up in recent years is office administrators co-opting check-in notifications (from a visitor management system) to advise guests on how to physically proceed. Check-in systems, LobbyFox, can be configured to send customizable text messages to your guests upon their arrival, informing them of things like “Please proceed to the red door and enter code 1234 to access the facility” or “Thanks for checking in! Please proceed to the hallway on the left.” This approach can be a simple and reliable means of automating aspects of visitor foot traffic flow in your office.
The world is opening up again, and office administrators’ two year reprieve from managing office visits is in large part finally over. While many companies have permanently moved to remote work only, a great deal of industries just don’t have that luxury, like manufacturing. For these companies, managing visitor foot traffic is and always will be a fact of life, but the unfortunate reality is that far too many of these businesses have never given their visitor management practices any thought whatsoever. Visitor management systems like LobbyFox can be key to tackling these problems on many different fronts simultaneously, and LobbyFox, unlike all other visitor management solutions, is a 100% turnkey system, meaning all you have to do is open the box and plug in the kiosk. Check out LobbyFox’s industry leading capabilities at lobbyfox.com today.