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Visitor Management Can Keep People Safe During a Crisis

With the benefit of 20/20 hindsight, it would be easy to say that organizations should have put a digital visitor management system in place to screen visitors and slow the spread of COVID-19. But it’s not too late. If you still have a paper logbook at your front desk, now’s the time to toss it for a cloud-based platform.

With most businesses either shut down or moved to a remote working model, you would think that visitor management is the last thing on people’s minds. But the truth is, there are still many work sites that must stay open for business. We have seen the number of actual visits being registered inside our visitor management platform fall steeply in mid-March to the beginning of April—60 percent as of press time.

However, there are certain industries where this is not the case. Data centers, food and beverage manufacturers, and pharmaceutical companies continue to operate their business sites at full throttle. On smaller scales, we have seen core teams of essential employees and contractors reporting to their offices and production sites across every industry.

This is exactly where a visitor management system can help keep people safe before, during, and after a health and safety crisis like the coronavirus pandemic. Visitor management systems providers are being proactive in answering the call for COVID-19-related help.

Among some of the concrete steps they can take are including flexible workflows for critical health screenings in advance of each visit, such as questions around current health conditions like fever or flu symptoms, recent travel history, and more. Customizing a visitor badge to clearly display vital information such as body temperature measurements, sometimes as often as every two hours, is also something possible inside a visitor management system.

In specific emergencies like that of the COVID-19 pandemic, the collection of such data can be recognized as a legal and legitimate condition for doing business during the emergency period. But organizations would do well to seek professional legal counsel before enacting these procedures.

With that being said, the subjects whose data is being collected should be made fully aware of what data is being processed and stored, along with why and for how long it will be stored. This is why it’s crucial for visitor management systems to allow automated data retention periods and, at the very least, for manual deletions of data related to visits within a specific timeframe. The data retention and deletion policies should be transparent and explained clearly.

While most platforms are tablet based, many have robust dashboards in place that reception and security staff have been relying on during this critical time. The staff also has the option to remove the tablet kiosks altogether to create a touchless check-in process for visitors. Even better, they can integrate their access control systems to send QR codes in advance for scanning at entry points.

These methods are in line with current global social distancing best practices to reduce unnecessary exposure to the coronavirus. The touchless experience will also be key in the recovery phase to come.

Gregory Blondeau is CEO of Proxyclick.