Stephen Darracott outlines what’s possible with the latest digital visitor management systems in the COVID-19 age.
Businesses across Australia, New Zealand and the wider global community have experienced significant disruptions over the past 18 months, and the pandemic continues to affect operations. One of the biggest impacts for organisations across many industries has been the need to invest more heavily in technology solutions that improve the working environment and help businesses adhere to social distancing and contact tracing requirements.
COVID-19 has especially increased the need for a simple yet secure way of managing visitors and contractors on site. As case numbers continue to fluctuate across the country, there remains a heightened need to be able to assist with government contact tracing where needed. While specific tracking apps are essential in supporting government contact tracing efforts, modern technology solutions like digital visitor management systems can give facility management personnel an added layer of support in keeping their visitors and contractors safe on site.
As COVID-19 restrictions and case numbers continue to change daily, it’s critical that FMs invest in digital visitor management solutions now, rather than later, to better manage visitors and contractors throughout the ongoing pandemic and well into the future.
Investing in digital visitor management for more streamlined and efficient FM
One of the primary benefits of modern digital visitor management systems is that they let FM personnel track and manage site visitors and contractors more efficiently without increasing costs, while simultaneously elevating safety and compliance. The latest digital systems incorporate features such as QR code functionality for contactless sign-ins, contributing to the ongoing safety and security of everyone onsite: staff, visitors, and contractors.
Modern digital visitor management systems capture and record relevant information about visitors and contractors, saving it in a secure database in real time. This ensures FMs have an up-to-date record of anyone who’s on premise, which can support government contact tracing. Some systems also have the option to capture vaccination certificates, so it’s easy to track whether those onsite have received their COVID-19 vaccination. Digital systems can also capture relevant security information to help ensure only people that are authorised to be onsite can register or sign in.
For multi-tenant facilities, including office buildings and other high-rises, visitor management will mean far more than simply tracking people gaining access to the facility. It can also present new challenges in terms of occupancy management as a result of strict social distancing measures. Digital visitor management systems can provide a rapid overview of the number of people onsite at any given time, helping FM personnel to more accurately report on the number of people on site and ensure this meets social distancing requirements.
And, while this feature is critical in terms of adhering to government regulations, it’s not the only critical feature that digital visitor management systems offer. The latest technologies capture and incorporate information on safety and security procedures to help protect onsite visitors, such as health, safety, and security induction process. This helps to better ensure the security of all visitors and contractors onsite in the event of an emergency by guaranteeing all site visitors are given this information on arrival.
Taking the health and safety of FM to the next level
The changing nature of COVID-19 and the growing numbers of different strains indicate that this is far from the last health crisis that FMs will need to consider. This means it’s critical to invest in solutions that will meet the changing requirements created by health and security crises. Monitoring site security and adhering to social distancing requirements is critical, and modern digital visitor management systems can also take the safety of visitors and contractors onsite one step further.
Some of the latest digital visitor management systems offer infrared temperature scanning features to check visitors’ temperatures. Facilities managers can use these systems to receive a notification if they detect a person with an elevated temperature, so they can take relevant measures to keep visitors and contractors safe and healthy on site. This is particularly critical as the pandemic continues.
By using digital visitor management systems to better monitor the health and safety of on-site visitors and contractors, and keep a close eye on potentially infectious people, FM can help to minimise the spread of contagions throughout their sites. Moreover, this won’t only be a benefit during the pandemic. By investing in such solutions now, FM personnel can be better prepared to protect the health of visitors and contractors throughout future ‘flu seasons and other health events.
Elevating health and safety while lowering costs
Implementing digital visitor management systems should be seen as a long-term investment into the health and safety of FM, rather than simply an upfront cost. Most digital visitor management systems can be easily set up close to office or reception staff to ensure that all visitors and contractors sign in on entry using the system without needing to dedicate time to manually signing them in. This lets FM keep administrative costs low by removing the need for dedicated staff to spend time signing visitors and contractors in.
Additionally, by making the effort to deploy these solutions now, FM can help to streamline visitor management procedures without increasing their costs and avoid the need to rapidly implement potentially more costly measures in the case of future health events.
Stephen Darracott is vice president and country manager at Pitney Bowes Japan, Australia and New Zealand.