One of the most important things that you can ever do in managing an office or workplace is to create a good office visitor policy. Having one goes a long way into ensuring the safety of your employees, your customers, and the assets that you rely upon in your business operations. More than that, it also helps protect any information critical to running your business, such as proprietary software or customer data, from being stolen or compromised.
Of course, every company is different. The security demands of a huge multinational corporation will be different from a smaller business with a limited number of employees. However, there are certain security issues that all businesses, no matter their size, headcount, or industry, will encounter. A visitor policy is a great start in addressing those issues. So if you or your company’s HR department has yet to create one, then here are some helpful tips that should make it a bit easier.
Establish who gets to authorize visitors.
First things first: decide who has the authority to approve visitors. Ideally, this should be someone who’s present in the workplace at all times, as their absence could prove inconvenient or cause delays in the processing of visitors. In some offices, managers are often granted this authority, while others place the responsibility upon the front desk receptionist. Whoever you choose, make sure that it’s someone you can trust and can be held accountable in case something does go wrong.
Make sure that visitors are clearly and visibly identified.
All approved visitors should wear something that’s highly visible upon their person to identify them as a non-employee. This way, staff and security personnel can immediately tell if someone is in an area of the office that they’re not supposed to be, and shepherd them towards somewhere a bit more secure. For this, you can use a lanyard as identification, a badge, or admission wristbands. Just make sure to have them customized in bright and striking colors so they can be immediately spotted.
Have a rigorous check-in process in place.
You should always have an accurate idea of the visitors you’re allowing to walk around in your office. For this, a check-in process is absolutely mandatory. Have all your visitors sign in with the date and time that they arrive at your office and require them to supply verified proof of identification. You can also tie this check-in process with the distribution of the visitor lanyard or badge, ensuring that no one is permitted to enter your office without checking in.
Ensure that restricted office areas are clearly outlined in your visitor policy.
While it’s usually a good idea to let visitors see as much of your office as possible, it’s also prudent to ensure that some of the very sensitive areas of your workplace are restricted from unauthorized personnel. Such areas include back offices, rooms that may contain fragile equipment or hazardous material, server rooms, and so on. Also, make sure that these areas are clearly described and noted in your visitor policy, so as to avoid any confusion on the part of your security staff and any visitor-facing employees.
Visitors should always be escorted.
A bit of a no-brainer here—no guest or visitor should ever be allowed in your office without an escort, no matter if they’re a prospective employee or a big-time client. Not only does this prevent them from wandering into somewhere they’re not supposed to be, it also doubles as great customer service, as the escort will be on hand to assist them with anything they need. Ensure this is written clearly in your visitor policy and you can rest assured that you will have very minimal trouble with guests.
Outline how different visitors should be treated.
Another thing that should definitely be in your visitor policy is how to treat different visitors. Your employees and visitor-facing staff should be able to know immediately how to treat a prospective client from a potential employee. Also, you should think about how different types of employees will also be handled by your staff, such as temporary workers, interns, and consultants.
Lay out how visitor rules are enforced.
After creating the various rules in your visitor policy, think about how your staff is going to enforce those rules. What is the recourse available to them, for example, if they find that a visitor is trying to sneak into a restricted area? What about if a visitor has a medical emergency while on the premises? Think about these scenarios and clearly describe how your staff should deal with them. By doing so, you can eliminate a lot of confusion that could cause you headaches in the long run.
A good office visitor policy is essential in keeping an office secure
Don’t underestimate the importance of a visitor policy. While it may seem like a minor matter that can be passed off until later, having a solid visitor policy contributes a lot to the safety and security of an office. Without it, you run the risk of your employees and your business being exposed to all sorts of risks and dangers. Draft one with the tips that we’ve given you in this article, and make sure that your staff is adequately educated about it.
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