Organizations are creating business continuity plans focused on when their workforces return to the workplace, and the way they manage both employee and visitor access is coming up as a top concern. The way that organizations manage who comes in and out of their premises is expected to undergo a major shift. Here, Gregory Blondeau, CEO of Proxyclick, a provider of enterprise visitor management software, discusses how one of the company’s clients have shifted visitor management to date — and considerations for facilities and visitor management going forward.
There are many frontline workers going in and out of healthcare facilities, food services, government agencies, etc. on a daily basis. How are your customers handling access management to ensure they are keeping employees safe?
Our customer Sodexo is a great example. They offer food catering and facility management services across a wide array of industries, including corporate services, energy and resources, healthcare, education, government and agencies, and sports and leisure. As you can imagine, it’s absolutely critical for their organization to put in place a business continuity plan that is both efficient and adaptable per region.
Safety is the number one priority at Sodexo. In addition to setting strict health regulations for employees, any staff members or necessary visitors coming to one of their locations must have their temperature checked. Staff and visitors must also answer a set of health-related questions to reduce the risk of infection, which are prompted by the Proxyclick system. All information, including temperature screens, is recorded in the system.
Many regulations related to COVID-19 in Singapore (where Sodexo’s Asia Pacific office is located) can change overnight. These can be addressed while sitting at home via Proxyclick so that when visitors arrive the next day, new rules will be applied. The fact that Sodexo’s team in Singapore could implement these measures so quickly (and from remote locations) underscores the benefits of flexible business continuity, as it relates to visitor management.
Some say that health and safety confidence will go back to normal; others feel we’re entering a new world in the aftermath of COVID-19. Where do you stand on this question and how do you see visitor / access management evolving?
In the aftermath of COVID-19, any inefficient, inflexible, or outdated methods for bringing people on-premises will need to shift dramatically and fast. It’s not a question of whether organizations should go paperless anymore. Rather, it’s about how soon (and how flexibly) it can be done. Now more than ever, leadership teams need to maintain business continuity by putting procedures in place to help keep their staff safe. This should involve (further) digitalization of the workplace, including the use of cloud-based software solutions to help keep worker health risks low.
Some of the things we foresee in the near future are more seamless access control and parking system integrations. We may also see an effort to remove physical interfaces, or tablets, at check-in, in favor of an entirely touchless check-in process.
We will also see increased scrutiny among food production and manufacturing sites and a need for centrally managed software to track everyone coming to a workplace.
Take us through how your product works. Specifically, what features can companies use during health and safety crises?
Sure. Let’s start with the fact that as an organization, during any health and safety crisis, it’s your duty to ensure that both your staff and visitors are fully aware of the potential risks of infection. To better protect employees from risk, you can screen visitors before they arrive using the pre-registration features on our platform. Custom fields can be added per visitor (only visible internally), so that hosts can review any potential risks and procedures associated with that visit. This will ensure that a visit meets the health and safety requirements of your organization.
For visitors, make sure to record an individual’s phone number and email addresses within your visitor management system. Should the visitor become exposed to the virus while on your premises, you can immediately and discreetly inform the visitor.
Our platform also allows you to add specific health and safety procedures or information to a given agreement. You can send this agreement for a visitor to sign in advance via an invitation email. Within the invitation email itself, you can also include any necessary health or safety-related instructions. For example, you can inform your visitor that temperature screening will be done once she arrives on-site.
Once a visitor has signed an agreement and reviewed necessary health and safety procedures beforehand, our interface will prompt her with conditional questions to answer upon arrival. You can use customs screens to build a logical flow of questions related to COVID-19 risk. In the event that a visitor indicates via a response that she is at risk of being infected, you can prompt a specific message that informs her that she is not allowed to enter.
What advice do you have for companies looking to create a safer and more secure workplace post-COVID-19?
It’s easy to say you should have done this or that, in retrospect. But we believe that staying the course is best for your workplace and workforce. And what we mean by this is that before COVID-19 ever happened, we were already helping organizations all over the world secure their premises using our visitor management solution. And now we’re being contacted by global enterprises looking forward to the recovery phases of their business continuity plans.
To keep your workforce safe, and your visitors and contractors safe, you must implement a digital solution at your front desks. If it’s cloud-based then all the better because it’s that much easier to integrate your existing tools and technologies to build that safety net of security. We are still big believers in welcoming everyone as long as they are in compliance with company policies. If you do a good job at screening your visitors and flagging cases needing the attention of your security staff, then you can more easily avoid problematic situations. Our advice is to do as much work as you can upfront, ahead of each visit, to get to know your visitors and contractors and whether or not they pose a security threat to your premises. We’ve seen this done across all industries so we know that it works and can work for you.