Keeping records of who comes in and out of your office has always been important from an administrative and safety perspective. However, office visitor logs are only becoming more important in the wake of pandemic-related health concerns.
Organizations may need to keep track of who is in the building to maintain admission maximums for their space, and also to keep records for contact tracing purposes.
In light of these new concerns, companies may be wondering about the best ways to design an office visitor log.
Although the best visitor log for your own office will vary with its unique needs and goals, design the log in a way that
- allows administrators to collect essential information as privately as possible
- makes the data as easy as possible to store, search, and safely destroy
Here are the three steps you need to take to design the perfect office visitor log.
Decide which data to collect in your visitor log
The first step in designing your visitor log is deciding exactly which information you’ll need to collect from each visitor.
Here’s the most important data that most organizations need to collect for records purposes:
- Visitor Name – Your visitors’ names only require a few simple text fields in your visitor log. Depending on the security level at your office, your receptionist may have to verify names with a photo ID card.
- Visitor Contact Info – This might not be necessary for all types of visitors, such as those making deliveries. But visitors who will be working on-site or spending significant time in the office should include their phone number in case they need to be contacted in the event of an emergency evacuation or for contact tracing purposes.
- Date and Time of Check-in – This is often the most important info you’ll need for administrative records purposes. Make sure that administrators verify the times and dates of visitor check-in if you’re using a paper log to avoid any confusion or legibility issues.
- Time of Checkout – Keeping track of each visitor’s check-out time may be just as important as tracking when they came in. Evacuation lists, contact tracing lists, and insurance records won’t be accurate without this information.
- Visit Purpose – Many offices need to track the purpose of each visit or at least the name of the person they are coming to visit. This gives the office crucial details that can be helpful later.
There are typically other steps in the sign-in process. Visitors have to agree to certain terms or even sign legal agreements such as non-disclosures before they come inside. And especially with the advent of COVID-19, visitors may have to affirm that they aren’t exhibiting any signs of illness or haven’t traveled to a COVID-19 hotspot recently before they are admitted.
However, those details are often tracked in an administrator’s master list, separate from the public-facing visitor log.
Optimize your office visitor log for privacy
Respecting your visitors’ privacy by protecting their personal information is the right thing to do, but in some cases, as we wrote in our post on Europe’s General Data Privacy Regulation, it’s also the law.
If you’re using a pen-and-paper log to track visitor data, visitors’ names and appointment details may be visible for all the other visitors to see. That’s why, if you’ll be using a paper system, you should have a policy that your administrative staff must black out or cover personal data as soon as each visitor checks in.
You also need to design the visitor log with the expectation that its pages will need to be shredded regularly, at whatever interval you’ve decided optimizes privacy while still keeping visitors safe.
For example, most offices keep visitor contact information on hand each day for the purpose of having an accurate evacuation list, but they might not need that information the next day. Others keep visitor data on hand until the relevant or anonymized data can be transferred to a digital system, at which point the original sign-in log page can be destroyed.
For that reason, it might be a good idea to print out fresh visitor log pages each day and keep them on a clipboard instea of in a binder or a bound notebook. You may choose to print pages with the date on the top and starting each day with a new page. This makes it easy to dispose of old log pages based on their age.
Although some visitor management software, including The Receptionist, gives visitors the option to store their data for quicker check-in the next time they return, visitors can opt in and out of having their data stored for that purpose.
Invest in a quality design for your sign-in pages
Visitor logs are pretty simple from a design standpoint. However, it’s worth noting that using the log is one of the very first interactions that visitors may have with your brand. The action of signing in can pave the way for a productive appointment, or in some cases, kick off your relationship with a new customer or hire. Don’t write it off as easy or settle for a sign in sheet that doesn’t make a good impression.
Keep the following design practices in mind:
- Ease of use – The log has to be easy to read and easy to use. That means the type has to be big enough to read easily, the spaces need to be easy for visitors to write in, and you should include only the fields that are absolutely necessary.
- Professionalism – The log shouldn’t look like it came from a template you found online. A few subtle branding elements, such as a unique font or a logo in the header, can be a nice way to tie a visitor log together.
- Aesthetics – Again, if your visitor log looks cluttered, crammed into a small space, or is a low-quality copy or on low-quality paper, these factors can add up to make a bad first impression on office visitors.
Are you ready to upgrade to a digital visitor log?
Paper visitor logs are simple and cheap. However, drawbacks include potential legibility errors and confusion and additional manual work (such as transcription and paper shredding) for the admin staff.
Modern tablet-based check-in apps like The Receptionist are optimized for visitor privacy, and for usability for both visitors and administrators.
Visitor info is never available to other visitors, and administrators can simply set the visitor management software to auto-delete visitor data at specified intervals, such as at the end of each day or week.
Visitor management apps like The Receptionist also come with many other features, such as the ability to capture visitor photos, print visitor badges, send automatic visitor notifications to employees, and access real-time evacuation lists online.
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