Treating employees like visitors

Why (and How) to Treat Employees More Like Visitors

We’ve discussed many times on our blog how important it is to make a good impression on office visitors with a well-designed lobby area and visitor check-in process. 

However, visitors aren’t the only ones who deserve a red carpet welcome when they arrive at your office. 

More and more employers are choosing to give employees the same special treatment that office visitors typically receive. This includes warm greetings, a sense of hospitality, and even an official check-in.

This shift is partially due to changing office dynamics brought on by (or accelerated by) the COVID-19 pandemic. However, it’s also due to the fact that employers continue to realize that treating employees as well as they treat their customers is a great way to attract and retain those employees — which goes on to provide a significant competitive advantage in the marketplace.

Here’s more about why employers are treating employees more like visitors or customers, and how to do the same at your own company.

The Case for Treating Employees Like Visitors

More and more employers are choosing to embrace some version of remote work for their employees due to a variety of factors (including health and safety concerns from COVID, the ability to attract employees from a wider geographic area, or even just saving on office costs). 

For many employees in this new, post-COVID world, the office has become more of an option than an obligation. If your office is also transitioning to this new culture, you’ll need to adjust the way you welcome employees accordingly. 

A big part of that is keeping track of employees’ comings and goings and allowing them access to the building. Collecting sign-in records provides a better understanding of who actually uses the office and when, which can help you design the office in a more efficient way. Better records can also boost safety, because you’ll know who is on site in case of an emergency, or in case contact tracing is necessary.

A Few Ways to Treat Employees Like Visitors (or Customers)

Beyond the administrative end of treating employees more like visitors, though, most of the changes you make have to do with how employees experience the office and experience their employment.

Here are ways to make their experiences more pleasant and show your appreciation:

  • Invest in better lobby design. Even if your office doesn’t get a lot of visitor traffic, you could consider investing more in the aesthetics of the lobby so that it’s a more inviting or exciting place for your employees to visit. For example, factors we suggest in the post, Does Your Office Lobby Wow Your Guests?, include living walls, murals, artistic light fixtures, or water features. The design you choose should reflect your company’s unique personality.
  • Invest in more collaborative spaces in the office. Of course, you can go beyond the lobby and invest in a design refresh for the interior, as well. If your employees are treating the office as more of a space for meetings and collaboration these days, it might be worth adding some breakout spaces for smaller meetings in addition to the larger meeting spaces in conference rooms.  
  • Upgrade your office’s refreshment options. Imagine being able to offer employees an iced coffee or a latte instead of directing them toward the standard pot or expecting them to get their coffee outside of the office. Machines like the Miele CM 6350 can also serve espresso, ristretto, cappuccino, latté macchiato, cafe latté, hot milk & milk froth. In another example that might be easier on your budget, The Ninja Hot and Cold Brew System coffee bar can brew several sizes, from a small travel mug to a full carafe, and has a built-in frother and options for hot, cold, and coffee-shop-style drinks. For more office upgrade ideas, check out our post Impress Office Guests and Staff With These Tech Upgrades.
Treating employees like visitors
  • Add fun features that make the office appealing for remote workers. If employees can work from home, they might choose to do their quiet work at home and seek out the office for more social or collaborative work. If that’s the case, add features that make the office more relevant, such as space for games or fitness activities, or even an office bar for coffee or happy hour. These fun office features can both impress existing employees and help recruit new ones. Read more ideas for cultivating a fun office here: 5 Office Features That Encourage Employees to Play
  • “Consumerize” your Human Resources services. There are more and more apps available for businesses that make it easier (and even pleasant!) for employees to do things like request vacation time, enroll in benefits, complete training, or evaluate peers. As this post from an employee training consultant explains, “consumerization of HR” also often means leveraging software features that encourage employees to connect, share, and collaborate, just like they can on social media.
  • Make sure someone is available to help. Fluctuating office hours and employee schedules brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic may mean that some employees are feeling alienated, or aren’t sure how to get the help they need. Easy-to-use HR apps can help, as we just mentioned. But it’s difficult to substitute for an office manager or receptionist, who can connect employees to the resources they need to do their jobs well, or just answer basic questions about the office culture or even the neighborhood (especially important for new hires). Hiring an amazing receptionist can benefit employees as well as visitors and customers. 

It All Comes Back to Culture

In the end, treating employees and customers well comes down to the values and priorities that you’ve worked to establish for your company. 

If you’re interested in learning more about how we cultivate values and culture here at The Receptionist, the original visitor management system, check out the FABRIC Podcast.

In each episode, we explore what it takes to create a healthy, vibrant company culture at scale.

Treating employees and customers well comes down to the values and priorities that you’ve worked to establish for your company. Click To Tweet

We want to uncover unique and uncommon answers to the question: How do companies of any size create a culture and core values that employees actually live out? Check out the full list of episodes here.

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