In the past, companies used a paper logbook to record the names of visitors, reasons for visiting, and the name of their host to keep track of guests.
As workplaces modernized and digitize, it became apparent paper logbooks are nearly useless when trying to access guest information for a post-visit follow-up. They require data entry, were affected by spilled drinks and poor handwriting, had dodgy security credentials, and simply got lost.
The solution was digital visitor management. This article examines how a visitor management system eliminates security concerns, manual entry, and text legibility while assuring zippy information access for post-visits and enables the signing of legal documents.
Traditionally, a visitor logbook was a series of handwritten sheets of paper. Visitors would enter their name, who they were visiting, the day and time, and then add their signature. In today's modern office, the visitor registration process and the sign-in sheet have gone digital. Smart offices have turned to visitor virtual receptionist sign-in apps to track who comes into your office or co-working space, when they come, who they are there to see, and why they are there.
Why Is a Visitor Logbook Important?
Tracking visitors in and out of your office has multiple benefits. Luckily and likely you do not think about this often, but first is your safety and the safety of your teammates and colleagues. Second is the reason you are there in the first place, the productivity of your business.
Let's start with safety and security
- Maintaining a log of everyone who's in your office will clue you into people who are there who shouldn't be there. It can help avoid the uncomfortable situation of an angry ex-spouse showing up and creating a scene. And even worse, a nefarious individual from inflicting harm on an individual. A visitor sign-in sheet may even prevent entry to those seeking to do mass harm.
- If your office or co-working space needed to evacuate--in case of fire or chemical spill, for example--how would you know everybody is out? Keeping a log of everyone who's entered is the only way to make sure everyone has exited.
- Security isn't just about personnel, but also the important work you do. Many large and high-tech companies require visitors to sign a non-disclosure agreement, or NDA, before entering the facility. This document should be stored with the visitor logs.
- Sometimes visitors are given access to equipment in your office. Having a record of their entrance and exit can help prevent maltreatment of equipment or even theft.
A visitor log can also help with efficiency
- Memories fade over time. A visitors log gives you a data-driven reference for how often you receive guests and why they visit. This allows you to effectively use space management software. As office space is often one of your biggest fixed (and long-term) expenses, now you are armed with information for planning, reporting, and keeping track of utilization.
- You also might want to keep in touch with visitors, whether an interview candidate, partner, or customer. Visitor logbooks can store this information for future reference. Deliveries should also be tracked in a package log.
- Visitor logs can be useful for getting company reviews--either in the actual office or as a future contact for a review. Customer testimonials can be a powerful tool for converting leads into customers.
Digital Visitor Log Versus Pen and Paper
Businesses have been using some variation of pen and paper visitor logs for years. In the past, this wasn't just the most affordable option, it was the only option. Today, businesses are moving their data to cloud-based visitor logs. Here are the many distinctions of the digital version:
- A traditional paper and pen visitor sign-in sheet can be lost, stolen, be spilled on, or just crumpled. In addition, handwriting can make the logbook difficult to read.
- A traditional paper and pen visitor log book become a public document that any visitor can leaf through--including competing vendors, clients, and salespeople who visit the office.
- A front desk sign-in app and digital logbook requires eliminates worries about legibility.
- A cloud-based visitor log removes all manual effort of entering data or searching for important information later.
- An Android or iPad sign-in app can capture visitors' pictures during the check-in process. Say something goes missing, or you just need a refresher about what your client looks like, now you have a reference.
- The best visitor registration kiosks double as an eSignature app allowing organizations to tie important legal documents to check-in records.
- All digital check-ins are stored in a secure digital visitor log which can be downloaded manually or via Zapier. It cannot be viewed by the public.
- Admins and other reception personnel can now engage in more meaningful tasks since they no longer have to police the front desk.
Components of a Digital Visitor Log
Visitor first names
- Visitor last names
- The reason for each visit (meeting, interview, delivery, facility tour)
- Visitor photos
- Electronic signatures on legal documents
- A timestamp with the check-in time
- A timestamp noting when the visitor left
- The employee or host each person visited
- The ability to filter results and run reports
Every company should have a visitor logbook to protect its people and their information. It is also helpful in deploying people to be the most productive. The world is moving towards automation, and your organization should explore a digital visitor management system with electronic visitor logbooks to increase the usefulness and the confidentiality of their information.