Category: Employee management

3 minutes read time

Top 4 technologies to help employees feel safe as they return to work

It is fair to say that lockdown in the UK has been a strange and testing time with over 35% of Brits doing some form of working from home. However, with lockdown restrictions easing since 19 July 2021 people are starting to return to their workplaces, but with this comes a big challenge that businesses face in adapting office environments to a different way of working.  

But with over five million people fearing returning to work what will this look like? Without a doubt, there will be plenty of new safety protocols involving strict personal hygiene and physical distancing, but how do we make this transition as simple and as safe as possible?  

As employers, we are all navigating a different territory. The workplace we left many months ago is unlikely to be the same when we return. We haven’t experienced anything like this before, most organizations don’t have plans in place on how to return to the workplace and if they do, they haven’t been tested and in these unprecedented times the reality is likely to be very different.

Using technology to keep your employees safe

Companies across the UK face so many challenges when it comes to opening their offices again, it can be hard to know the best way to ensure employee welfare is maintained.  We’ve pulled together the top 4 features to look out for in any people presence software:

Employee and guest screening

Screening all employees and guests before they come on-site ensures only those that meet your on-site criteria are granted access. Giving you and your employees confidence that only those people who meet your organizations wellness criteria are able to gain access.

It’s also incredibly beneficial to get alerted when you encounter a person who does not meet your criteria so they can be added to a watchlist and automatically denied should they attempt to gain access.

Touchless sign in/out

The less surfaces we all touch in the workplace the better for slowing the spread of germs. Ensure your software has the option for employees and guests to enter and exit your location using a touchless kiosk, QR code poster, mobile app or via the front of house team. These systems reduce health risks, improve overall hygiene, and create peace of mind for anyone entering or exiting your organization.

On-site policy acknowledgement

To maintain the highest level of hygiene for your employees and guests. Having the ability to ask everyone entering your location to read and acknowledge your onsite policies. This could be as simple as asking them to agree that they will use hand sanitiser or keep 2 meters from another person. Ensure that any question not answered correctly someone in your team can be notified and access to denied.

Limit numbers on-site

Automatically set the number of people allowed to be on-site at any one time rather than leaving it up to an individual. This feature removes the responsibility on the  front of house team or security team ensuring anyone attempting to gain access when on-site numbers are met are denied and one of your employees are notified. A great feature for managing on-site social distancing.

WhosOnLocation offers these and other features to help you keep your organization and those within it safe and secure. Click here to learn more.

3 minutes read time

A hybrid style of work is here to stay

More so than ever are we working remotely, with employers needing to rethink office space, collaboration, and requirements within the workplace. As the world population slowly becomes vaccinated, questions are arising as to what the future of the workplace will be. A hybrid style of work is attracting attention, with employees having the ability to work in multiple different spaces, including corporate offices, coworking spaces, public spaces, and most commonly, from home.

What is a hybrid style of work?

A hybrid workplace supports every style of work, with employees confirming that at the heart of this is their desire for flexibility. This offers employees a seamless experience and gives them a greater sense of control and freedom with how they work.

Flexible work is here to stay, so it is essential that employers harness this knowledge and create a workspace that aids collaboration and suits the new style of work employees are demanding. Another significant consideration is an increased focus on employee wellbeing, improving inclusion within the workplace, whether a worker is remote or full-time back in the workplace.

What does this mean for your business?

Warren Buffet acknowledged that “the supply and demand for office space has changed significantly … and when change happens in the world, you adjust to it”. Employers that fail to harness this new style of working will fall behind, with this creating an opportunity for companies to validate employees’ concerns and provide an environment where each individual can succeed.

How can WhosOnLocation help?

WhosOnLocation can help to ensure a safe environment for employees choosing to work collaboratively and come into their workplace. We can provide up-to-date information with how many individuals are onsite at once, ensuring that there is a limit to the number of employees within the workplace, guaranteeing that physical distancing occurs. 

Health screening questions can also be included for all individuals coming on-site, including custom questions such as ‘Have you experienced flu-like symptoms in the past 14 days?”.

Top 5 benefits of a hybrid workplace

  1. Working from home allows employees to complete uninterrupted work, avoiding distractions that would usually occur within an office. On average, remote workers are 20-25% more effective when working at home, emphasizing the success of spending a few days a week at home.
  2. Employers have more time to spend on their own mental health and wellbeing after avoiding commutes to and from work each day, greatly increasing their spare recreational time with family and friends.
  3. Flexible work hours, as employees have the ability to choose the hours they work whilst still ensuring they complete their dedicated 8 hours.
  4. Office spaces can be transformed into more collaborative areas for when employees come into the office, helping to provide the sense of ‘team’ when they are all together.
  5. An increased emphasis on productivity rather than efficiency. Management has switched its focus to supporting team members with the resources they need to complete a project rather than viewing it as simply hours inputted equalling to work output 
  6. Increased savings for employers as office space is required less, therefore decreasing the amount spent on rental costs. Additionally, employees are also saving as they are now spending less time and money on a commute to work

New to WhosOnLocation?

Get started with a FREE 30-day trial today. No credit card required.

4 minutes read time

Use WhosOnLocation to meet government and organizational sign-in and contact tracing needs.

Most businesses globally are required to display a government-issued QR code which those entering their workplace need to scan. But asking your visitors to sign in to both WhosOnLocation and then a separate process for the government-issued QR code could be viewed as a cumbersome process and poor visitor experience. 

Good news, using existing tools available in your WhosOnLocation visitor sign in process you can now combine your standard WhosOnLocation sign in experience with your government-issued QR code.

Government-issued QR code

Governments globally are mandating the use of QR code posters to help with contact tracing. All visitors and employees are required to scan the government-issued QR code with their smartphones before entering a business. In the unfortunate event that a case of COVID-19 is reported, the government can use this data to trace the scope of the community and workplace outbreak and reach out to any close contacts to reduce the likelihood of further transmission.

Complementary protection

By combining the government-issued QR code system with your WhosOnLocation subscription you are adding an additional tool to your risk management strategy. Allowing you to:

  • Screen those coming on-site and identify anyone that may pose a risk to those people in your duty of care; your employees and other guests.
  • Deliver a seamless sign-in experience for your guests. 
  • Meet your compliance obligations regarding government-mandated contact tracing without having to choose between the government QR code and your people presence system.
  • Support social distancing guidelines by setting occupancy limits within your WhosOnLocation account. These will then alert you when total occupancy is nearing or has breached, these limits.
  • Easily access comprehensive people presence reporting in the unfortunate event of an alert that your workplace might have been exposed to a person of risk.

How do the two systems work together?

You can choose from three options to combine the two systems depending on the experience you want to offer your employees and guests.

Option 1 – Add the government QR code to your kiosk sign-in process

When employees and guests arrive on-site they:

  1. Follow the normal kiosk sign in process.
  2. Scan the government-issued QR code when presented with the question on the kiosk.
  3. Complete the sign in process.

Option 2 – Add the government QR code to your touchless sign-in process

When employees and guests arrive on-site they:

  1. Scan the QR code on your kiosk/poster to start the touchless sign-in process. 
  2. Follow the normal sign in process, at the end direct users to scan the government QR code poster.

Tip: As a back up we recommend having your government QR code poster displayed in your reception and at all entry points for those who can’t sign in using a smartphone.

Option 3 – QR code poster

If you don’t want to make changes to your kiosk sign in process or only use our QR code posters, we have a poster option available. When an employee or guest arrives on-site they will need to follow the steps on the poster:

  • Scan the government QR code. 
  • Scan the WhosOnLocation QR code and enter their details, answering any questions required to complete your normal sign-in process. 

To add your unique QR codes and branding to the poster we have created a design file you can edit.

Commonly asked questions

What if I already use a visitor management system can’t I provide a report from this? Unfortunately, the new rules require organizations to use government-issued QR code. Remember, the government contact tracing systems are not visitor management systems. They do not ask visitors to select a host, they do not capture other information like vehicle parking details, or ask the visitor to sign waivers or NDA’s or any of the other common visitor management workflows. 

Your visitor management system will give you detailed information of who came on-site and who they met with, it’s important to remember the government does not want to have to look through every organization’s visitor management reporting, which will differ from customer to customer.

Do any people presence systems integrate with the government-issued QR codes? Not with the government-mandated QR code systems, we are aware of. 

Will WhosOnLocation be integrated with the government-issued QR code systems? No, the government-mandated QR codes are intended for government contact tracing only. This is to help officials easily track and contain an outbreak from a single system. However, you can use the government-issued QR code service alongside WhosOnLocation. 

Need help getting set up or have additional questions?

Please reach out to our friendly Support Team.

2 minutes read time

Working from home, and the desire for social interaction

A vast majority of employees surveyed voiced opinions of their desire to regain daily interaction with colleagues, along with wanting to maintain relationships with clients and stakeholders. However, to return safely to the workplace, protective measures will need to be considered to ensure that each worker feels safe and comfortable in their office environment. How can Whosonlocation help?


Daily contract tracing

Contract tracing is a core disease control measure, helping to prevent further transmission of the virus by quickly identifying and notifying people who may be infected and contagious. 

Whosonlocation has the ability to track all individuals who have entered the building in one day, and therefore the employer can notify any individual who came in contact with an infected person in their building.

Limiting number of people on site

39% of respondents indicated that limiting the number of individuals onsite would also ease concerns of returning to the workplace, ensuring that social distancing occurred. With Whosonlocation, employers can set a maximum occupancy to limit the number of people that are permitted on-site, and once the limit is reached any further attempts to sign in will fail.

With features like contract tracing and limiting the number of occupants in a workplace, employees can return with confidence that they will remain safe throughout this continuing pandemic. This enables collaboration and connection between workers to resume, with CEO of Apple expressing that working from home is “not like being together physically… I can’t wait for everybody to be able to come back into the office.”

Touchless entry/exit

Touchless entry and exit reduces the spread of germs by eliminating the risk of transmission through high-touch surfaces, with Whosonocation offering touchless entry for employees, contractors, and visitors. 30% of respondents indicated that touch-free sign-in and out would be highly valued, helping to minimize the risk of spreading the virus, and reducing wait times. Visitors will have the ability to sign in using our WolMobile app or scan a QR code and sign in from their smartphone’s browser. No app download required.

Part three of this series focuses on a hybrid workplace, follow along to hear how Whosonlocation can help your company


New to WhosOnLocation?

Get started with a FREE 30 day trial today. No credit card required.

2 minutes read time

Inclusive Technology: WhosOnLocation accessibility kiosk

In the past two decades, rapidly changing digital technology has become an integral part of our life. The tools, systems, and devices allow us to manage our day-to-day life efficiently. Workplaces rely on technology to make communication quicker, drive productivity, and improve on-site safety. Therefore, it is critical for employers to ensure that digital tools are accessible and straightforward to use for their employees, contractors, and visitors rather than becoming a barrier for those with disabilities.

Accessibility, in relation to technology, refers to digital content that can be successfully used by as many people as possible, including those with disabilities. More companies are committing to developing digital products that consider everyone’s needs. In practice, accessible technology offers built-in customizable features, for example, screen contrast and text size choice or screen reader capabilities.

Modern: a new theme for the sign-in kiosk

We are pleased to introduce modern, a new default theme for our kiosk that is accessible and easier to navigate for all users, including those with disabilities.

Why are we making the improvements?

WhosOnLocation believes that technology should be inclusive and consider everyone’s needs. We are committed to improving our product to ensure it’s easy to navigate for all users and meets global accessibility standards. We are proud that our modern theme makes the sign-in/out kiosk fully compliant with Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG).

What is the kiosk’s modern theme?

A kiosk using the modern theme offers a simplified design, increased font size, and enhanced color contrast. Also, the interactive elements are designed in a more prominent and visible way. These improvements allow easier and more straightforward navigation through the sign-in process, also for people who are visually impaired, color blind, or contrast impaired. The modern theme is compatible with screen readers and allows keyboard-only navigation.

Ready to get started? 

New to WhosOnLocation?

Switch your kiosk theme to modern and improve your organization’s sign-in/out experience. It’s easy: visit our Help Center for step-by-step instructions on getting started.

Get started with a FREE 30 day trial today. No credit card required.

5 minutes read time

Survey Finds Majority of Professionals Expect to Be Back in Office Full Time by Q4, Confirms Heightened Health and Safety Concerns

Worries regarding return to work include office hygiene, occupancy, commute exposure, and reliable contact tracing

BETHESDA, MD., May 13, 2021, 9:00 a.m. ET – According to the 2021 Return to the Office Survey published today by Brivo, the global leader in cloud access control and related technologies, and WhosOnLocation, a provider of people presence management software, 53% of workers expect to be back in a physical office full-time within the next six months. However, 59% of respondents have expressed health and safety concerns about returning, with the highest levels of anxiety emerging from personnel in professional services, such as finance, IT, recruitment/HR (72%), and creative services, including voluntary/charity workers, marketing/PR, arts & design (62%).

According to respondents, the biggest concerns about returning to work are:

  • Office hygiene and protective measures
  • Proximity to other workers
  • Exposure during commuting
  • Effectiveness of contact tracing

As outlined on Brivo’s Commercial Reopening Index, 58% of the U.S. is reopened with agriculture/forestry/fishing, construction, and retail as the top three reopened industries.

“As COVID vaccines roll out, organizations that have been operating remotely or at lower capacities are now planning for a return to offices and other workplaces. While some may remain remote permanently, those who are returning need to address health and safety,” said Steve Van Till, CEO, and founder of Brivo. “People need simple, practical ways to enforce contact tracing, social distancing, and healthy building requirements.”

Darren Whitaker-Barnett, CEO of WhosOnLocation, added, “Despite the shift to remote and hybrid work arrangements during the pandemic, it’s clear that the office still plays an integral role in driving culture and collaboration. Flexible technology will help organizations welcome employees back to the office while ensuring the health and wellbeing of everyone on site.”

When asked which solutions would give them the most confidence in returning, the results showed that 49% prefer temperature scanning as the main solution, with limiting the number of people on site (39%), touchless door entry (34%), and mask detection (32%) close behind. Touch-free sign-in and sign-out for contact tracing and social distancing measures were also highlighted, at 30% and 29% respectively.

For workers who remained in offices throughout the pandemic, the vast majority have been satisfied with the practices, protocols, and technologies that their organizations have implemented to protect them against COVID-19. The most common protective measures include providing masks, hand sanitizer, or other gear (73%); increasing cleaning protocols (59%); enforcing physical distancing (55%); and requiring temperature checks or thermal scanning for on-site access (48%).

Brivo and WhosOnLocation provide technology solutions to help businesses protect the health and safety of their employees, customers, contractors, visitors, students, and residents as they re-enter facilities. Organizations can leverage the Brivo Facility Safety Features and WhosOnLocation’s presence management solutions to protect everyone in their buildings and improve access control and on-site safety and security in the ‘new normal.’ Tools include occupancy tracking, contact reporting, personnel control, visitor management and reporting, touchless sign-in and mobile self-screening.

Complete Results

Complete results are available via the Brivo website in the 2021 Brivo Return to Work Report: Transitioning Back to The Office After COVID, which details why businesses are returning to the office, how COVID has changed employee needs and ways employers can address workplace concerns through touchless technology and access control.

Methodology

This survey was conducted via email in March 2021, using an audience of Survey Monkey users as respondents. Five hundred thirty-eight people took the survey. Responses came from all U.S. states except Vermont and Wyoming, with the highest numbers coming from California, Florida, New York, and Texas. Twenty-five industries were represented with the highest percentages from healthcare, IT/computing, retail, and education. A plurality of respondents occupied the staff level (44.2%), followed by manager (26%), administrator/associate (16%), director (6%), C-suite (6%), and vice president (1.38%). Slightly more males than females (52% to 49%) participated. Age brackets broke down as follows: 45-60: 33%; 30-44: 31% 18-29: 22%; 60 and older: 14%. 

About Brivo

Brivo is the global leader in mobile, cloud-based access control for commercial real estate, multifamily residential, and large distributed enterprises. Our comprehensive product ecosystem and open API provide businesses with powerful digital tools to increase security automation, elevate employee and tenant experience, and improve the safety of all people and assets in the built environment. Having created the category over twenty years ago, our building access platform is now the digital foundation for the largest collection of customer facilities in the world, trusted by more than 25 million users occupying over 300M square feet of secured space in 42 countries.

Our dedication to simply better security means providing the best technology and support to property owners, managers, and tenants as they look for more from buildings where they live, work, and play. Our comprehensive product suite includes access control, smart readers, touchless mobile credentials, visitor management, occupancy monitoring, health and safety features, and integrated video surveillance, smart locks, and intercoms. Valued for its simple installation, high-reliability backbone, and rich API partner network, Brivo also has the longest track record of cybersecurity audits and privacy protections in the industry.

Brivo is privately held and headquartered in Bethesda, Maryland. Learn more at www.Brivo.com 

About WhosOnLocation

WhosOnLocation, an MRI Software company, provides people presence management software to monitor the safe and secure movement of people through buildings and work sites. Our powerful, cloud-based solution unites visitor, contractor, employee, and emergency management, enabling organizations to secure their facilities and ensure the safety of every person on-site. Armed with a rich, unified source of people presence information, our users are empowered to make more strategic, data-driven decisions that mitigate risk, reduce overhead costs, and streamline operations. Compliant with ISO:27001 2013 for Information Security Management. WhosOnLocation serves organizations in 42 countries around the world and manages over 60 million secure movements through thousands of locations each year.

For more information, visit www.whosonlocation.com.

4 minutes read time

Learnings from Facilities Integrate

Just before the Christmas break, our sales executive James attended Facilities Integrate in Auckland, New Zealand. With most trade shows across the world canceled or postponed in 2020, we felt incredibly lucky to have an opportunity to attend a non-virtual event.

It was fantastic to meet with customers (both existing and prospective) in person, and catch up on the impact such a turbulent year has had on your businesses. 

We noticed a few common themes in the conversations we were having with attendees. In the midst of a pandemic, processes have had to change. We caught up with James to hear what his key takeaways from the event were.

Facilities Integrate

James, first off, can you tell us a little more about Facilities Integrate?

Facilities Integrate is a trade event specifically for facilities managers. It’s a great opportunity to network with peers in the same industry, try out the latest equipment and technologies, source the best suppliers and generally keep on top of what’s happening in the facilities space. I feel very lucky to have been able to talk to our customers in person again!

I’ll bet. When talking to the attendees, what did you notice was the biggest challenge facing facilities managers during the COVID-19 pandemic? 

Contact tracing came up a lot. More specifically, facilities managers were looking for flexible solutions to make signing in as easy as possible for everyone. 

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, the majority of our customers understood the importance of signing in visitors. However, it was generally the high security or hazardous sites that were concerned with signing in employees and contractors, too. With the COVID-19 pandemic, that’s all changed. 

Now, every workplace has a responsibility to protect the health of those working in its duty of care. One of the most crucial ways to do this is through contact tracing. This means signing everyone in each day is more important than ever. Lots of the facilities managers were looking for easy ways to turn signing in and out into a habit for employees. 

How can WhosOnLocation help with that? 

WhosOnLocation offers an incredibly flexible platform with 12 different ways to sign in – so there’s something for every workplace, and every employee. We often find our customers will use a few different methods at one site, to make it as easy as possible for employees to remember to sign in. 

Which methods are the most popular?

Some employees prefer to download the WolMobile app on their smartphone and use the auto sign in/out feature. This is the most foolproof way of ensuring everyone on-site is accounted for. It uses geofencing technology to update on-site status. Employees and contractors don’t even need to lift a finger.

Others might prefer to sign in using a touch screen kiosk in reception. Or scan a card to sign in with one simple step. Or even just provide their name to the front of house staff. 

Offering a variety of methods makes it easier to sign everyone in. So you can be safe in the knowledge your contact tracing processes are as robust as possible. 

Is there a method that’s preferred by customers? 

The kiosk (using an iPad or tablet) is the most common way to sign in. This is especially the case now we have released our touchless kiosk feature. By setting your kiosk to touchless mode, you can now present a QR code on the screen. Guests scan the code to sign in from their own smartphone. 

Employees, contractors and visitors simply scan the code to see the entire kiosk experience replicated in their browser. It’s been a game-changer during COVID, as customers looked for a more hygienic, hands-free alternative to the sign-in kiosk. 

Did QR code posters come up in conversation at the event at all? 

Great question – it was really exciting to demo QR code posters for the first time at the event. These posters are an easy, low-cost way to deploy WhosOnLocation, as no expensive kiosk hardware is required.  

They’re also a great way to make your sign-in process more robust. If you have multiple doors, you can use posters at each access point. This helps to capture any employees or contractors who use side entrances to enter or leave.

New to WhosOnLocation? 

All features mentioned are available in a single subscription cost. Start your free trial today – no credit card required. 

4 minutes read time

Start the year right – a software update checklist

The start of a new year is a great time to tackle some admin. It’s time to put our minds to all those jobs we’ve been putting off until ‘after Christmas’ and start the year as we mean to go on. One of the job’s on your list is likely to involve updating your IT systems and carrying out a software update – ensuring you have the correct team contact information in your accounts, you’re running on the most updated versions, and your processes are all up-to-date.  

Keep on top of changes

Aside from the usual system and software update, there are a number of other things to check.  If you’ve had members of your team move to new roles or change companies in recent months, it’s likely you’ll have some tidying up to do. Health and safety software relies on up-to-date information to ensure the right people are on hand in an emergency, and your data is correct and ready for auditing. WhosOnLocation is no different.

WhosOnLocation has also released some great new features, and is discontinuing WolMobile Legacy, so now’s a great opportunity to check you’re getting the most out of your subscription. Get started with this handy checklist:

Remove access

Once a team member has switched roles, it’s important to review their system access. We’re all in the habit of closing email addresses and revoking badge passes, but what about the other systems they’ve been using? 

If out of date contact details are listed in your account, important information could be going to the wrong people. Take some time to review who’s listed as an admin or account owner, and ensure your safety processes are foolproof. 

Review your triggers

Similarly, it’s important to review who is listed as a point of contact for the automated processes in your account. Triggers can be used for all sorts of alerts. You can receive a notification if a contractor has an expired safety induction, or if someone signs in against your health policy. Review the contacts you have listed to receive these alerts to ensure your procedures are robust. 

Update to the latest versions

We’re all guilty of putting off a system and software update until the last minute. This can have a real impact on productivity and performance in the long run. 

At WhosOnLocation, we released a much-improved version of WolMobile around this time last year. Check you’re on the latest version to make the most of new and improved safety features. Start your migration and ensure a smooth transition once the old app is turned off. Here are five reasons to migrate today. 

Tidy up your employee profile information

One of our more recent updates gives you a great excuse to revisit the information you store against your employee and contractor profiles in WhosOnLocation. Custom Fields gives you the ability to tailor the information you store, so you can get as specific as you need. Need to record an employee’s eligibility to work? Or log your contractors’ vehicle registrations? Create the fields you need and edit as you go. 

Automatically erase old records

We recently improved our automatic erase feature to include employees and service providers as well as visitors. It’s likely you’ll have a huge amount of sign in/out data stored in your account. Tidy up your records and strengthen your privacy measures by automatically erasing records after a set amount of time.

Move on from Internet Explorer

If you haven’t heard, Microsoft will be ending support for Internet Explorer from August 2020. Microsoft is encouraging all users to move to Microsoft Edge instead. WhosOnLocation will be following suit, so make sure your kiosks are running on a supported browser.

5 minutes read time

2020 wrap-up: the year that didn’t go to plan

2020 has thrown everything but the kitchen sink at all of us. At WhosOnLocation, we count ourselves very lucky to have been in a position to keep business running, with our team working remotely as required. Our main focus has been to help our customers keep their people safe, and that’s led to a lot of new features! In fact, there’s been so much development going on, we caught up with UX designer Karl Weber for our 2020 wrap-up. 

2020 wrap-up

We started the year with some improvements to our geolocation report, with a cleaner design and the ability to view historical records.

In March, we scrapped the rest of our carefully made plans, threw the roadmap out of the window and began reacting to our customer’s needs. 

First, we tackled working remotely, allowing customers to know who was working, even as offices and facilities closed. This was soon followed by hygienic touchless kiosks, QR code posters and the ability to ask custom health screening questions in WolMobile and with the sign-in/out manager. 

We finished the year with custom fields, an integration with Amazon’s Alexa and 8 new languages. Phew!

The highlights

With so many fantastic releases this year, we caught up with our UX designer Karl to uncover his favorites for our 2020 wrap-up.

It’s been a busy year for the dev team – which of the new features do you think is the biggest game-changer?

That’s a tough call – there have been some big changes this year. The new touchless functionality with QR code posters and more widespread custom question support is the most visible and obvious improvement, but I think custom fields has the potential to really shake things up. 

Being able to completely customize employee and service provider profiles with any information makes the whole system much more flexible. From a design standpoint, the drag-and-drop field creation workflow has a lot of potential to improve the rest of the application, too.

Nice – so what led us to develop custom fields?

Customer requests (so many)! Custom fields may seem a relatively niche feature on the surface, but for the customers who need them, it makes a big difference. We had many requests to add specific fields over the years, as well as some large enterprise customers who needed the flexibility of completely custom fields.

Any tips to getting the best out of custom fields? 

We’re currently working on combining custom fields with triggers, and this is where things can get really interesting. The person field, time, and phone number fields allow for some really powerful behaviors. For example, you could add a field for an employee’s teammates and then set up a trigger to notify all of them if that employee is signed into a hazardous zone (or remote work) for longer than expected. Or you could define an employee’s standard work hours and then notify them or their supervisor if they forget to sign in. 

So that’s your favorite. What about the customers? Which feature had the best uptake this year? 

Touchless kiosks, without a doubt. 32% of all customers are using touchless kiosks, which is a huge uptake in a short space of time. This all comes down to hygiene and contact tracing. It’s been a very difficult year for everyone, and as lockdowns are lifted and people go back to work, COVID-19 has brought some unique challenges for organizations to be able to operate in a safe and responsible way. 

Touchless kiosks allow our customers to keep accurate records of who has been on-site for contact tracing while maintaining social-distancing. 

So on the other side of the coin, which feature would get the award for ‘unsung hero’? 

The Alexa integration! We’ve been playing with it in the office and it’s already really useful. Being able to have Alexa greet visitors by name and tell them where to go, announce to the office that a delivery has arrived and say who it is for, or remind the last person on-site to check the balcony door and turn off the lights is a game-changer. It’s only in its infancy, but the ability to connect to the internet-of-things and interact with people in a more human way is the next step for smart-offices.

Any hints as to what we can expect to see next year? 

Lots more. I don’t want to say too much but we’re already working on a few big things. Custom Questions for pre-registered visitors is going to be interesting and will strengthen the rest of the touchless sign-in feature-set. It will allow our users to invite guests to an event, and then send them a request to complete their visitor profile. This can include any basic questions as well as custom questionnaires, so the customer can have all of the information they need, and the experience when the visitor arrives on site will be even more seamless. 

Get started

That’s it for our 2020 wrap-up. All of the features mentioned are available today, and included in your WhosOnLocation subscription. Visit our Help Center for step-by-step instructions on enabling all of our features. 

New to WhosOnlocation? 

Get started with a FREE 30 day trial today. No credit card required. 

5 minutes read time

Zoning: managing hazardous sites

Do you manage safety in a manufacturing plant or on a construction site? When it comes to managing hazardous sites, you could be missing a simple step… 

Taking safety seriously

Manufacturing plants and construction sites are some of the most hazardous worksites around. As a result, an EHS team’s number one priority is to ensure everyone returns home safely at the end of the working day. 

As technology improves, it’s important to re-visit your processes regularly. Not only could you be missing out on simple steps to improve safety for your teams, but you could be missing easy wins. By automating the processes that keep the people working in dangerous areas safe, you’ll have peace of mind your hazardous zone management is taken care of. Plus, you’ll be able to easily report on this great work when meeting with management.

Let’s take a look at some of the technology you could be missing out on.

Processes for managing hazardous sites

WhosOnLocation allows you to track, monitor, and report on who is on-site at any given time – great for managing hazardous sites. Looking beyond traditional visitor management, it’s packed with features designed to help keep your employees and contractors safe. These include lone worker management, SOS alerts, and geolocation tracking (to name but a few). 

Our latest update means one of our most powerful features is now even easier (and cost-effective) to deploy. 

Managing hazardous sites with interzone kiosks

Our Interzone kiosk feature has been widely used by manufacturing and construction customers for a number of years for managing hazardous sites. This feature allows you to place a self-serve ‘kiosk’ (usually an iPad or tablet) at the entrance to hazardous zones. This means anyone entering the zone must log their details before moving into the high-risk area.

What’s changed? 

For larger facilities, it wasn’t always practical to place and maintain expensive hardware at every access point. For instance, imagine a manufacturing plant with over 50 doors, or a construction site with outdoor access points. 

We’ve solved this in our latest rollout, allowing customers to print QR codes onto posters instead. Place these posters at each entry and exit point for a cost effective and practical solution. Anyone signing in to hazardous areas can scan these codes on their smartphone, and complete the sign-in process from their browser.

QR code poster

Why use Interzone? 

We’ll use a manufacturing plant as an example. Let’s say your plant has a number of factories. 

  • In factory 1, heavy machinery operating overhead means hard hats must always be worn. 
  • Factory 2 uses hazardous chemicals and requires protective clothing. Only those with a specialized qualification can enter this zone.
  • In factory 3, the temperature-controlled environment is only safe to work in for 15 minutes at a time. Anyone entering this factory must have taken a safety induction in the last 30 days.

By setting up a different QR code poster for each factory, you can ensure you meet the needs of each environment and manage your hazardous sites effectively. For example, you could tailor the questions you ask during the sign in process, and the automated alerts you receive. For example:  

  • Factory 1 – Use acknowledgment notices to ask everyone to agree to wear a hard hat and high vis vest at all times. Receive alerts if they don’t tap ‘agree’, and keep a record of who did and didn’t acknowledge this notice. Great for reporting and managing your compliance!
  • Factory 2 – Use custom questions to check each person has picked up their protective clothing from reception. Upload qualification records against your employee and contractor profiles to receive automated alerts if someone without a qualification attempts to sign in. You could even link this with your access control system and keep the door locked if your conditions aren’t met.
  • Factory 3 – Deny access to anyone without a recorded safety induction against their profile and receive alerts if someone without an induction attempts to sign in. Ask employees, contractors, and visitors to read and sign their name against your safety notice, and receive alerts if they haven’t signed out of the area 15 minutes later. 

Security and best practice

Unlike our online, touchless kiosks, the QR code on our posters can only be refreshed manually, by printing a new poster. 

To ensure your QR codes are used only as intended, and to minimize the risk of misuse, we recommend printing a new QR code poster once a month.

How easy is it to get set up? 

You can enable as much or as little of this functionality as you like – our Help Center articles will walk you through the process. Don’t forget, our world-class support team is always on hand when required, too.

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We’ve made employee security even easier

In small organizations, knowing who’s permitted on-site is easy. But what happens when you reach thousands of employees across multiple sites? Bigger businesses carry bigger risks, and tightening up your employee security is an iterative process. 

Our latest feature update is a great example of this. Hosted employees gives you tighter control over global roamers. 

Employee security – Global roamers

Global roamers are employees who have access to multiple locations within an organization. Imagine a regional manager, who often travels between sites for meetings. 

With global roamer status, employees are able to come and go between locations as they please. For many sites, this may not be an issue. But when it comes to tighter security restrictions or special safety requirements, how can you ensure you’re notified of a visiting employee? 

Employee access comes with security risks

According to the 2019 Global Data Risk Report, employee access to data is leaving companies at risk. 55% of companies had over 1,000 sensitive files open to every employee. Across the whole data set, 22% of all files were exposed to all employees. 

When employees have access to sensitive data beyond that required for their role, you leave your organization vulnerable to leaks and data breaches.

This isn’t just a digital problem. By giving location access to employees from different teams, we are exposing our physical data too – whiteboards marked with the monthly stats, print outs left at reception, conversations overheard in the hallway… 

So how can we tighten up employee security between teams to ensure employees are only able to access the areas and information they need? 

Hosted employees

In the visitor management context, we’re all fairly familiar with the idea of hosting a visitor. We wouldn’t allow visitors to enter a facility unaccompanied and without record, so the process tends to follow similar steps. For example, using WhosOnLocation: 

  1. A visit can be pre-registered by sending the visitor a calendar invite
  2. This can be automatically followed up with a WolPass email, including a map, directions, car park instructions, the nearest cafe… and any other customizable information required. 
  3. Once the visitor arrives, they sign in (usually at the kiosk) and select their ‘host’ by searching for the employee’s name. 
  4. The host is notified and greets the visitor. 

Our latest update applies the same steps to visiting employees, for greater control and oversight of who’s on-site. 

These settings can also be set to ‘required’ so a visiting employee must select a colleague from that location to host them. 

Benefits of assigning a host

By assigning a visiting employee a host, you ensure someone in your facility is aware they’ve arrived on-site. If they aren’t permitted on-site, you have a record of their sign-in attempt and can alert security.

If they are permitted on-site, the host will receive a notification detailing the entrance they’ve arrived through, so they can be on hand to greet the visiting employee and escort them between meetings. This ensures they are only visiting areas of the facility they are permitted to access. 

Finally, by automating this host arrival notification, you also free up busy receptionists. Your front of house team no longer needs to contact meeting attendees on the visiting employer’s behalf. 

Ready to get started?

All of the features mentioned are available today and included in your WhosOnLocation subscription. Visit our Help Center for more information on enabling hosted employees to tighten your employee security today.

New to WhosOnlocation?

Get started with a FREE 30 day trial today. No credit card required. 

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Choosing a touchless sign in solution

Organizations are looking for ways to protect their people like never before. As we consider returning to work or opening our doors to visitors again, we all need to review our processes. How do we mitigate the risk of COVID-19 in the workplace? Choosing a touchless sign in solution is a great place to start.

How to return to work safely

There’s a lot to consider when re-opening our facilities. We recently put together this handy white paper to help guide the process. 

When it comes to the essentials of safety, there are two main questions you’ll need to ask yourself. In the face of an outbreak of COVID-19 within your organization, how will you: 

  1. Trace everyone who came into contact with affected individuals?
  2. Log everyone coming on-site in a hygienic, touch-free way?

Why do I need contact tracing software?

As a business owner, you might assume you can alert all staff of an outbreak of the virus and be done. But what about the visitors who came on-site during the incubation period? What about the contractors who passed through last Wednesday afternoon? 

By formalizing your process for recording who’s on or off-site, you ensure you’re able to account for everyone who was exposed to risk whilst working in your duty of care. 

Choosing a touchless sign in solution

For organizations, a visitor management system is the most robust way to carry out contact tracing. The majority of these systems were originally built for a self-serve, touch screen kiosk. These are no longer viable as we look for hygienic solutions.

Enter: touchless sign in. The market has adapted quickly to the needs of businesses, and many providers now offer a touchless sign in solution. However, the speed to market meant not all solutions were created equal. There are a few questions to consider when choosing a touchless sign in solution… 

Does it service walk-in visitors? 

The majority of touchless sign in solutions on the market today are designed for pre-registered visitors only. They require all meetings to be booked in advance, and for the visitor to fill out their sign in details prior to arriving on-site. 

But what about visitors who turn up unannounced? Contractors, who arrive a day early? Meetings you forgot to register with the front-of-house team? If we’re really going to mitigate risk and account for everyone on-site, we need to be prepared for the unexpected. 

WhosOnLocation’s touchless solution allows for walk-in visitors to scan a QR code and sign in from their smartphone – no pre-registration required. 

Will my visitors need to download an app? 

Keep an eye out for providers who’s touchless sign in solution requires visitors to download a smartphone app – this can cause friction.

When choosing a touchless sign in solution, think about your one-off visitors. Walk in visitors may experience frustration at the need to download and grant permissions to an app on their personal smartphone, and those who aren’t tech savvy won’t be able to sign in with ease.

WhosOnLocation has kept the process as simple as possible, with browser-based sign in

What about employees and service providers? 

Contact tracing doesn’t begin and end with visitors. You’ll need to ensure your solution allows everyone coming on-site to sign in hygienically. That’s why WhosOnLocation’s touchless feature allows visitors, service providers and employees to sign in, and delivery drivers to register packages touch-free, too.

Can I screen who comes on-site?

Aside from contact tracing, a touchless sign in solution can also help you prevent access to those displaying symptoms before they come on-site. Check your provider supports custom questions, so you can tailor the sign in process to your own pandemic policy. 

With WhosOnLocation, you can set up automated rules (triggers) to deny access to those who pose a risk, and notify the appropriate person on-site. 

How secure is it? 

Giving visitors the ability to scan a QR code and sign in from their smartphones poses a new set of security concerns for businesses. What if someone maliciously distributed the QR code for bogus sign ins?

As an ISO 27001 accredited company, WhosOnLocation has ensured touchless sign in is only used as intended. The QR code is automatically refreshed after each use to ensure the person signing is in really on-site. Once signed in, guests only have access to the sign out page, and there’s a limit to the number of times a guest can search for employees to visit.

Does it include all the functionality I’d expect? 

For the most part, touchless visitor management features don’t currently support all the features you get in the standard, touch-screen format. For example, you might find visitor photo capture is available on the kiosk, but not for touchless.

WhosOnLocation has delivered a solution which 100% replicates the function of the kiosk, including:

  • Badge pass printing
  • Multi language support
  • Photo capture
  • Custom questions
  • Signature capture for NDAs
  • Acknowledgment notices

New to WhosOnLocation?

Try it for free with a 30 day trial. No credit card required.