Category: Pandemic management

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.

3 minutes read time

Transitioning back to the office: where to from here?

It is predicted that more than half of Americans, roughly 53%, are expected to return to the workplace full time within the next six months encouraged by the desire for daily human interaction, the need to reconnect with clients and stakeholders, and employers’ requirements.

However, in the ever-changing world that we are now experiencing due to the pandemic, it is clear that appropriate measures need to be taken to ensure the safety of all employees in the workplace. Brivo, a company which provides cloud-based access control and video surveillance products, collaborated with Whosonlocation to conduct a  ‘2021 Return to the Office’ survey which voiced the concerns people possessed including the need for increased vigilance for office hygiene (including protective measures), tools to ensure proximity among workers, and the tracing of all interactions that take place within the office.

59% of survey respondents indicated that they have worries to return to the office, and acknowledged the measures that could be taken to combat these. So what was indicated? 


Temperature scanning & mask detection

The temperature scanning method was most favored among survey respondents with 49% indicating this as their preferred solution within the workplace. Nonetheless, it needs to be understood that often this method only has value in specific contexts, with fever symptoms being far from universal among people who become infected with the virus. Another solution that arose throughout the survey was mask detection when entering the workplace to limit exposure, however, a mask alone is not guaranteed to stop infections.

Limiting numbers on-site

39% of individuals also mentioned that limiting the number of people on-site at their respective offices would give them confidence in returning, ensuring that physical distancing could take place at all times throughout the workday. 

Touchless door entry

Limiting the number of hand-to-door interactions also trended within survey responses, a simple yet effective approach to limit the transmission of the virus. 

Digital proof of vaccination

Another suggestion from the respondents was the idea of visitors and contractors supplying a digital proof of their vaccine before entering the workplace to ensure the highest level of safety. This easy requirement will put employees at ease, reinforcing that safety is top priority. 

CEO of Curion, a Consumer Insights company, voiced that “what we are really missing is that creativity, and that spontaneity and the ingenuity and talking to your teammates face-to-face. The whole creativity has kind of been gutted without people being together. I’ve seen a big cultural effect of connecting to your co-workers.” Returning to the workplace will help employees to reconnect and collaborate. 

Part two of this series focuses on the changing workplace and the need for social interaction between employees. 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.

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

9/11 and Pandemic. What can we learn?

Guest post from Lee Odess

I found myself in a conversation last week with a group of security consultants, and we were discussing: What technology and learnings can we glean on the impact of COVID-19 on the commercial/office real estate and technology market by looking at what happened after the 9/11 terrorist attacks? What stuck and went away?

It was fascinating.

Here are some of the increased security practices and products they said stuck:

    • The use of metal detectors
    • Increased physical barriers
    • The check-in process at buildings for meetings went from business cards to using driver licenses or passports as identification.
    • Camera and surveillance technology, such as license plate technology, took off.
    • Aerial drones
    • A higher level of investment into artificial intelligence
    • Biometrics
    • Motion sensors
    • Thermal imaging

All true and most of the examples are technology applications. I found one area the most interesting: government funds propping up the real estate and commercial office industry.

After 9/11, New York City and other densely populated cities saw companies and tenants relocate. For some, it was necessary to rebuild, but in general, the fear of another attack on a densely populated area drove some to leave and move to the suburbs. In some respect, although caused by different events, we see similarities to the behavior now: a horrific event happens, and fear causes people and companies to rethink how and where they work and live.

What we saw the government do after 9/11 is where things get interesting. After 9/11, the local, state, and federal government opened up their checkbooks and started funding improvement projects and construction in those markets to help with the rebuilding. They used attraction and retention grants and subsidy programs to spark and drive construction projects for new commercial office space, restaurants, multifamily housing, and retail.

You can start to imagine the same response happening to counter the impacts of the pandemic.

As more and more companies publicize their moves to work from home, enterprises downsize office space, and individuals migrate to the suburbs, there will be a direct path to local, state, and federal offices. Why? For example, in the United States of America, and there are parallels worldwide, the short answer is that the commercial real estate industry is too vital to the economy and even more important to many who work in politics and around Capitol Hill.

Real estate donates a lot to political candidates and has a depth of lobbyists. There is a long history of this being true.

The #3 industry that mints billionaires? Real Estate.

A large amount of state and local tax revenue comes from corporate taxes and real estate taxes.

They will not allow cities and the economy to be destroyed.

What impacts do I think this will have?

I believe it will impact the retrofit and aftermarket more than new construction. The fit-out and updating of buildings with technology that instills trust and safety will be where the money flows. It will come with a message about “wellness.” The results will be a boom for HVAC (indoor air quality) and Security (access control and visitor management).

Note: Although historically sectors within real estate, like multifamily, rebound quicker coming out of recessions, real estate as a whole responds quickly to significant events. And government subsidies play a big part in why.

I believe that will be the most significant relatable trend from 9/11 that we can apply to how we might see the markets respond as we come out of this pandemic.

Lee Odess is one of the most accomplished and knowledgeable Building Access experts in the world.  He is the Founder of E+L+C, and former executive of Allegion, a billion-dollar manufacturer in the lock and access control industry. He also served as an Executive of Unikey, a start-up that pioneered the IoT/smart lock/smart physical access control industry and began his career as an Executive with the first cloud-based physical access control manufacturer, Brivo.

Currently, Lee is the founder of www.InsideAccessControl.com and www.InsideVisitorManagement.com, a media and blogging platform focused on the physical access control and visitor management industry, and Group337, a Growth Studio focused on business creation in the commercial real estate, proptech, and smart home markets for small to large companies in the security, access control, and IoT industry.

4 minutes read time

Health screening at every access point

Our latest feature release has made health screening even easier for your organization. You can now print and display QR code posters at every entry and exit point for quick and easy sign in/out. 

What is health screening? 

Health screening is a common practice in the current climate. It’s a way for organizations to check in with employees, contractors and visitors to understand if they are experiencing flu-like symptoms before they enter a facility. 

The most foolproof way to carry out health screening is to automate the process. By using a people presence solution like WhosOnLocation, you can set up custom questions that are asked every time someone signs into your facility.

Health screening at every access point  

Placing a self-serve, sign-in kiosk in your main reception is a fantastic way to trace who’s moving through your site. Especially if you set it to touchless mode, for hygienic sign in/out. Not only does this create a slick, professional experience for your guests, but it also allows you to print ID badges with ease. 

But what about facilities with multiple entry and exit points? It’s often not feasible to place and maintain sophisticated hardware at every side entrance, gate or warehouse. That’s where QR code posters come in… 

How do posters differ from kiosks?

Similar to touchless kiosks, our new posters display a QR code that can be scanned on the guests’ smartphone. Once scanned, the employee, visitor or contractor is asked to enter their information and answer any health screening questions. 

By removing the need to buy expensive hardware, these posters are great for outdoor locations, or for placing at every access point in a larger facility. 

However, it’s worth noting these posters don’t have the ability to print badge passes. We would still recommend using an online kiosk at your main reception, especially if you’re signing in visitors. 

QR code poster

No app download required

To make it as easy as possible to screen everyone on-site, we’ve ensured our QR codes open in the guest’s browser. This is particularly great for visitors – no one wants to download an app for a one-off visit!

Get specific with contact tracing

The brilliant thing about QR code posters is that they can also be used to zone your facility. This can be really helpful should you need to carry out contact tracing in your facility. 

By splitting your facility into zones, you can assign your employees and contractors to each zone depending on their role. For example, if your accounts team sits on the top floor of your building, you can zone this area off and create a QR code for this floor. 

This makes it much easier to trace who has come into close contact with an affected individual, and which areas of your facility may require additional cleaning in the case of an outbreak of COVID-19. 

Security and best practice

Unlike our online kiosks, QR code posters can only be refreshed manually. This is achieved by printing a new poster. 

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

Ready to get started with health screening and QR code posters? 

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 QR code posters. 

New to WhosOnlocation? 

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

5 minutes read time

Is my employer spying on me?

As many of us work from home under some form of COVID-19 restrictions, you may have wondered “Is my employer spying on me?”. 

Huge numbers of employees have been asked to download apps like Zoom and WolMobile. So it begs the question – can employers use this software to spy on us? 

How do I know if my employer is spying on me?

You may have heard rumours of employers using software to keep track of productivity and the use of company equipment. Let’s take a look at some of the common beliefs around employee privacy to see if they’re true. 

Employers have the right to carry out surveillance. True, sort of…

It’s true that some degree of employee surveillance is permitted – but this is usually only in the ways you would expect.

Generally speaking, an employer can monitor your activity at work so long as they have a valid business reason. This reason has to outweigh the employee’s right to privacy. 

For example, an employer wouldn’t be able to place a camera in a locker room, but they could justifiably record a phone conversation between yourself and a customer.

My employer can read my emails. True.  

Yes, an employer can access your business email and monitor the communication you send. However, this doesn’t mean your boss is scanning your emails every week. Or ever, for that matter. 

As you might expect, an employer is likely to access your emails only when they have a valid reason to. For example, when looking for evidence in support of a complaint such as workplace harassment or other gross misconduct. 

After all, business email is for business communications, so keep your private conversations to your personal accounts. 

My employer can track my location at all times with WolMobile. Not true. 

Customers often ask us if their employer can track their location at all times when using WolMobile to stay safe at work. In short, the answer is no. 

WolMobile uses location services for two key features: 

  1. Auto sign in/out – to automatically sign you in when you approach your workplace, and sign you out again as you leave. 
  2. When using the follow me feature – This feature is designed to protect those working remotely and at risk if your work requires it. Imagine a utilities contractor travelling alone between remote wind farms to perform repair work. Their location might be tracked for safety reasons, to ensure help can be provided quickly and easily in the case of an emergency. 

Although the WolMobile app has local access to your device’s location at all times, that information stays on your device. The WolMobile app only sends this information to your employer’s WhosOnLocation account when follow me is enabled (which requires you to be signed in for work), or when you enter or leave a geofence and sign in/out. 

Once you leave for the day, your location isn’t reported on in WhosOnLocation, so your employer has no way to access this information. 

Zoom has lots of privacy and security problems. Not necessarily true.

As organizations closed their offices, downloads of the Zoom app skyrocketed as we kept our team meetings going virtually. Although not considered a method of employer spying, Zoom did come in for some bad press earlier this year, leading many of us to question whether it was putting our privacy at risk. On closer inspection, many of the claims were exaggerated and designed to grab headlines: 

Zoom conversations can be found online. 

This isn’t a zoom issue, but rather a simple fact that a meeting host could record a conversation and make it publicly accessible online. The same could be said of any application.

Hackers will Zoombomb your meeting. 

Zoom has password and security settings available to prevent this from happening. Just don’t turn them off. 

Zoom’s end-to-end encryption doesn’t work.

This headline is more about a discrepancy between the commonly accepted definition of end-to-end encryption and how Zoom was using it. Although certainly misleading, this isn’t a bug. It’s worth noting end-to-end encryption isn’t widely available in the video conferencing market yet. 

So, is my employer spying on me?

Your employer might be carrying out a degree of surveillance, but only for justifiable business reasons. If your employer has reason to investigate your business communications, they are quite within their rights to do so. So remember to keep your personal or private communication to your personal devices and accounts. 

In the case of your employer spying on your whereabouts using WolMobile, rest assured this isn’t the case. If you’re not at work, your employer can’t access your location information. Remember when you are at work, your employer can only track your location around a site if you’re using the follow me feature for your own safety.

4 minutes read time

It is Time to (Re)Welcome Versus (Re)Open

Guest post from Lee Odess.

Research from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) states that average employee tenure in 2018 was roughly four years. With the worldwide shut down due to the pandemic and the recent start of getting back to work, we are embarking on a highly unusual circumstance: a new opportunity to create a first impression. Though onboarding has typically been reserved for new hires, has there been a time when this first impression has had more importance? 

This first impression is essential because of the need to create trust. 

The majority of employees are worried. They are concerned that returning to their workplace increases their chances of getting sick. And their potential infection has a ripple effect to the rest of their lives – their concern isn’t singularly for their own well being, but what could happen if they bring the sickness home and infect their loved ones.  A recent Edelman Trust Barometer special report called “Workplace Trust and the Coronavirus,” captured that just 14% of employees trust CEOs or senior managers to lead the return to work. Only half believe their offices are safe. I read that as “we have much work to do, and we need to do it right.” 

After a recent talk with WhosOnLocation, they used a phrase that stuck with me and inspired this article. I noticed they were using the word “re-welcome” versus “reopen.” In a time and place like now, when words and rhetoric matter, the stakes are so high and we need to be empathetic to build trust with our employees. Framing and treating this as a “re-welcome” versus a “reopen” makes a ton of sense to me. 

Reopening is very transactional. Re-welcoming shows compassion. 

So what are some ways you can re-welcome your employees back? There are quite a few well-documented strategies starting to appear on the web, here are some that I see start to get implemented by companies that prioritize their employees trust at the center of their re-welcome back plan: 

  1. Bring in or create a seat at the table for people that understand behavioral sciences. It is OK to admit that you and your peers at the leadership table may not be the experts that are needed right now when it comes to what to do. Be the leader who recognizes, uses excellent self-awareness, and reaches out for help. 
  2. Have the right balance of tools and processes in place with human interactions. The tools and processes can help deliver a consistent experience, which is critical in building trust.
  3. When selecting technology partners, ask questions to get to know them beyond the technical specs. Find out if they share or complement the vision you have for what it will take to bolster trust with your employees.
  4. Speak frequently and with transparency. As a company grows, this one becomes more challenging. There is typically a desire by communications departments to get involved, slowing down the speed of which you communicate to your employees and, in some cases watering it down so much you lose the crux of the message. Find that balance and challenge yourself to be authentic in times of uncertainty. 

Right now, in times of uncertainty, where would you want to go back to work? One that is “reopening” one that is “re-welcoming” you back? I want to be re-welcomed.  

Lee Odess is one of the most accomplished and knowledgeable Building Access experts in the world.  He is the Founder of E+L+C, and former executive of Allegion, a billion-dollar manufacturer in the lock and access control industry. He also served as an Executive of Unikey, a start-up that pioneered the IoT/smart lock/smart physical access control industry and began his career as an Executive with the first cloud-based physical access control manufacturer, Brivo.

Currently, Lee is the founder of www.InsideAccessControl.com and www.InsideVisitorManagement.com, a media and blogging platform focused on the physical access control and visitor management industry, and Group337, a Growth Studio focused on business creation in the commercial real estate, proptech, and smart home markets for small to large companies in the security, access control, and IoT industry.

3 minutes read time

The Humble QR Code

Is the humble QR code now an integral part of our day to day lives?

Nothing new

While we have seen a heightened use of QR codes recently, they are by no means new. They were born out of the barcode which was first developed by Denso Wave, a subsidiary of Toyota, back in the 1960’s. Japan had entered its highest economic growth period which meant cash registers were ringing. As cashiers entered prices manually the boom was starting to cause them injuries such as  numbness and carpal tunnel syndrome from the repetitive task.

The invention of barcodes provided a solution to this problem. Yet as the use of barcodes spread their limitations became clear. The biggest was that barcode can only hold 20 alphanumeric characters of information. The QR code could not only hold more information, but it could also be read more than 10 times faster. The QR code was first used in the auto industry and contributed to efficiencies across a wide range of tasks from product to shipping

Those who developed the QR code were unsure if it would gain market traction (little did they know). It is hard to find much information about the QR code until the early 2000s. At this time it became used in Japan for things like opening subway gates and banking

It’s everywhere

Since the early 2000’s the use of QR codes has grown. Not only amongst the Japanese public but globally. First taking off as a marketing tool now QR codes are now part of our daily lives, used for many things. Here’s a few examples:

  • electronic ticketing 
  • flight check-in 
  • food tracing 
  • joining a wifi network
  • loyalty programs
  • coupons

Keeping us safe in 2020

Many years have passed since the QR code was first invented. The COVID-19 pandemic has challenged us this year, with a greater focus on tracking our own movement. This extends to organizations and the need to be able to track who is entering their locations. QR codes are a simple and easy way to keep us safe.

People presence & QR codes

Using QR codes within WhosOnLocation is not new, we’ve offered  them as an alternative way to sign in for many years. Recently, we’ve made some enhancements to our features incorporating the use of QR codes. Making them simple and easy to use. Including:

  • WolMobile is our most innovative mobile app. Employees and Service Providers can use the inbuilt QR code to sign in/out as an alternative or replacement for an ID card. 
  • Our touchless kiosk removes the need to touch your kiosk creating an easy and touch free sign in and out experience.  
  • Print QR codes on the back of your visitor badges for easy access into and around your organization. 
  • A WolPass can be sent to pre-registered guests with details of the meeting, it also includes a QR code that can be scanned on arrival for ease of signing in. 

Does this mean the humble QR code is now the sweetheart of this pandemic, tech, and our day-to-day lives?  

5 minutes read time

Are you asking the right custom sign-in questions?

Updated August 2021

Before you allow employees, contractors and visitors to enter your facilities, what kinds of questions do you ask? How about as they leave? Asking custom sign-in/out questions, tailored to your organization’s needs, can give you valuable information about who’s coming on-site. Getting specific with your questions can also help you maintain security in your facility.

Learn more about sign-in/out questions and our latest feature “Global sign-in/out questions” that enables you to share your questionnaires across multiple locations. 

What’s new: Global sign-in/out questions

Global sign-in/out questions give you the ability to create and manage custom questionnaires on a central level. Simply create a set of questions and assign them to different locations, making the process more efficient and ensuring consistency across the entire organization.

How to enable sign-in/out questions for your organization?

You can roll out sign-in/out questions with the following methods: 

  • All kiosks (includes QR code posters)
  • The Sign In/Out Manager – for use by your front of house team
  • WolMobile – so employees and contractors can self screen

With this new update, you’ll be able to fully customize your questions, creating different questionnaires by: 

  • People type, e.g. employees / service providers / visitors
  • Signing in vs signing out
  • Sign in method – e.g. kiosk / Sign In/Out Manager / WolMobile 
  • Conditional questions – e.g. ask a question based on a response 

Let’s take a look at the types of questions you could (or should) be asking.

Custom questions for health screening

Depending on your organization’s circumstances, you may have specific needs when it comes to employee health screening. For example, for food manufacturing, the list of questions will be far more extensive. Here’s a good starting point for those wanting to carry out pandemic screening: 

  1. Have you recently returned from overseas? This is particularly important if you’re based in a country where borders remain open, and managed isolation isn’t enforced.
  2. In the past 14 days, have you been diagnosed with COVID-19 or had a test confirming you have the virus?
  3. Do you live in the same household as, or have you had close contact with, someone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19?
  4. Do you live in the same household as someone who is currently self-isolating due to exposure to COVID-19?
  5. Have you experienced cold, flu, or diarrhea symptoms in the past 14 days?
  6. Do you have your own mask or face covering to wear during your visit? 

With WhosOnLocation, you can set automated rules which alert you when someone attempts to sign in outside of your health policy. 

Thermal imaging

Thermal cameras are a hot topic, with many organizations looking to screen the temperature of employees, contractors and visitors as they enter their sites.

Wello offers a no-contact, self service thermometer that is clinically tested and FDA cleared as a Class II medical device. We recommend you add Wello as an additional step before guests begin the sign in process with WhosOnLocation, to pre-screen anyone with a fever.

On-site safety

Those working in high risk environments, e.g. construction, utilities, manufacturing and health, can use the custom questions to ask important questions about kit and PPE. Custom questions can be tailored to the safety requirements of specific ‘zones’ within your facility, too. 

  1. Are you wearing a high vis vest and hard hat? 
  2. Have you collected your PPE prior to entering this facility? 
  3. Have you checked in with your safety operator? 
  4. You are about to move into a heavy machinery zone. Are you wearing steel toe cap boots? 

Custom questions aren’t only designed for use when signing in. They can be equally powerful when signing out, too: 

Protecting intellectual property

  1. Do you need to report an incident? 
  2. Did you see anyone on-site today who wasn’t wearing PPE? 
  3. Are there any new hazards to log? 
  4. Did you experience a near-miss whilst on-site today? 

Another common use case for our custom questions feature is to upload an NDA. You can ask visitors to acknowledge they’ve read your agreement, and use digital signature capture as a record they’ve agreed to your terms of entry. 

Visitor amenities

Custom questions aren’t just for the safety conscious. You can even use them to ensure you make a great first impression with your visitors. Here are a few examples: 

  1. Would you like a hot drink? Please select from the options below.
  2. Will you require a guest WiFi code today? 
  3. Can we validate your parking? 

Ready to get started? 

The WhosOnLocation custom questions feature is available now, and included in your subscription. Visit our Help Center to get started. 

New to WhosOnLocation? 

Sign up for a free 30 day trial today. 

5 minutes read time

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

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