The WhosOnLocation Blog

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Tighten up your on-site security with WolScan

3 minutes read time

WolScan adds a further layer of security to your on-site visitor management. Our recent user interface update makes the scanning process simple and quick. Learn more about how to make your visitors’ registrations more efficient by using WolScan.

What is WolScan?

WolScan is an iPhone/iPad app that allows you to quickly and securely capture and register your visitor’s identity by scanning their photo ID. The information is automatically uploaded to your WhosOnLocation account, to either sign in as a new visitor or update an existing/pre-registered profile. There is no need to enter the details manually which speeds up the process for your front-of-house team.

Why use it?

For any organization that is security conscious, it is critical to ensure that only those with permission have gained on-site access.

By scanning your visitor’s photo ID you validate their identity and reduce the risk of unauthorized entry, making sure that your company property, information, and employees are protected. 

Imagine a scenario where a file with sensitive information went missing or intentional damage was discovered on site. WolScan allows you to keep a verified record of who has had access to your premises.  It is also an excellent way to reassure your auditors and insurance providers that you have a valid visitor management process in place and you have done all that is necessary to mitigate risks.

How does it work?

To verify and register visitors simply scan their photo ID using the WolScan app on your iPhone or iPad with iOS 10 or higher. Once ready, the information is automatically uploaded and saved to your WhosOnLocation account. Simple, fast, and secure!

Which documents are compatible?

WolScan allows you to automatically upload the information from all passports. It also supports driver’s licenses from the USA, Canada, United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand.

You can also scan generic photo IDs. The photo will be stored in your WhosOnLocation account, and you have the option to enter any other details from the photo ID that need to be retained.

How do I know the data is securely stored?

We take data privacy and security seriously. We are ISO 27001 certified and GDPR compliant. When using WolScan, the visitor information, including captured images, is sent directly to the WhosOnLocation server. No data is processed by a third party. You can also decide how long the visitor’s information is retained and set an automatic data deletion after a set period of time.

Ready to get started? 

WolScan is available to enable in your account today and is priced per device. Visit our Help Center for step-by-step instructions on getting started. 

New to WhosOnLocation?

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

Read more.

4 minutes read time

Technology, employee experience – How it can aid your customer experience

Customer experience is rooted in the DNA of most organizations. It’s the way we welcome, onboard, grow and retain our customers. Due to this organizations are always striving to deliver the best possible customer experience and measure it as one of their key drivers for success. 

Does the delivery of an amazing customer experience happen due to magic or something else? It’s by no means magic, it’s a known fact that great customer experience is driven out of a great employee experience.  To continue to drive amazing customer experiences we need to ensure we are driving amazing employee experiences. 

What drives a great employee experience? 

A great employee experience is driven out of many things. Starting from the moment the candidate arrives for an interview. CIO magazine says it’s everything your employee encounters and undergoes as their career progresses that forms their experience as an employee. 

Does technology play a role in employee experience? Yes, it does. When we think of technology in the workplace think beyond the obvious and consider why so many organizations are rolling out smart offices. Is it for the swanky technology or to help their employees?  

What is a smart office?

Smart offices are not new, they date back as far as 1996 and are designed to improve the office environment allowing employees to work smarter, better and faster. 

A smart office uses technology to assist with tasks which in turn removes menial tasks and helps employees focus on the things they love doing. 

The smart office is a growing market and is set to hit 57.06 billion USD by 2025.  

You may even be working within a smart workplace today but not even know it. Some of the common smart office technologies are:

Meeting room booking systems consist of software for conference room scheduling and also hardware interfaces or digital signage. The software allows company employees or guests to book meetings online or through an app.

Smart sensors are network-connected sensors that detect events or physical changes in the environment. In offices, smart sensors are commonly used to measure CO2, air quality, and occupancy levels.

Guest management software that helps free up or remove the need for a receptionist. Knows when a contractor’s insurance has expired, who is allowed onsite, when, and where. Screen guests and employees to ensure they meet your health requirements before gaining access onsite – particularly helpful in the COVID-19 environment we are working in. 

Voice control makes tasks easier, announcing a guest has arrived onsite, booking a conference room, starting a phone call or sending an email, Alexa for business performs all these things using voice commands. 

Access control improves efficiencies and helps ensure people, assets, and resources are secure and protected. Allowing only those with the right access to enter your organization. 

The benefits of using these types of technology is increased employee productivity, improved retention, simplified work scheduling, improved relationships, along with safer and secure work environments. 

With a smart office do we have new security threats?

Anything connected to the internet brings a possible security threat. But like all threats, they can be managed. 

When using a visitor management tool like WhosOnLocation, ensure they follow the highest security standards including ISO: 27001, PCI/DSS Service Provider Level1 and/or SOC II compliance. 

If using voice-controlled devices, turn on the mute button so recording does not happen. If using the likes of Alexa AWS shares a number of key steps to take to ensure your company information is safe. 

How to smart office with WhosOnLocation 

As a WhosOnLocation customer, you are already using smart technology to manage your guest, employee, and evacuation management. 

We offer a number of integrations you can connect to for your smart office like Alexa for voice services, Brivo for access control, or webhooks to turn your lights off when the last person has left the office for the day. The options are endless!

Back to our original question can smart offices help customer and employee experience? We believe they can if well managed to create a win-win for customers, employees, and employers. Will you be implementing smart office technology in your workplace?  

Not a WhosOnLocation customer? Take a free 30-day no-obligation trial and see how you can smarten up your office. 

4 minutes read time

Busy front of house? A virtual receptionist can help.

WhosOnLocation’s latest integration brings us one step closer to a fully virtual receptionist. Introducing Alexa for Business by WhosOnLocation. Welcome to the future!

What is a virtual receptionist? 

When we think about virtual receptionists, two different scenarios spring to mind. There are teams of remote receptionists who are contracted to take calls for a number of businesses. And then there is the futuristic type – AI fuelled robots who automate the entire process for you. 

Fully functioning robots aren’t widely available just yet. However, there are a number of technologies that can automate tasks and take the strain off under-resourced teams. 

  • Visitor management software can automate the sign-in process. WhosOnLocation allows visitors to sign themselves in, presents instructions on where to wait, and automatically notifies their host. These self-serve kiosks are even available in a touchless, hygienic format. 
  • Voice-activated assistants, such as Amazon’s Alexa for Business, can further personalize this process. By integrating with visitor management software, we can take our virtual receptionists up a gear; audibly welcoming guests and announcing arrivals.

Benefits of a virtual receptionist

We’ve already hinted at a few of the benefits, but let’s take a closer look at why you might need a virtual receptionist. 

Your front of house team is busy

Small businesses can still make a big impact when their visitors arrive. Rather than scrambling to unlock a door or locate a visitor’s host, let a virtual receptionist take on some of the load. 

With visitor admin largely taken care of, your front of house team can use their time more wisely. They’ll also be able to run errands and take breaks in the knowledge the front desk is always ‘manned.’

You have a large facility with multiple access points

How do you cover every access point to ensure employees and contractors are always signing in? Whether you need to carry out health screening, contact tracing, or simply know who’s on-site for health and safety reasons, virtual receptionists can ensure no one slips through the cracks. 

Your facility contains a number of hazardous zones

Think of this less like a virtual receptionist, and more like a virtual health and safety assistant. By placing sign-in kiosks or QR code posters at the entrance to each of your hazardous zones, you can ensure your employees and contractors have the information they need. Check out this blog for more details. 

Alexa for Business integration 

WhosOnLocation’s latest integration with Alexa for Business enhances the way you use your subscription. Here are some possible use cases to get the creative juices flowing… 

Welcome your visitors

Have a spiel you need to communicate to all visitors? Whether it’s ‘please keep your visitor pass visible’ or ‘ensure you wear a mask’, have Alexa automate the process for you. Once a guest has finished signing in at your kiosk, Alexa can verbally welcome them, and pass on any important information they might need to know. 

Alex for Business Integration

Announce an arrival

Meanwhile, inside your facility, you can keep an Alexa device close to your employee workstations to act as a doorbell. Alexa can announce when a visitor or contractor has signed in and is waiting to be collected from reception. This announcement can include their name and who they are visiting. 

Deny employee entry

Currently, carrying out health screening or imposing maximum occupancy to adhere to social distancing? Whatever your reason for denying an employee entry to your facility, create a trigger in WhosOnLocation to automatically prevent sign in, and have Alexa communicate the reason why. 

Remind contractors of expiring documentation

Whether it’s a safety induction, insurances or a qualification in need of renewal, have Alexa verbally remind your contractors of expiring documentation when they sign in. 

From visitor management software to voice-activated assistants, we are certainly edging ever closer to a truly useful virtual receptionist.

Ready to get started? 

To get started you’ll need an AWS enterprise account and a WhosOnLocation subscription. Visit our Help Center for step-by-step instructions on enabling the Alexa for Business integration. 

New to WhosOnLocation? 

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

3 minutes read time

Keeping compliant with custom fields

Custom Fields is a powerful new way to manage your data and ensure you’re staying compliant. Our customers requested it, and we delivered. Here’s how (and why) to make the most of our latest release. 

What are ‘Custom Fields’? 

You might have heard other SaaS companies talk about custom fields. A number of the software products we use here at WhosOnLocation HQ offer this feature, and it’s a great way to make your tech stack work for you.

Custom fields are a way to personalize and tailor the data you use, add and store in an application. Instead of being tied to pre-defined input fields. you can go in and make your own rules. 

Custom fields and WhosOnLocation

Custom fields are available in WhosOnLocation for employee, service provider, and service provider organization profiles. Instead of sticking to the pre-defined data fields such as ‘Employee name’ or ‘Employee email address’, you can now create and name your own fields. 

Whether you want a checkbox to indicate an employee’s eligibility to work, a calendar field to input their date of birth or to link through to their line manager’s profile – the options are endless!

How would I use Custom Fields? 

Imagine there are four or five pieces of information you ask every new employee or service provider when they start their employment. Most will be quite generic e.g. name, home address, emergency contact number. However, you probably have some questions that are very specific to your organization, too. They might even be required for compliance.

For example, you might only allow pre-approved vehicles to enter your site for security reasons. As a result, you’d need to note down the registration number of each employee’s car. 

You might also need to prove you’ve checked all employees are eligible to work in the country you’re based. Or perhaps you need to log information that will help run regular background checks, like an employee’s place of birth. With custom fields, you can be as specific as you need. 

Keeping things organized

You can hide all of the standard information you don’t need to capture, to keep your employee and service provider profiles ordered. Simply hide any fields you don’t need and drag and drop in the fields you do. 

You can even group fields together by ‘type’, saving them together in a tab. For example, for each service provider, you might have a contact information tab alongside an important documentation tab. This makes it quick and easy to locate the information your need – perfect for when the auditors come knocking. 

Set up a template that works for your organization to ensure you’re only capturing information that’s relevant. Get peace of mind you’re storing all the data required to help you stay compliant. 

Ready to get started with custom fields? 

Custom fields are available today, and included in your WhosOnLocation subscription. Visit our Help Center for step-by-step instructions on getting started. 

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.

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.

3 minutes read time

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. 

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?  

4 minutes read time

Are you asking the right custom sign-in questions?

Updated September 2020

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.

Custom sign-in questions

Our latest update has rolled out our popular kiosk custom questions across two new sign in/out methods: 

  • 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 customise 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

New to WhosOnLocation?

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

5 minutes read time

How to make visitors feel welcome (and safe) again

When COVID-19 hit the headlines earlier this year, businesses slowly started to change their operations. Travel plans were the first to be abandoned – as conferences and industry events were postponed or cancelled. Next, it was the turn of visitors, as external meetings were carried out over the phone rather than in person. Finally, we saw facilities closing their doors altogether, taking their business online wherever possible. 

Visitors haven’t been welcomed into facilities for a very long time, and the general consensus is that opening doors to guests again puts everyone in a vulnerable position.

However, as we return to the workplace, we must eventually invite our clients, customers and business partners inside again. The question is – how do we make them feel welcome? How do we make them feel safe? 

Start with employee and service provider safety

For many countries, including much of the US and the UK, the majority of organizations are yet to open up their facilities to employees and service providers again. 

Before we can think about visitors, it’s important to get things up and running as safely as possible for our employees and contractors. There are a number of steps to ensure the safety and wellbeing of those in your duty of care during a pandemic, including: 

  • Ensuring physical distancing is possible
  • Preventing those who pose a risk from entering
  • Implementing contact tracing 
  • Accommodating flexible work schedules
  • Giving staff the time and space to get back up to speed
  • Being mindful of individual circumstances – ensuring employees aren’t putting themselves, or those they care for, at risk

You can read more tips for getting back to work post COVID-19 in our latest white paper.

Opening your doors to visitors

When it comes to welcoming visitors, there are a number of ways you can minimize risk and reassure guests and employees that their safety is a priority. 

Reach out in advance

Taking the time to send visitors an email in advance of their visit can provide some much needed peace of mind. Use this opportunity to lay out your pandemic policy, ask they rearrange their meeting if they begin to feel unwell and explain the measures you’re taking to ensure their safety whilst on-site.

WolPass can completely automate this process for you. When employees send calendar invites to external guests, WhosOnLocation’s calendar integration can pre-register the visitor in the system and automatically generate a customizable email. This WolPass contains all your arrival instructions, including a QR or barcode that can be used for fast-track sign in. 

Make your sign in process safe

If you’re signing visitors in with your front of house team, you’ll need to ensure your staff are protected, and visitors are adhering to physical distancing during the sign in process.

If you’re using a self-serve kiosk to sign guests in, it’s worth noting the average sign-in process involves touching the screen around 35 times. Considering COVID-19 is spread through contact with contaminated surfaces, this isn’t ideal. You’ll need to ensure you keep a bottle of hand sanitizer next to the kiosk and remember to clean the screen frequently.

There is an easier way: our enhanced touchless sign in feature makes the process much safer.

Sign in from your smartphone's browser

We already supported touchless sign in for pre-registered visitors, but our most recent product update means even walk-in visitors are able to register themselves on-site safely. Visitors simply scan the QR code on the kiosk and complete sign in using their own smartphone.  

By making the sign in process touchless and compliant with your pandemic policy, your visitors will feel reassured that you’ve taken steps to protect their health during the visit. 

Tailor your welcome message

If you’re using a self serve kiosk or touchless solution, a few simple tweaks to your summary screen message can go a long way towards making your visitors feel welcome. Try something like: 

“Welcome back. We’ve asked our employees to maintain a 2 meter distance from visitors for your safety, and provided hand sanitizer throughout the facility – please help yourself. It’s good to see you again.”

Create a comfortable waiting environment

If your reception waiting area is scruffy, cluttered and anything short of spotlessly clean, your visitors are likely to feel uncomfortable as they wait. Regular cleaning is always important, but your visitors are more likely than ever to pick up on dirt and dust in the wake of COVID-19. 

A sparkling clean facility shows you’re taking the pandemic, and the health of your people, seriously. Similarly, if you’re using a touchless sign in solution, continue to send the right message by removing any shared reading materials or drink stations – which leads us on to… 

Contactless refreshments

Offering your guests a drink is visitor etiquette 101. However, this simple act requires some extra thought in light of COVID-19. Arranging a contactless method for serving drinks and ensuring your front of house team wash their hands between cups of tea and coffee will mean your safe sign in procedures weren’t carried out in vain.  

Already a customer?

The features discussed in this blog post are available with all subscriptions. Get started with touchless sign in today. 

New to WhosOnLocation?

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