The WhosOnLocation Blog

Featured post

Hybrid Workforce: What do workers want?

1 minute read time

Survey insights from over 1,000 employees across the United States

Working remotely and working on-site both have their benefits:

Working from home means less time spent commuting, reduced physical proximity to other people (a huge benefit in the current climate), and for some, a more focused, productive work environment.

Working on-site is most attractive for collaboration, meeting workers’ social needs and for having more meaningful, face-to-face interactions with mentors or managers.

A hybrid workforce arrangement allows workers to design a more flexible schedule that offers the best of both worlds. Many people find that too much time spent working remotely can negatively impact work relationships, while a significant portion of those working on-site full-time are concerned about pandemic safety (29% of those working on-site full-time reported that they do not feel comfortable with the protective measures at work).

Read more.

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.

3 minutes read time

5 reasons to migrate to the latest version of WolMobile

Around this time last year we released a brand new, shiny version of WolMobile. Most of our customers have migrated over to WolMobile, but if you haven’t made the switch yet, now’s the time!

How do I know if I’m using the new version? 

If every employee and service provider in your team is using the app with this icon, you’re all set. This is the latest and best version of WolMobile and you don’t need to do anything further –great news!

If you (or some of your employees or service providers) are still using our WolMobile Legacy app with this icon, you’ll need to ensure everyone is migrated by March 31, 2021.

Why should I make the switch? 

Reason 1 – we’re decommissioning WolMobile Legacy

We’ll cut to the chase. The number one reason for migrating to the new version of WolMobile now is to ensure a smooth transition on the cut-off date. We’ll be decommissioning WolMobile Legacy on March 31 2021.

Reason 2 – it’s far more user friendly

Aside from a cleaner interface and added functionality, WolMobile is much easier to use than Legacy. The home screen contains a message board with all the safety information your team needs, and the ability to sign in/out of a location or for remote work with ease.

Reason 3 – auto sign in/out is a game-changer

Our customers often tell us that auto sign in/out is our best release. WolMobile users don’t even need to open the app to sign in and out, as it’s all taken care of using geofencing technology. 

Setting up a geofence is surprisingly easy. Simply use our drag and drop tool to draw a circle around your facility, click save, and you’re done. Now your employees and service providers can help keep your records accurate without lifting a finger. Brilliant!

Reason 4 – take your on-site safety up a notch

There are a number of brilliant safety upgrades to WolMobile. Using the new app, you’ll be able to: 

Reason 5 – health screening questions

Safeguarding the health of employees has never been more important. With the latest version of WolMobile, you can now configure custom questions for employees and service providers to carry out health screening as they come on-site. 

This feature can also be used to reinforce your safety rules. Require all workers on-site to wear PPE? A hard hat? Report to reception before they begin work? You can create any question you need to check-in with employees and service providers, receiving alerts if anyone answers against your policy. 

Ready to get started? 

Migrating to the new WolMobile is easy, and can be done in three simple steps: 

  1. Enable the new app in your account
  2. Configure the settings you’d like to use
  3. Invite your employees and service providers to download the new app

We’ve put together this step-by-step guide to walk you through the process. See you on the other side… 

4 minutes read time

Start the year right – a software update checklist

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

Keep on top of changes

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

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

Remove access

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

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

Review your triggers

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

Update to the latest versions

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

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

Tidy up your employee profile information

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

Automatically erase old records

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

Move on from Internet Explorer

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

5 minutes read time

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

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

2020 wrap-up

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

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

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

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

The highlights

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

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

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

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

Nice – so what led us to develop custom fields?

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

Any tips to getting the best out of custom fields? 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Get started

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

New to WhosOnlocation? 

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

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.