The WhosOnLocation Blog

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Inclusive Technology: WhosOnLocation accessibility kiosk

3 minutes read time

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

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

Modern: a new theme for the sign-in kiosk

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

Why are we making the improvements?

WhosOnLocation believes that technology should be inclusive and consider everyone’s needs. We are committed to improving our product to ensure it’s easy to navigate for all users and meets global accessibility standards. Our new modern theme is an important step in our journey to have our kiosk fully compliant with Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) over the coming months.

What is the kiosk’s modern theme?

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

What are the next steps?

The modern theme is an essential step in our kiosk becoming fully compliant with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). The next phase will include further design enhancements, ensuring that all interactive elements across the kiosk are configured to be navigated by a keyboard or screen reader alone. We will also improve the relationship between labels and the elements they describe to ensure the attributes for screen readers are present and helpful.

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6 minutes read time

5 questions people forget to ask when choosing a visitor management solution

“To raise new questions, new possibilities, to regard old problems from a new angle, requires creative imagination and marks real advance in science” – Albert Einstein.

I love this quote from Einstein because asking questions encourages curiosity and here at WhosOnLocation we encourage our team to be curious – to explore better ways of doing things, to look at problems as opportunities – by asking questions.

I’ve had the opportunity to respond to thousands of questions (via our Helpdesk or assessment form) coming from organizations deploying a visitor management solution.

We’ve done this for small, privately held businesses through to some of the largest corporates, utilities, security facilities, health care providers, schools, universities, and manufacturers in the world.

The number of questions from a potential customer can range from a just a couple through to one hundred+, which is understandable, it’s all in the context.

What often amazes us is the questions many potential and existing customers don’t think to ask.

If you are looking at a visitor management solution here are 5 questions you may not think to ask but definitely should.

When our teams put these questions to potential customers they are always surprised they didn’t think of them and are thankful we asked.

Question 1: Hazard alerts and acknowledgments

Do you want visitors to confirm they understand any hazard alerts that they are notified of at sign-in?

Why do we ask this?

If there’s a hazard needing to be brought to the attention of visitors when signing onto site.

Would you like to be able to post a hazard alert to the reception lobby teams and/or onto any of the kiosks so that visitors immediately are notified of the hazard and are prompted to confirm their understanding of it?

We have a high number of customers that did not think about temporary hazards and the ability to broadcast time-stamped alerts and warnings through their visitor management solution.

When people think about this and apply it to their own environments they quickly realize it’s a ‘must have’ if they are to manage safety awareness and incident awareness on-site.

Question 2: Compliance, auditing, and reporting

If a visitor had an accident on-site would it be useful to prove that your organization advised the visitor of the hazard that caused the incident during the post-incident investigation?

Why do we ask this?

Compliance, compliance, compliance.

Most organizations are legally obligated to comply with good Health and Safety practices.

In the event of a workplace injury or death the ability to demonstrate good practice can be the difference between brand and reputation damage and survival.

Question 3:

If you want visitors to be pre-registered as a rule, that is you do not permit unauthorized visitors onsite, would you like your self-sign-in kiosk to advise non-approved visitors to wait until someone comes out to meet them. Meanwhile, a red flag has been sent to security or another nominated person to advise them that an unauthorized person has attempted to sign in.

Why do we ask this question? Many research centers, local and central government facilities, data centers, and other high-security sites prohibit walk-up visitors; those being people who don’t have an invite from an employee. Managing these potential security breaches by automatically alerting security to the fact a person has attempted to sign-in and is in fact on your premises in the reception area, is often a much-overlooked requirement until it’s too late.

Question 4:

Do you want specific conditional warnings, instructions or questions to be presented to a visitor, and, do you want to notify anyone internally of this?

Why do we ask this?

Say you are a food manufacturer following GMP and your visitor answers ‘Yes’ to having visited a farm in the last 30 days or ‘No’ to a request to wear a hairnet at all times while onsite.

Firstly; would you want specific warnings, instructions, or conditional questions to be presented to this visitor?

Secondly, would you need to bring their red flag response to the attention of their host, and/or any specific people in your security or health and safety team?

We obviously re-word this question when the potential customer is not a food manufacturer however you get the idea. Triggering alerts against pre-defined red flags is a must otherwise all you have with your visitor management system is a cool badge label printer.

Question 5:

Do you need to ask visitors the same set of questions every time, even if they are a repeat visitor?

Why do we ask this?

Again this a bit of a two-part question.

Firstly; do you need to ask every visitor every question, every time they visit? Or, can you capture visitor information on their first visit and then only ask them for it again after their 10th visit, or after a specified amount of time has passed (1 month, 3 months etc.…)?

We want our customers to think about creating amazing visitor experiences for their visitors and customers.

If John Doe arrives on-site for his first visit and is asked for his name, where he is from, if he is parked in your vehicle lot, who he is meeting with and his expected duration of stay it may, and then he is asked to acknowledge your NDA, evacuation procedures, and other visitor policy rules. So it ends up taking John 4 minutes to sign in. But does it have to take John 4 minutes every time? When John comes back 9 days later do you send him

When John comes back 9 days later do you send him through the full 4-minute visitor sign-in process again? Or do you only ask him to verify the answers he gave when he was visiting last? Or do you only ask him to verify his name and host and that’s all? And, do you set a rule that says John should be asked every question when he signs in every 3 months? There are of course many questions you should ask, some unique to your organization, some more relevant ot different departments than others, and some to your visitors themselves. to heck out our top 30

There are of course many questions you should ask, some unique to your organization, some more relevant to different departments than others, and some to your visitors themselves. to heck out our top 30

Check out our top 30 questions to get some more ideas.

5 minutes read time

Read this before you choose visitor sign in software

There are lots of questions you will need answers to before you pick the visitor sign-in software that’s right for your organization.

We make visitor sign in software and are always asked the obvious questions such as:

These questions are all valid and should be clearly answered before any choices are made. In fact, the answer to all of the above questions should yes, even by an absolutely basic level visitor management system. If a product doesn’t deliver on those questions it’s not worth considering.

We have another list questions we tend to end up asking people interested in our product… These are not as obvious as the standard questions. Lots of our potential customers are surprised they didn’t think of them earlier and are thankful we asked.

If you are considering which visitor sign-in software to use, have a look at this checklist of questions to make sure you will choose the right product with the right capabilities for your organization.

  1. Will you require different workflows sign-in processes for visitors, employees, and contractors?

  2. Do you need to pre-register visitors?

  3. Do you want to send pre-registered visitors an automated email with information like your address, parking instructions, and evacuation procedures?

  4. Will you need to deny access to visitors who aren’t pre-registered?

  5. Will your sign-in kiosks be manned or self-service?

  6. Should your self-service kiosks be able to be set to make any non-approved visitors wait until someone can come to meet them?

  7. Do you want to set-up a red flag to be sent to a nominated person (e.g. security) when an unauthorized person has tried to sign-in?

  8. Do you want to automatically pre-issue visitors or contractors with a QR code or barcode, to speed up the sign-in process at peak times?

  9. Will you need multiple kiosks?

  10. Where will your kiosks be located?

  11. Should your kiosks reflect your organization’s brand identity?

  12. Do you want specific warnings, instructions, or conditional questions to be presented to a visitor on a trigger? (Say if you are a food manufacturer following GMP and a visitor answers ‘YES’ to having visited a farm in the last 30 days or ‘NO’ to a request to wear a hairnet at all times, do you want to instruct them to report to the Health & Safety Manager?)

  13. Do you need to bring any red flags to the attention of their host, and/or any specific people in your security or Health & Safety team?

  14. Will you ask all visitors the same set of questions every time they sign-in or will you only ask certain questions on the first visit and then make rules for when you have to ask again?

  15. If your building or facility has different ‘zones’ do you need people to register their entry and departure from some or all of those zones?

  16. If someone is signing into a specific zone will they need to state their purpose and/or estimated time in that zone?

  17. Do you need to put time limits on when people should have signed out by and set up alerts to go out if they haven’t signed out by that time? For example, if someone signs into a temperature controlled environment do you need to be alerted if they haven’t signed out after x minutes.

  18. When you have a hazard on-site, do you want to alert anyone signing in of that hazard?

  19. Do you need a record of that hazard acknowledgment?

  20. Do you want to be able to send hazard alerts to everyone currently on site?

  21. Do you need to know if a visitor or contractor on-site is ‘working alone’?

  22. If someone is working alone on-site do you need to be able to provide conditional (e.g. if they have not signed out by x time) well-being checks?

  23. Is it useful to know what the total number of people on-site at any time is in the case of a capacity breach?

  24. If you are deploying your visitor management system at multiple locations, would it be useful to have an overarching dashboard showing key metrics in real time for each location?

  25. Do you want to know if there is someone who is the only person at a location to alert say your security team of that fact?

  26. Do you want to be able to advise the only person on-site to turn off the lights or set the alarm on sign-out?

  27. Would it be useful to know if a contractor or their employer’s insurances or qualifications have lapsed before they are allowed on-site?

  28. Do you want to be able to make and run induction courses from your visitor sign-in software?

  29. Do you need to track assets (car keys, hi-viz etc) lent out and have an alert triggered if they aren’t returned?

  30. If you issue temporary access control cards would it be useful to track that card and movements in you visitor management system?

There are many more questions to consider when making the call of which visitor sign in software is going right for your organization and many products from which to choose from.

We hope you’ll consider some if not all of these questions before you make your choice.

And of course sign-up for a 30-day free trial of WhosOnLocation to see how our visitor sign in software can answer YES to all of your requirements.

8 minutes read time

Why the lobby will be extinct soon and other future predictions

Recently we had the opportunity to discuss all things future with Morris Miselowski, a global, full-stack, business futurist
Morris shared his thoughts on the future, innovation, artificial intelligence, what place lobby rooms will have in times to come, and using augmented reality to improve Health & Safety training with us. Here’s what he had to say. 

On. The Future

WHO IS MORRIS?

As a global Business Futurist, Morris Miselowski is an in demand Presenter and sought after international Broadcaster that can be found regularly whispering in the ears of CEOs and key decision makers around the planet for companies like MasterCard, Visa, ANZ, NAB, BNI, Westpac, Investec, Microsoft, IPSOS, Activision, BP, Oracle, Bupa, Ernst & Young, Lufthansa, NZ Tourism Export Council, Australian Tourism, Horticulture Australia, Monash University, Metricon, Built, Pharmacy Guild of Australia, Sealy, Simmons, Serta and Caltex amongst many others.

He has an insatiable appetite for new ideas, new practices, and all things future and is constantly finding incredible future driven ways for his clients and audiences to be more profitable, productive and happy. He’s curious about the world, what makes it work, and how you can make a mark on it and sees everything through the eyes of Humans, never getting carried away with the technology.

He doesn’t wear blinkers, doesn’t deal in clichés, hype or hysteria, but instead keeps forever ahead of developments across 140 plus industries, because he knows that innovation is found at the boundaries between disciplines, not by narrowly focusing in on one sphere or the hottest fad.

Morris is not headline-centric, doesn’t tow a politically correct party line and has built his formidable reputation and staggering successes by telling it just like it he foresees it.

This is why Morris has, for the last three decades, been firmly placed amongst the world’s leading futurists, thought leaders and transformation provocateurs.

How did you first get interested in what the future holds?

I’ve never been any other way. I have always been quite satisfied with and loved science fiction. When I started out in Marketing and Business Strategy I quickly learned that what matters is tomorrow, not what’s happening right now, or what happened yesterday. You have to always be thinking of ways that the world might evolve and use that information for decisions in business instead of just joining the status quo.

What’s the best part of your job?

The variety and the mental gymnastics. No two minutes are ever the same when I am solving issues. I enjoy thinking differently.

Can you give us a summary of what the future holds?

Business, existence, innovation, utopia.

People often think the status quo will shelter us but if we offer our products in the same way we always have, we risk extinction.

Thinking about Hotels, who would have predicted that Airbnb would have happened?  This is a prime example of how one disruptive innovation can happen that sees industries literally fall away from it.

In an ideal world, we would strip away the history from business, the marketplace doesn’t care about that.

If we don’t take our cues directly and embrace opportunity we risk being overtaken by a better way of doing things.

 

You speak of our existence being one innovation away from becoming irrelevant or extinct, can you talk me through that?

Great business ideas don’t limit themselves. There are different metrics of success, and in some ways, it’s like taking a bet. Considered approaches are will be the natural revolution and if that doesn’t happen yes industries and businesses risk extinction

know future, think future, do future

On.Business

Last time we heard you speak you noted there were 187 ‘Unicorns’ and that the first ‘Decacorns’ are emerging, do you see a ceiling for this kind of growth as we switch to an information economy?

In terms of ‘Decacorns,’ we have seen some big businesses literally explode. We are not in the knowledge economy yet but definitely moving toward it. We have more data than ever before and that is impacting every area of business.

Most of these companies (for example Airbnb or Dropbox) are ‘disruptive’ in nature – do you have a good idea of what the next major disruptive technology to emerge will be?

Most likely machine learning and artificial intelligence. Humans have the ability to think 5 million things at once – the next holy grail is pushing into Artificial Intelligence.

Machines will soon have the ability to sift through data knowledge and outsource thinking, thus outsourcing industry.

We are starting to see some huge advances in device-to-device communication which will have an impact on every industry.

Can you talk us through ‘unbundling’?

 Unbundling is my way of coming to terms with the future.

Historically in business, the banker did everything in the banking supply chain, controlling all means of production. Competitors were also like-minded and often similar sized big corporations.

Now, what you see is more of a revolution model coming through, where after 30-40 years of digitization we can now manipulate the production chain.

Through the digital revolution, outsiders started to question the system. Then you get examples of innovation that are mixing up the status quo, for example, Bitcoin. Now there are more niche providers of services as part of the production chain.

This whole situation is underpinned by the ability to connect and move forward to a more ‘seamless world’. By that I mean when we get to a point where mundane tasks become as easy as possible to do. Now we are moving into a ‘frictionless space’.

Large digital organizations will need to be frictionless and can’t work in isolation. Collaboration is the future and an API is the machine response to this lifelong human quest.

On. Visitor Management

We work in the visitor management space, is there an example of the most futuristic lobby you have been to or heard of you can share with me?

The lobby space used to represent evidence of who we were, physicality and the number and status of people in a business. Today we form those impressions far long before the lobby is entered and they are influenced by many different areas and context.

The future of a lobby isn’t really going to be a lobby at all. You can see it happening in big hotels around the world, like at the Shanghai Marriott where a concierge greets you with an iPad to check you in and out. That’s an example of things moving toward in a frictionless way – it’s about using tech for customer service because of course no one really wants to stand in a queue.

I don’t think in say 150 years there will be any foyer rooms but I think those spaces will be more about what your organization wants to say than dedicating wasted space to a front of a building.

These spaces will be utilized for what a customer or individual needs at the time, a space that can adapt, move and be melded so lobbies will be more pragmatic. After all, building space is expensive to build and run. So the lobby of the future will be absolutely purpose built, and it will be multi-use, adaptable, incorporating collaboration and it will let the situation dictate the use.

We are quite interested in hearing about virtual and augmented reality and your thoughts on how that might progress in the Health & Safety space?

I think the use of VR and AR is a distinct certainty for Health & Safety training. Having spoken with providers it makes sense as induction and training are often in a time or place that makes no sense. With these developing technologies, training can be applied when and where it’s required.

There is a bit of talk of nano-degrees which are a skill set or qualification relating to a specific piece of information around at the moment. This kind of learning allows people to stay consistently up to date with best practice when doing a task and can make ensure learning is applied and coming at the right time.

We have seen this concept applied to surgery and war training and it makes total sense that these practices will move into the Health & Safety training space soon.

Do you have any thoughts on the future of visitor management? How soon will robots be leading us to our meeting or hotel rooms?

What we are seeing now is technology moving into a participatory phase. I see 15-20 years down the track being able to walk into an airport, technology recognizing that I’m there, and informing security of that.

The future of visitor management will be seamless and everything that needs to happen will do so in the background. Take for example light sensors, we are already well into the conversation of things happening if and when we want and need. This technology is rich and hidden. Our role as service and technology providers is to give a more seamless and richer experience to our visitors, so whatever gets us there will be the future.

5 minutes read time

Building evacuation plans – what everyone should know

Last Updated: February 2020

At WhosOnLocation we want everyone to know that there is a safer way to do building evacuation – that is, by using the latest visitor management technology.

No matter where we are in the world, there is always a risk of a natural disaster occurring at any point in time. Natural disasters serve as a reminder that businesses should run their building evacuation processes in the most efficient, yet safest way possible. After all, it’s impossible to know when and where events such as earthquakes will happen. Business directors and floor wardens have a moral and legal responsibility to make sure they have an adequate means of ensuring everyone is safe and accounted for in an emergency.  

It seems as though everytime we watch the news we hear of another disaster around the world. There has been a tremendous amount of flooding and of course the devastating bushfires in both California and Australia. These disasters remind us of how real our responsibility is to let those responsible know what technology is available to them to help keep their people safe. With WhosOnLocation, you can make sure everyone is accounted for, so that first responders and emergency services to get to anyone needing help in the shortest possible time.

Emergency Management Cycle

What should you do when you need to evacuate in an emergency?

Fire:

  1. Activate the fire alarm.
  2. Call 911 immediately and provide information.
  3. Assist injured personnel or notify emergency responders of the medical emergency.
  4. Exit the building following emergency maps.
  5. Assist physically impaired individuals to a secure area and notify emergency responders.
  6. Ensure all personnel are out of the building.
  7. Do not use the elevators.
  8. Use a fire extinguisher only if it is safe to do so and you have been trained.
  9. Assemble personnel at a remote location noted on evacuation maps.
  10. Report hazardous conditions.
  11. Stay low if confronted with smoke. Check closed doors for heat before opening.
  12. Stay away from the building until it is safe to return.

Earthquake:

  1. Seek cover immediately, in a place close by and out of the way of windows and significant hazards.
  2. After the shaking has stopped, run a check for injuries and safety hazards.
  3. After it is deemed safe, begin evacuating.
  4. Those needing assistance to exit the building should be helped.
  5. The evacuation should take place using a stairway, not an elevator.
  6. During an evacuation, people should be aware of falling debris and other hazards.
  7. The muster point for an earthquake emergency should be in an open area where it is safe to do a roll call.

Flood:

  1. Listen to your local radio stations as emergency management officials will be broadcasting the most appropriate advice for your community and situation.
  2. If you have a disability or need support, make contact with your support network.
  3. Put your emergency plan into action. Be prepared to evacuate quickly if it becomes necessary.
  4. Where possible, move stock or other items to higher ground.
  5. Consider using sandbags to keep water away.
  6. Lift valuable items and chemicals as high above the floor as possible.
  7. Fill containers with clean water in case water becomes contaminated.
  8. Turn off utilities if told to do so by authorities as it can help prevent damage to your community. Unplug appliances to avoid damage from power surges.
  9. Do not attempt to drive or walk through floodwaters unless it is absolutely essential.

For some useful information on how to plan for and what to do should an evacuation event occur, see:

  • Ready.gov website
  • Emergency and disaster preparedness guide
  • All Business – Evacuation Planning Ideas
  • Emergency management guide

Evacuation technology

Because we work in the visitor management, contractor, employee, and evacuation management business, we know (and see) the many benefits that come from knowing who’s on-site and who isn’t at any time. We also know that one of the most significant advantages of using an electronic visitor management system is having the ability to verify the safety of people during an evacuation event quickly.

Why use a visitor management system?

WhosOnLocation actively encourages businesses to use visitor management software to run evacuations. The technology is inexpensive, easy to implement, and can make all the difference not only around emergency services response time but the general organization of evacuation events. Our cloud software WhosOnLocation came about after Founder, Darren Whittaker-Barnett, was involved in a somewhat shambolic evacuation event. At the time, he decided there must a better way to account for everyone during an evacuation. This was when the genesis of WhosOnLocation was born.

Emergency management

Using a visitor management system with those on-site: employees, visitors, contractors (or off-site in the case of lone workers and such), logged and ready to do a roll-call (in person at the muster point or online) can mean the difference between life and death. And, being able to pull up a list of those who need assistance during evacuations on your mobile device straight away means you can get to those people fast and not risk leaving them behind. If your evacuation management system is in the cloud, you can also run communications between wardens, emergency services, and first responders. You can also send out a bulk text to make sure everyone is accounted for and clear buildings zone by zone.

There are other forms of technology that can be useful in a natural disaster.

Here’s a list of 7 apps that might be of use in an emergency.

Keep your people safe!

Use this chance to ensure your emergency and evacuation policies are as effective as they can be before the emergency is real. The risk from natural disasters, not to mention building fires and other events, is real, and there is a good chance your office building will have to be evacuated at some stage. Don’t leave the safety of those you are responsible for to chance. Implement visitor/evacuation management technology today and make sure everyone is accounted for in an emergency evacuation.

See how WhosOnLocation can make your building evacuation plan safer and more effective today.

3 minutes read time

Employing a Lone Worker? Here are 10 apps that have got your back

Last updated: February 2020

Employees that work alone often lack the safety or backup of those around them should they face confrontation, injury, or otherwise require assistance. In many countries, the law requires employers to carefully consider and then mitigate the health and safety risks to employees working alone. Although working alone is synonymous with contractors and employees in isolated or remote locations, in the eyes of the law, it’s possible to be surrounded by a thousand people and still be working alone. By definition a lone worker can actually include:

  • Staff on the night shift working in petrol stations
  • Contractors working inside occupied premises but in isolation of any close or direct supervision
  • Delivery workers
  • Cleaners
  • Repair staff
  • Security guards on lone patrol
  • Workers involved in construction
  • Miners
  • Maintenance and repair staff in the field
  • Agricultural and forestry workers
  • Telecommunications technicians
  • Rural delivery drivers
  • Social and medical workers
  • Estate agents
  • And many more…

Managing the risks associated with employees and contractors working alone can be a challenge. Luckily, there is a wide range of apps and services available to help organizations reduce the chances of lone worker injury or loss of life.

This is not an ‘exhaustive’ or a ‘best of’ list but here are 10 great apps available globally that offer a wide range of features and services to help you get ahead of Lone Worker health and safety, and compliance.

  1. Crystalball
  2. Grace Industries
  3. Guardian24
  4. Lone Alert
  5. Proteleccheckmate
  6. SoloProtect
  7. StaySafeApp
  8. SaferMe
  9. Tracetrak
  10. WhosOnLocation – Lone Worker Management

Lone Worker Well-Being Check

Above: WhosOnLocation can send you an SMS or email alert to notify you when someone has exceeded their expected duration on-site.

Some common ways organizations manage the health and safety of their Lone Workers are:

  • Systematic Risk Assessments
  • Developing a Lone Worker Policy
  • Implementing a Buddy System
  • Lone Worker Training
  • Conflict Management Training
  • Using monitoring systems and equipment (Panic Alarms, Mandown (fall/impact) Detectors, Pendant Trackers, and GPS Mobile Apps
  • Inductions specific to lone worker
  Related: 5 Ways To Make Your Site Inductions More Effective

Some apps, like WhosOnLocation, or Guardian24’s mobile app, leverage a worker’s smartphone. Others, like SoloProtect’s Identicom, or Grace Industries require a worker to carry a specific, fit-for-purpose device. Each app addresses different Lone Worker situations and needs, such as Lone Worker monitoring.

Regardless of what requirements organizations need to address the safety and security of their Lone Workers, there is a solution that will meet the requirements of most organizations within the huge range apps and services now available.

  Related: The Top 18 Apps For Facility Managers

Try it free for 30 days.

5 minutes read time

5 signs your visitor management process isn’t working

Do your visitors seem calm, stressed, or confused in your lobby? Do you use 1 step or 5 steps to let staff know their visitor has arrived? Can you send alerts to your visitors when they are in the building, such as during an evacuation? Put simply, is your visitor management process delivering the basics in safety for the people you are responsible for? Here are 5 signs you need to update your visitor management process:

  1. Your visitors always seem on edge

Do you ever get visitors walking through your door flustered (and running late)? Do you hear comments like, “It took me ages to find your office,” or “sorry I’m late, I couldn’t find a park and the traffic was really bad”? Prevent comments like these and keep your visitors happy by giving them as many details as you can upfront. Send them some information before they even get there. Send them a map with your address, give them parking tips, and tell them about the best cafe on your street. If there’s often bad traffic, warn your visitors about it and tell them the best shortcut. You can’t make sure someone isn’t late but you can make sure your visitors have the details that will make their visit easier.

  1. People get confused by your reception area

Is arriving at your lobby or foyer an awkward experience for a visitor? If it’s hard for your visitors to work out what to do when they walk in, who to speak to, and where to go from there, you have a problem. We all know what it feels like to visit somewhere for the first time and have no idea what to do or where to go. Make your visitor’s experiences the most straight-forward it can be by installing a front-of-house sign-in kiosk. Put your company’s branding on the kiosk and have a clearly displayed sign-in, sign-out button, then mention your kiosk in the email you send pre-visit. A sign-in kiosk can go a long way to making your visitors feel comfortable. Use it to ask who they are there to see and why, then brief them on your health and safety policy and tell them where the bathroom is. If done right, there won’t be any more visitors wandering around wondering what to do, they will have all the information they need at their fingertips.

  1. Employees don’t know their guests have arrived

How do you let a staff member know when his or her visitor has arrived? Do you have to run around the office looking for Jim to tell him his 10am appointment is here? Your time is too precious and Running a reception is busy enough without having to track down employees every 5 minutes. A study by WhosOnLocation across 100 reception areas around the world showed it took receptionists on average, 1 minute and 8 seconds to track down a host of a visitor using a paper visitor register or book. Automatically send a text message to a host when they sign-in. Send an email too if you want. Copies could be sent to Jim’s assistant or your security guard, you can decide who should know when someone signs in.

  1. There’s no way to send alerts to your visitors

If your parking lot was flooding would you know who’s parked there? Could you quickly send a message to everyone to let them know? Keep your stress levels as low as possible (as low as they can be when you have a building full of people and a flood on your hands) and easily update your visitors with a notification (email or txt) sent from your visitor management software. If your current system doesn’t let you alert everyone to these types of incidents (like a parking lot underwater), it’s not the right one. The best visitor management systems tell you who’s on site and contact who you need when you need to.

  1. Emergency evacuations are a disaster

Are drills or evacuation events seamless or a shambles at your organization? Do you know exactly who was on-site when you exited the building and can you tell who’s missing from the crowd outside? If you can’t say with certainty who’s on-site in real-time and if you don’t have a way to check that everyone is ok, your evacuation management system needs updating. You could try using an evacuation app that links up to your sign-in kiosk and visitor management software. Get your sign-in kiosk to send a list of employees, contractors and visitors on-site to your app and quickly do a roll-call from your mobile device. If someone isn’t present, send them a message to ask if they are safe. Then get more details if they aren’t. Knowing everyone, including visitors, is safe and accounted for during an emergency evacuation is what a good visitor management solution is all about.

Managing your visitors effectively doesn’t have to be hard work to implement and maintain. Update your system with one that works best for your organization. Make life easier for yourself and your visitors and while you’re at it, make your business a safer place to be. Have an obvious, easy to use and effective sign-in process. Send your visitors all the information they need to know pre-visit and let hosts (or their assistants) know when their visitors have arrived. And, if there’s an emergency, make sure everyone is safe and accounted for. Introduce visitor management software that actually works and your visitors will love you for it.

5 minutes read time

Are your visitors’ first impressions the kind you want to last?

Updated 3 July 2017

WhosOnLocation CEO Darren Whitaker-Barnett talks about how your business could make a better impression (and in turn win over clients) with visitor management software.

What sort of first impression does a visitor to your organization get? Do you go out of your way to make visits quick, easy and friendly? Do you go above and beyond to make your visitors feel special?

First impressions are the mental image someone forms on a first encounter, made early on, they tend to last. If yours aren’t that great they will damage your reputation, brand, and customer relationships. Bad first impressions will lose you clients and contracts. Make no mistake, bad visitor management is bad for your bottom line.

When it all goes wrong

Gary has planned to meet Tim, the CEO of #1 Contractors Ltd, to talk about a contract tender. At least he thinks he is. The pair had decided on a meeting at a conference two weeks ago so Gary wrote it in his diary. But Gary isn’t sure if Tim has remembered, because when he tried to phone to confirm, the call didn’t go through. It’s too bad there was no response to the email he sent Tim either.

So Gary finds their address online and heads to the meeting anyway, wandering around for five minutes looking for #1 Contractors’ office. When he finally finds their front door, it’s locked, so he waits outside for another five minutes. It’s now long past their supposed meeting time of 1.15 pm. Tim walks through the door just as an unimpressed Gary is about to leave.

They do end up having a meeting which goes surprisingly well, after all, Gary thinks Tim’s a great guy. But unfortunately, this meeting will be their last. Gary’s first impression of #1 Contractors is so poor that he is really reluctant to do business with them. He certainly won’t be bringing them on board to handle their next major road project. Not only did Gary waste valuable time but the whole visitor experience at #1 Contractors showed him they may well have had major problems in getting the job done.

A good approach

June has planned to meet a lawyer for the first time. It didn’t take her long to walk to their offices as she knew exactly where she was going. This is because she had an email two days before with all of the meeting details; date, time, and a map. As a friendly gesture they had even included information about the best café nearby.

When June walks into the firm’s lobby she doesn’t see anyone but can’t miss the visitor sign-in kiosk. The kiosk is a touch tablet with the firm’s branding on it asking her to ‘Please Sign-In’. June thinks this is quite flash. She finds the sign-in process quick and easy, filling out her contact details, who she is there to meet and any special requirements. To June’s surprise, she is also asked if she would like something to drink. A cup of tea, milk with no sugar, would be great. Around three minutes after she has signed in a receptionist appears with her cup of tea and to let her know the lawyer will be with her soon.

June is blown away by her first encounter with this law firm. She thinks they’re smart, modern, efficient, and most of all friendly. After this first impression, and provided they do a good job, this firm will have June as a client for life.

First impressions visitor

First impressions last

In business first impressions can make or break an organization’s bottom line. Gary won’t be working with #1 Contractors now or in the future. He has given the road project tender to a company that gave him a better first impression. From those first impressions, he can tell the chosen company will be easier to work with. Whether #1 Contractors realizes it or not, they lost out on a potential multi-million-dollar contract because of their visitor management issues.

In contrast, June is likely to be a long-term client of her new law firm. Their visitor management system gave her an amazing first impression and customer experience. June will most likely generate new referrals too as she tells everyone about the great customer service she gets at her lawyers.

How to do it right

According to Cameron Studio, there are four first impressions people make when they visit your organization;

1. Ease of finding you

2. Sense of arrival

3. Efficient use of technology

4. Bathrooms

June’s law firm ticks all of these boxes by using visitor management software with a sign-in kiosk. Of course, a computer can’t clean the bathroom for them (yet), but it can tell a visitor directions to the toilet. And it can be used to alert Sam the receptionist to high-number visitor days, so she remembers to check restroom supplies in the afternoon.

Have a long, hard think about the first impressions your business creates. Are there areas you are lacking in that could be improved? Start with how easy it is for visitors to find you and work your way from there. Run a ‘first impressions test’: Invite a friend to meet you at your organization and tell you in-depth about their first impressions. Were they positive? Do they sit well with you? Are they the kind you want to last? Most importantly, do they win you contracts and encourage your clients to stay long-term?

If the answer is no, there are many ways to go make a change and start making great first impressions. For example, you could renovate your reception area, or make changes to artwork and lighting.

Another way to impress your visitors is by using a sleek visitor management system like WhosOnLocation. Using visitor management software you can create memorable and positive first impressions, the kind that you will be happy to last forever.

5 minutes read time

6 Tips for better Evacuation Management

Updated 3 July 2017

Test evacuations always work, but would your systems crumble in a real emergency? Here are 6 ways you can strengthen your evacuation management process.

You don’t want to wait until after an evacuation to discover that your evacuation process failed. That first responders have found people needing assistance, trapped in lifts, or injured on the 8th floor when, upon their arrival, you advised them that all zones were clear and all people accounted for. You want to make sure that the integrity of the information you pass to first responders is of the highest standards.

Most organizations are obligated to carry out evacuation of location tests at least once per year, if not more. It typically coincides with the fire alarm test schedule. However the issue with evacuation tests are that they are exactly that; tests. They cannot mirror a real emergency event.

The test evacuation always works, it gets a pass. Why?

  • it is a planned event
  • employees are normally advised in advance of date and time
  • there is typically one or several safety marshals available to clear each floor because the fire alarm test was planned.
  • the reason for the evacuation is clear because the fire alarm went off
  • there is no smoke to fill the lungs of people on-site, no fire or explosions to contend with, and no gas leak, and no armed offender roaming the corridors.
  • there is no real panic, no one is rushing, and there is no collapsed building or floor to navigate past as you evacuate
  • the receptionist always remembers to grab the visitor book and there is really no real need to truly validate that the visitors actually got out to the assembly point because it’s a test after all – it’s not real
  • employees on-site are seldom actually accounted for because we rely on the safety marshal to advise us that their zone or area is clear of people.

But in a real emergency:

  • there is fire and brimstone
  • there are gas leaks
  • floors collapse
  • people rush and panic
  • employees often leave the situation of risk immediately
  • safety Marshals can be on leave and their backups may not be on-site at the time
  • if they are on-site they may not be sitting at their station ready to clear their zone
  • employees are not accounted for because no one is tracking who is on-site and even if they are no one can access the systems that account for them from the carpark assembly point
  • visitor books are often illegible with visitor first names scribbled poorly at best.

Here are 6 tips that we believe will strengthen your evacuation management process:

1.  Deploy systems which can be accessed from outside the situation of risk, that allow you to see who is on-site at the time of an evacuation. A system that records not only visitors, but employees, contractors, and other people types. WhosOnLocation’s WolEvac is one such system.

2. Practise un-announced evacuations and measure the total time it takes to evacuate your location. Do not advise the safety marshals of the evacuation test.

3. Record performance – Record the date and time of when the evacuation took place, and how many people were on-site at the time, whether there were any people that needed assistance to evacuate, if there were any visitors on-site, and how long it took to clear the zones and account for all people. WhosOnLocation’s WolEvac supports post-evacuation event reporting.

4. Benchmark and create best practise – use this information to benchmark one evacuation event against another. Ask yourself; is your evacuation process more effective at 9am, lunchtime, or 4pm. Is it more effective when visitors are not present? Are there any common traits that are consistently occurring when your safety marshals clear their zones and then account for people slower than your average?

5. Practise ‘what if’ scenarios. What if the safety marshals are not accounted for themselves? How would you be able to account for people? What if the reason for the evacuation is not obvious – no fire alarm. How do you broadcast to employees and visitors that they should evacuate now? How do you account for those contractors working on the roof? How do you manage hazardous substances exposure? What if the visitor or contractor sign-in book is NOT brought out to the assembly point? What if it is dark and no power?

6. Neighborly collaboration – You should not plan for an emergency incident or evacuation in isolation. Identify how neighboring businesses or organizations can provide assistance immediately after an evacuation. The type of incident will dictate whether your neighbors will have to serve as stand-in safety marshals. What neighboring businesses have first aid kits, qualified CPR practitioners etc.

Try WhosOnLocation free today

In order to keep your people safe in an emergency, you must know where they should be and then be able to quickly verify their safety. WhosOnLocation evacuation management helps you do just this.

The evacuation management feature is included in all of the WhosOnLocation packages at no extra cost. Sign-up for a free 30-day trial to see how WolEvac can help you better manage your evacuations and keep your people safe.

3 minutes read time

Why tracking Hazard Warning Acknowledgements is a must

The cost of being prosecuted for a breach of workplace safety regulations runs far deeper than paying a fine.

Other than the obvious human cost, should any person suffer an injury or worse; there is also brand and reputation damage, a lowering in employee confidence, an unwillingness for contractors to provide services on-site, the direct cost of putting it right (employee training, internal costs of reviews etc…), the consequential costs on your organization’s insurance premiums, and a lowering of investor confidence.

Organizations may also suffer a loss of sales, as many customers have their own policies prohibiting them from sourcing services and products from suppliers who cannot demonstrate a good workplace safety record.

The cost of a fine is only the beginning

Workplace safety regulators must consider many factors when looking to proceed with a prosecution for a breach of law.

You can do everything by the book when it comes to your compliance obligations but there is often one element of workplace safety practice that is commonly overlooked and it may cost you more than you think.

Do you have evidence to present to the investigator showing an employee, visitor, or contractor understood and acknowledged a hazard notice?

Signs, labels, hazard boards, and emails are commonly used tools for informing people of potential hazards and risks.

Collectively they address the ‘minimize’ element of hazard management best practice where there is an obligation to ‘inform’ people of hazards.

But how does an employer prove someone has read and understood that hazard notice?

 

There are solutions

You can require that all employees, visitors, and contractors add their signature to a Hazard Sheet, then date and time stamp it for auditing if required at a later date. Can you be sure if the legibility of the person’s handwriting stacks up in court if it comes to that?

If you send an email you can add a ‘read receipt’ when the email notification is delivered and the recipient opens (and presumably reads) it. This may prove the person opened the email but not that they have necessarily read it.

Both practices are better than nothing at all but they are difficult to audit and track on any scale.

WhosOnLocation users can post hazard warnings to employee and/or contractor’s mobile phones requiring them to acknowledge the hazard when they arrive on-site.

Notices can also be posted for visitors, contractors, and employees to acknowledge when signing in at a visitor kiosk.

A date and time stamp of every acknowledgement is available for auditing at a later date should the need require it.

 
 

It’s about reducing workplace injuries, improving workplace safety, and reducing your exposure to breaches

Tracking the acknowledgement of hazard notices is not explicit in any law, but not doing so opens you up to he said | she said arguments should they arise.

If having a robust process for ensuring your people are ‘informed’ of hazards, enables you to track their acknowledgement, you may just save yourself more than a few bucks.

 

 

4 minutes read time

Why Contractor timesheet lies are a bad thing and cost everybody money

The contractor-timesheet

Every day millions of contractors record the amount of time spent on-site (through a contractor-timesheet), performing a task, and completing a job. Recently one of our customers explained how contractor costs reduced by over 18% after switching from a system of trust, where the contractor issued an invoice based on the time they say they spent performing the task, to an electronic sign-in system.

Recently one of our customers explained how contractor costs reduced by over 18% after switching from a system of trust (where the contractor issued an invoice based on the time they say they spent performing the task) to an electronic sign-in system.

At the same time, they also saw a reduction in performance and delivery from their contractors.

What happened, and could it be fixed?

Prior to the roll-out of the electronic system, contractors would complete a task and then fill out a timesheet for their employer. The employer would then turn that timesheet into an invoice to the customer.

After the roll-out of the electronic contractor management system, contractors signed in on arrival and signed out on departure. The customer, not the contractor, sent the total time spent on-site to the contractor’s employer. And then the invoice was generated which would reconcile against the contractors total time spent on-site.

Initial delight

Initially, our customer saw an average 18% drop in contractor costs in the first quarter but the level of services requested had not reduced.

The customer carried out a review and determined that the average job was taking 20% less time to complete post the electronic system roll-out. After reconciling what they might have saved by deploying the electronic system 12 months earlier, a staggering $450,000 in savings would have been realized.

So they were getting more bang for their dollar – but were they?

The aftershock

The review also uncovered a surprising consequence of the reduced costs; the response times from many contractors had unfortunately dropped down to the agreed minimum Service level agreement (SLA) standards – in other words these contractors were no longer exceeding SLA’s.

What can we assume from this?

We know the customer negotiated hard (they told us as much), achieved a price point and terms they were happy with. We know the contractor accepted the terms but we don’t know if they were completely happy once they signed the agreement. We can only guess that they needed the work and did not want the competition securing the contract, and as a consequence probably accepted a slightly lower rate than what they wanted.

For the next 12 months our customer believes:

  1. The contractors either embellished their time on-site to their employer who issued an inflated invoice reflecting the recorded time on-site; or
  2. They recorded their time accurately and then the employer added additional time to the invoice (probably to reflect their true cost and a fairer margin for delivering the service).

Post the electronic system roll-out our customer believes:

  1. The contractors were faced with very open and transparent data being sent to them about how long their people were on-site for meaning;
  2. They had no choice but to issue invoices that reflected the actual time spent on-site.
  3. But they were now not profitable or they were but only just. So they delivered the service they were contracted to provide but no longer felt it necessary to delight their customer or exceed the customer’s SLA’s – and reverted to working to rule.

The consequences

Our customer has changed the way it enters contract and supplier negotiations as clearly the cost of driving down the price whilst expecting a gold-plated SLA was significant. They renegotiated all of their major contracts and as a result, all parties are better off.

Contractors and suppliers were also better off as the true cost to them to deliver their service became apparent meaning they are able to cost future work more accurately.

Side Note:

Our customer mentioned to us that if you believed the cost of having a service delivered to your business is ‘X’ dollars but that number came about from inflated invoices or low-cost rates won at the negotiation table, you were not well positioned to evaluate the market for benchmarking come contract renegotiation time.

3 minutes read time

3 tips for providing great visitor experiences at reception

There is much more to great visitor experiences than a well-designed reception area with soft seating, the morning paper, mints on the counter, and an offer of tea, coffee, or water. Whilst all of these get a tick in the must do’s column the investment is wasted if the visitor has to wait longer than 2 minutes to be issued a pass, and their host notified of their arrival.

A great way to keep your visitors happy (and reduce visitor wait times) is to make the visitor welcoming experience and sign-in process seamless, fast, and easy to do. We know most visitors do not like signing into a visitor book or an electronic sign in system. In fact, our research tells us that over 75% of visitors believe the hosting organization should already have them registered – because the visit was scheduled.

Here are three tips for giving your visitors a great reception experience, regardless of whether you are a small, medium, or large multi-national business.

1: Pre-register Visitors

Empower your employees to pre-register their visitors. Whether they do so themselves or request reception do it for them, nothing beats that feeling when you walk into an organization and the receptionist says: “Welcome Mr/Mrs/Ms xxxxxxx, we have been expecting you”. Pre-registering gives reception teams visibility into who is due on-site, allowing them to plan for large groups, prepare seating, meeting rooms, drinks, passes, and car parks.

2: Pre-print Visitor Passes

Having visitor passes pre-printed is a simple courtesy the visitor will love. It shows you care, you are prepared, and reduces waiting times for signing in multiple visitors and large groups. Reception teams are way too busy to manually create visitor passes after the visitor signs in. Their focus should be on ensuring visitors are aware of site facilities and tending to their specific needs. The issuance of the visitor pass, even for a large group should be something that takes seconds, not minutes.

3: Keep the Visitor informed of their Host’s Arrival

From personal experience, it’s always comforting to know my host has been notified of my arrival and acknowledges they are on their way. I don’t feel a lot of love when the reception team ask me to “take a seat and they’ll let my host know I have arrived” – and then they don’t update me. Ten minutes goes by and still not a peep from the receptionist. A simple “John is aware you have arrived and will be down in 2 minutes” or “Sorry John is running a little late and will be here in 5 minutes. He sends his apologies. May I get you a coffee, tea, water?” – goes a long way to making visitors feel comfortable and at ease in your environment.

If you have some great tips for improving visitor experiences share them with us!