How Visitor Management Evolved to Support COVID-19 Requirements

The old saying “You never get a second chance to make a first impression” rings true in more ways than one. While the sentiment is usually used to describe people, the same can also apply to places that create a lasting impression, like building lobbies. The lobby of a building serves as a welcoming entryway, the place for instructions and directions, and as the hub of the building. The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic added a new job description for the lobby, that of first line defender of the health and safety of everyone who enters a building.

COVID-19 has transformed the lobby from a quick-stop to check credentials and offer directions to the front line in the battle against a pernicious virus. Visitor Management systems have evolved with the need to keep people safe and healthy by offering new capabilities for remote registration, health-attestations, temperature screening, and automated credentialing and admittance. Evolving along with these systems are people’s attitudes toward the process. Once thought of as a nuisance, visitors have a new awareness of the process and the need for a robust admittance procedure.

A Visitor Management system also extends the reach of the lobby by providing automated and online health screening questionnaires that are both remote and contactless. A Visitor Management System with a built-in employee and visitor pre-entry health screening are designed to easily administer an electronic daily COVID-19 survey as required by many State Health Departments based on guidance from the CDC. This functionality lets people register and answer health-related questions before they reach the front door, taking the burden off of lobby personnel, allowing for minimal contact, and expediting the admittance process.

Typically, a lobby was concerned with admitting visitors to a building, while employees usually came and went as needed (as long as they had their proper credentials, of course). COVID-19 has changed that, now employees are subject to the same enhanced entry criteria as a guest, contractor, or delivery person. For instance, a Visitor Management system tied into a physical access control system can deactivate employee credentials each evening, and only reactivate if the employee passes a daily health screening. Additionally, the system can put an employee’s credential in quarantine for a specified number of days if the employee fails the health screening.

Over the course of the pandemic, the method and tools used to screen visitors and employees has evolved, but one component has been a constant, screening for external human body temperature. How many of us just a year ago would consent to having our temperature taken and recorded before we entered a building? Today, it is almost expected. There are many thermometer options, but most used in lobbies utilize a handheld thermal sensor to take a temperature from a person’s forehead or inner part of the eye. These devices, however, require a dedicated person at an entrance and can return a false reading due to face coverings, hair, makeup, glasses, perspiration, and hats.

New technology, however, takes the thermometer out of the hands of lobby personnel and automates the process of taking temperatures. Thermal hand scanners are a quick and easy solution for contactless temperature detection that integrate with Visitor Management systems to scan and record temperatures. These devices require a person to simply place their wrist or forearm under the scanner to have their temperature taken and recorded automatically. In addition to freeing lobby personnel, these devices help your organization follow the CDC's recommendations to monitor every person who enters a facility by automatically managing the acceptance of a person based on a configurable temperature threshold.

COVID-19 has extended the role and the reach of the lobby. The function of a lobby has changed, no longer simply tasked with registering visitors and granting access, the lobby must now keep track of occupancy requirements, affirm health attestations, and record human body temperatures to allow access to not only visitors but employees alike. Visitor Management systems have kept up with these requirements to help lobby personnel keep a building healthy by adding processes and workflows that facilitate gathering and storing vital information. In addition, Visitor Management systems have facilitated compliance with regulations by offering visitors and employees a quick, automated, and most importantly, a private method to submit contact information.

Want to learn more about our PassagePoint Visitor Management System? Check out our website here.

PassagePoint Global from STOPware Inc is a complete visitor management solution that includes capabilities for visitor pre-registration, security and watchlist checks, automated email/SMTP notifications, badge printing, reporting, and audit trail capabilities. Plus, STOPware offers an Employee/Visitor Pre-Entry Health Survey module, a contactless attestation solution that helps COVID-19 outside your facility, and FeverWarn™ Thermal Hand Temperature Scanner.