When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, the unfortunate outcome was that many organizations were forced to let people go from their jobs for a variety of different reasons. However, even when people were laid off from their jobs, their duties still remained. And someone, or something, had to cover them.
It’s a familiar story for Traction Guest G2 reviewer Oliver, who due to the pandemic, had to make the unfortunate decision to let go of their front desk worker. But he still needed a solution to cover their responsibilities.
“Because of the current situation with this pandemic, we had to let go of a few resources and the receptionist was one of them,” said Oliver. “To cover part of their responsibilities we had to come up with a solution that allowed management of the visitors. Traction Guest helped us with exactly that.”
Many organizations were welcoming visitors to their facility with a smiling face. But due to the pandemic, for many reasons including layoffs and new health and safety regulations, front desk employees have seen a drastic shift in their roles and responsibilities. Some are finding themselves behind plexiglass as they welcome guests with touchless sign-in systems, while others are working from home and using remote tools to still do receptionist jobs, such as accepting deliveries and managing visitor schedules.
Freeing up the reception desk
Despite some reception desk workers being let go, others have simply had their jobs made easier, and had their time freed up for other duties. As more organizations deploy Traction Guest’s visitor management system, they are finding more ways to utilize their people. Especially front desk workers, who now aren’t as concerned about greeting guests when they arrive.
“Using Traction Guest has helped free up a lot of time at our reception desk,” said a G2 review of Traction Guest. “It will be especially useful now that we need to keep in mind contact-tracing given the pandemic. As well, it allows the facilities/infrastructure team to get concrete data on daily visitor counts as well as references on which guests were in the building at what time.”
The pandemic has made it critical to provide contact tracing services, manage site capacity, and better manage the schedules of people, including contractors, employees, and job applicants, coming to the site. And many organizations have been able to tailor their front desk workers' job roles into including these responsibilities, aided by visitor management software.
With greater emphasis on health and safety protocols, front desk workers are being handed greater responsibilities at the front desk, acting as the frontline between the outside world and a possible workplace outbreak.
Visitor management software is giving tools to those workers to manage how people are coming to the site, which benefits the entire organization in mitigating the risks of a possible outbreak.
“Traction Guest was quick to make adjustments given the COVID-19 pandemic, which really impressed me. I would definitely recommend Traction Guest to anyone who is looking to ease visitor management, and lessen the workload at the reception desk.”
An investment in health and security
While the pandemic has brought many changes to the workplace, including a dramatic shift to work from home and hybrid-work models, it also has sparked investment in health and security measures, especially for those returning to the office.
In a recent ASIS webinar poll, attendees were asked how the pandemic impacted their 2021 safety and security budget. 25.4% of attendees said they were increasing spending on physical security, while 27.1% said they increased spending on HR, EHS, and other tangential areas. And 19.5% said they made a temporary change, but no long-term impact.
14.4% of attendees said there was increased interest in safety and security, but no corresponding budget, while 13.6% said they actually decreased spending.
“All our employee stakeholders agree that security is of greater importance moving forward,” said Brian Phillips, Director Global Security Strategy with Traction Guest. “They will be looking for evidence that we are acting and doing things to keep them safe. Some of us have already seen this opportunity for increased funding or budgeting of staffing.”
Many organizations are making investments in visitor management software and other measures to keep their employees safe and to offer greater security against outside threats, including health outbreaks like COVID-19. It’s sparking a reimagined workforce where front desk reception is now part of a health, safety, and security team, rather than just acting in a guest services role. The receptionist position is being redefined to include all these new aspects, which makes visitor management systems critical to their success.
Where are they investing?
In another poll in the ASIS webinar, attendees were asked in response to the pandemic, what new tools have their organization invested in. 64.5% of attendees said pre-access health surveys and 58.7% said outbreak alerts and contact tracing.
Both of these can now be managed by front desk workers who can send pre-access health surveys to scheduled guests before they arrive, requiring a QR code with a successful survey to gain entry. And contact tracing can be completed by using a visitor management system to see who was at the office when an outbreak occurred, including contractors, guests, and employees, so you can provide the proper social responsibility to alert everyone in the case of a health emergency.
It’s apparent now that solutions are being invested in to keep people, including front desk workers and receptionists safe on the job. But also, their role is expanding to help manage the pandemic response, while also seeing their role redefined moving forward.
Layoffs are an unfortunate byproduct of the COVID-19 pandemic. But some organizations are using it as a way to reimagine how they will manage their space moving forward, beyond the pandemic. And with visitor management software systems in place that are flexible and customizable, they can scale with the business as their business position changes.