Visitor Management System for a Coworking Space (All-Embracing Implementation Guide)
Visitor management system for a coworking space is a software allowing community managers to automate the reception area. This type of system brings multiple benefits to those who use it.
Read on and learn more on the subject — why do you need a visitor management system for your coworking space, what types of systems are available in the market, how to choose a visitor management system for your coworking space, and more.
The core of any visitor registration app can be described in a simple sentence. It should quickly and efficiently check in visitors, capture key information, and let hosts know of their guest's arrival.
I am not saying that front desk managers fail to cope with their job. On the contrary, most of them are pretty good at what they are doing but they are just humans who can handle only one task at a time.
The truth is that coworking spaces generally don’t have a lot of staff, they simply don't need it. A coworking space is usually packed full with members working on their own projects and interacting with one another, customers, partners.
How many people manage your coworking space?
Probably the answer is one or two. What would you prefer — a community manager staying at the desk all the time greeting the incomers or a manager engaged in high touch activities? Most probably you want a manager to do both, greet people and facilitate building a community. With an automated check-in process you can attain the ultimate efficiency of your small crew.
Don't make the manager feel torn trying to be at two places simultaneously.
Multitasking simply doesn't work in some cases. Just imagine your manager talking to the members or troubleshooting an issue when a guest walks through the door and requires immediate attention. Setting priorities in such situation is needless, as a visitor kiosk lets the guest feel welcome without interrupting the workflow and stressing the manager.
Does your coworking space sponsor workshops and informal gatherings aimed at encouraging community-building among members?
These events provide great opportunities for promotion. You demonstrate clients, prospective members, and visitors what the workspace has to offer. Directing guests to check-in at an automated kiosk allows your community manager to run the show, shake hands and establish connections.
Coworking software combined with a visitor management system not only simplifies managers life. Your coworking space needs it to build a digital database of possible connections (visitors input their personal details during check-in.) When you know every visitor of the gathering, there is no shame in a follow up phone call, handwritten note, or an invitation to learn more about the membership benefits at your coworking center.
- They prefer to use a self-service system even when a person is available. This is the best way to make sure that your info is entered correctly.
- A visitor will not interrupt if a manager is busy with some other activity. But waiting results in poor user experience. A self-service option solves the problem as assists the visitor immediately.
- Managers can't work 24/7 and they don't have to. Digital check-in systems work instead of them and registration becomes a matter of minutes no matter of visitors coming time.
- A decent visitor management system automatically notifies the host about guest arrival by voice call, text message, email, or Slack. This allows the host to personally greet their guests.
Check out our recent guest post with more insights into the high touch benefits of digital visitor management systems.
I have already covered some of the benefits a visitor management system can bring to a coworking space. Here I am going to structure the ones mentioned above and supplement them with several new items.
You know who are your visitors which helps you reduce risks and enhance security. A visitor management system allows your visitors to pre-register their visit and enter all the relevant details. You can quickly process their details beforehand and put both planned and unplanned visits under control.
Get notifications and prepare for the visits better. When the visitor gets pre-registered, they receive a notification with all essential details on their mobile phone or email. This helps to speed up check-in at the security gate. When the visitor checks in to the premises a notification about the arrival is sent to the receiving party as well.
Supply visitors with e–pass or paper pass. Visitor management system offers options to create either an e-pass with access rights or a paper pass for visitors with the following information—visitor name, photograph, contact details, organization name, and escort name. It also contains records of all the carry-on materials and visitor's ID-proof for adding an extra layer of security.
Get utmost control over visitor access. One of the most important benefits of visitor access management system is easy control. By entering visitor’s credentials (palm vein or fingerprint) or RFID card, you can restrict visitor's access and permit entrance only to scheduled and selected areas.
Stop entering the same data every now and again. Maintain visitor database with the software. Mark returning visitors. This will help you create visitor pass quickly, avoid entering the same user details every time and save hours.
See the live status of visitors. Visitor dashboard displays current status of the visitors. It provides real-time data of visitors inside the premises, status of registered visitor passes, pre-registered visitors, new visitors, rejected passes, expired passes and more. This info is essential for enhancing coworking space security.
Observe substantial growth of business health parameters. Another huge benefit of using automated visitor management system is that you can generate various Excel, PDF, CSV, Word and RTF reports. For instance, you can view reports of visitor punch details, pre-registered visitors, visitor access denied, enrollment status, pass validity and more.
Sure enough visitor management systems are used not only in coworking spaces. An office, office center, school, educational institution, hospital, business/government/non-profit agency, and so on also take advantages of the software functionality.
Visitor management software is certainly a useful tool for checking in clients and partners, but its capabilities go far beyond that. For instance, when you use the system for guests registration, you actually impress them from the very beginning.
The guest signs in at the service kiosk and visitor management platform sends text, email, or Slack notification to the community manager. If the guest is required to sign any documentation prior to entering the meeting room, they can quickly complete the form on the kiosk or iPad and get to work right away. Filled forms are saved directly to the database and can be easily accessed.
Your guests will love using visitor management software for check in when they arrive for their working day. This helps to avoid the awkward moments when a person doesn't know where to go or where to sit if the community manager isn’t available.
Visitor management software helps you keep your coworking space, members, and staff secure. It can stop an unwelcome visitor before they get in. You can configure the system to alert security about unauthorized guests.
Sometimes you need to invite a contractor to do a certain job for you (software maintenance, installation, bugs fixing, repairing, whatever). Your VMS can manage those contractors as well. It will validate them, ensure they have a place to work and know where to go. When a contractor checks in via an iPad or service kiosk, the host gets an immediate alert. The contractor can receive a badge and be assigned to a workstation where they can get to work right away instead of waiting for personal attendance.
You can check the digital visitor logs to see when and where they are planning to work. Besides, you can also see if a contractor has left for the day or never shows up.
There are three types of visitor management systems. Continue reading and know more about each type, its pros and cons.
- The first type is the most familiar one. It's pen and paper VMS.
Pros: This system is cheap and easy to start. All you need is a pen, a notebook, and a receptionist who will put in the records.
Cons: Waste of paper. The system doesn’t integrate with anything, doesn’t notify members about visitors, doesn't contribute to building a positive coworking brand image.
- The second type is your own custom made software.
Pros: A software solution tailored specifically to your workspace needs gives you utmost flexibility and can be deeply customized to your requirements.
Cons: It's rather expensive to develop and maintain a custom visitor management software. Moreover, it will require a custom integration with your main workspace management platform as well as any other system for coworking space.
- The third type is white label VMS such as Greetly, The Receptionist, and Welkio (mere about the systems herein under).
Pros: The software is affordable. Flexible and customizable, connects to coworking software to notify members.
Cons: Failed to find any. You tell us.
Greetly is a digital receptionist that greets the incoming visitors to your workplace. Visitors only need to choose the purpose of their visit, inform who they are there to see, and enter their name. Greetly notifies the host employee/community manager and logs the visitor’s information. Greetly can also capture visitors’ picture, signatures, and NDA agreement. Greetly set up takes less than 10 minutes.
Price: Free 14-day trial available. From $79 / month if paid annually.
Side Note: You can easily sync Greetly or any other visitor management system with andcards workspace management app using Zapier integration. This way you will automate the process of adding new users and free your manager from manual work. We even created a ready-made Zap template for that!
The Receptionist for iPad is aimed to increase your productivity and efficiency, improve security of your workplace, its compliance, and impress your visitors. Your front desk becomes more streamlined with a visitor management system. Here are a few features that make The Receptionist for iPad unique - Custom Buttons and Workflows, Custom Badge Design, Multi-Language Display, Location Management, Two-Way Communication.
Price: Free 14-day trial available. Basic plan costs $49 / month / location.
A friendly visitor sign-in software for your coworking space. Welkio is the modern solution that does everything but shake hands. Welkio collects your visitors’ name, company name, email address, photo and the purpose of their visit. Visitors can sign legal documents digitally and instantly print custom name badges keeping your business safe and secure. Welkio automatically notifies your employees of a visit by Slack, HipChat, email, or SMS.
Price: Free 14-day trial available. $79 / month / location with all features included.
Firstly let's utter what exactly a good visitor management system should do for you —
- sign in visitors,
- provide identification for them to wear,
- keep track of them during their visit,
- and keep a record of their visit.
Now we can pass over to choosing a perfect visitor management system for your coworking space. Ask yourself these questions before making a final decision.
Eye-feasting client-facing features are important but your visitor management system should be user-friendly at the backend as well. Don't make administrator struggle with check-in process, badges, and reports design. Opt for VMS that offers features like drag-and-drop interfaces, wizards, and robust customer support that can respond to questions quickly. Even better, consider only the programs that have free trial period before making long-term commitment.
The best visitor management system not only assists in the check-in process, but helps with printing visitor badges, playing safety videos, alerting hosts that their visitors have arrived, in a word, replaces the front desk staff.
For example, the Receptionist allows visitors to chat directly with their hosts via the check-in tablet. This is great as a visitor is 100% confident that the host knows they’ve arrived and that they are safe from the odds of wandering into the office unannounced.
Some more helpful features are "returning visitor" (allows visitors store their information and check in quicker next time), pre-registration (eliminates manual data input on coming), customization of the check-in fields and screens to suit your coworking space needs.
The most essential devices necessary for running a visitor management system are a tablet, a tablet stand, and Wifi connections. This is not too much if you don't need to think about hardware compatibility. Beware of the VMS that don't support cheaper Android tablets as your estimated hardware costs will inevitably go up.
Why is it so important for VMS to integrate with your coworking software? Because it saves you money and frees you from many unexpected disappointments.
For instance, successful integration frees you from managing two user databases as they are synchronized. Coworking software will serve a list of members to choose a host and can save guest list.
Moreover, visitors can be notified with a push notification inside the coworking app. Usually notifying with SMS costs extra money. Configuring Slack for the purpose is too complicated. But coworking members already have smart mobile app installed, so they can just receive a push notification that someone's at the door.
No doubt that VMS is much more private than a paper log. Yet, advanced software takes privacy to the next level automatically removing visitor data at custom intervals (at the end of each day, week, or month).
Customers appreciate such approach as not all of them want you to store their info for a lifetime. This becomes even more topical if you keep GDPR items in mind.
Summarizing everything said above, you would like to pick out a user-friendly visitor management program that is able:
- to handle your entire visitor management process,
- has a robust reporting system,
- can grow along with your company,
- collects legal signatures,
- and values visitor privacy.
No one likes to start over with completely new software when the company outgrows the capacity of a particular visitor management system. So, the software of your choice is the one that can expand to meet the requirements caused by growing visitor traffic, changing facility layouts and additional company locations.
Insightful reports give you valuable information on the ways of UX (user/member experience) improvement. They show you who is visiting your facility, for what reasons, and when they tend to arrive. This data helps you prepare in good time and plan appropriately.
Some software show how visitors are interacting with the system, i.e. how long it typically takes them to check in and which pages they spend the most time on. With this knowledge, you can continue to improve the check-in process.
I have already mentioned above that estimated hardware costs may increase if a VMS doesn't support cheaper Android tablets. Also, think well about the scope of features you really need — do you need package manager, café ordering, printing visitor name badges?
And a piece of advice that will narrow and smoothen your choice. Check your coworking software provider and find out what visitor management systems they support. Usually, they have a good relationship with VMS companies and can even get you a special deal.
Wrapping up all the above, you would want to use visitor management system:
- to make impression on your customers,
- to add your business a modern and innovative vibe,
- to streamline procedure at reception,
- and enhance security of the enterprise.
A coworking space of the present day should implement a visitor management app and selecting the right one is of great importance.
Look for check-in app featuring top-notch security, utmost compatibility with all services, apps, and programs you utilize, and alert system for each of your employees or coworking community members. The system should not break the bank, require easy to find hardware, and provide unlimited capacity without the necessity to hire somebody to maintain it.
A high-tech way to check in and manage visitors coming to your coworking space is a giant step to five-star service paving the way to prosperity, growth, and development. Nothing can stop you from following up your guests later, and your employees from building community enthusiastically.
Please let us know if you agree with our takeaways. Are you ready to try using a VMS at your coworking space? Which one is your favorite and what features make you think so?