Can You Create a Great Visitor Experience Without a Staffed Front Desk?

Bri Morgaine
November 22, 2022
visitor management, office visitors, visitor experience, visitor management software

If your company is hybrid, you might be asking the question: Do you need a fully-staffed reception area? 

Historically, the answer would have been yes. When it comes to visitor management, traditional office best practices assume that you should have a person present at a front desk during all business hours to welcome guests. 

But, modern workplaces are evolving rapidly—and with many companies switching to a hybrid office model, meaning that most (if not all) employees split their time between working from the office, and working remotely. This also means that the number of office visitors you get on a regular basis has probably shifted too, since guests will likely be coordinating with individual employees based on when they’ll be in the office, conducting more virtual meetings, and so on. 

So, for hybrid offices, having a person sit at a front desk every day might not be realistic or necessary for a number of reasons. 

Here’s why that is, and how you can still create a great experience for office visitors without a staffed reception area at all times. 

Related content: How to Create a Great Experience for Office Visitors

Is a fully-staffed reception a good fit for your hybrid office?

For a hybrid office, every day is different

A hybrid office involves a lot of inherent flexibility. That’s the beauty of it. 

But, this can also create some issues, since each day will be a little bit different than the last.

You may not have the same number of people coming into the office every day—and this applies not only to employees, but to office visitors. 

If your front desk is staffed during all business hours, but you only actually get visitors a few times a week, your reception or admin staff is likely spending a lot of time sitting around. Unless you see a high volume of visitors on a daily basis, all day long, having someone sitting behind a desk all day to welcome guests may not be necessary. 

Work where you work best—terms and conditions apply 

Our Where Tech Works survey found that more than 80% of tech workers prefer a hybrid setup. 

But, if the flexibility to work from either the office or from home extends to everyone but your admin or reception staff, this is likely to create some problems. 

Requiring only one employee or role type to work from the office every day (while everyone else is granted more flexibility) may create tension between orgs, and a bad experience for members of your team. 

If you still want to have a member of your team present at a front desk during high-traffic times, consider letting them work from home to complete other administrative tasks sometimes as well. 

Related content: Should You Offer Flexible Work Schedules for Your Team?

The ultimate goal of visitor management: Creating a great experience for office guests

What is the point of having a fully-staffed reception area? 

To create a positive, smooth experience for people coming into your office. 

The goal isn’t just to have a body behind a desk, but to make sure that people coming and going from your office know where to go when they arrive, are able to sign needed documents, are promptly met by whoever they’re meeting, and so on. 

And, there are ways to create this experience that can free-up members of your admin team and get them out from behind that desk. 

Using tech to create an enjoyable, clear experience for office visitors

As our ways of working continue to shift, so do the tools we use to improve the workplace experience for everyone—both employees and visitors. 

Rather than rely solely on having a member of your administrative team sit behind a desk all day, consider using a visitor management tool to welcome guests into your office. 

What is visitor management software? 

Visitor management software refers to a tool used to track who is coming and going from an office. 

It often includes features that allow admin staff to automate emails to visitors with information on how to access the office, alerts employees when their guest has arrived, collects sign in information and other forms (such as NDAs), and so on. 

You can learn more about Eden's Visitor Management software here, or keep reading for more on why using a tool for visitor management can create a great experience for office visitors.

Related content: What Is Visitor Management Software, and How Does It Work?

The benefits of using a visitor management system: 

1. Your front desk can be staffed as frequently or infrequently as needed 

With a visitor management system, you’re in control of whether or not you choose to staff your front desk at all times. 

Make no mistake: Having someone present to welcome guests can be a wonderful way to create a positive visitor experience. But, with a visitor management system, it’s not a necessity. Your admin staff does not have to be present during all business hours for your office visitors to have a great experience. 

For example, Eden’s visitor management system allows guests to check in via iPad once they arrive at your office. They’ll get all the information they need during their self check-in, and the employee they are meeting with will be alerted automatically that they’ve arrived. 

2. It’s easier to handle important documents securely 

If your visitors sign in upon arrival, fill out forms, sign NDAs, or similar, you might be manually compiling all this information. 

This isn’t particularly convenient; not only is it time-consuming, but if documents aren’t being handled correctly, it can also be a security risk. 

Using a visitor management tool means that guests can sign in, fill out paperwork, sign agreements, and so on all within one system—that then securely logs and files all documents and information. 

3. Your office stays healthier and safer 

If you require proof of vaccination or negative test results for office visitors, using a visitor management tool is the easiest way to collect this information. 

For one thing, it can be collected beforehand. With Eden, visitors can upload their health documents directly before even entering the office. And, it will be safely stored—an important consideration when collecting health information. 

And speaking of safety, using a visitor management tool keeps your office safe beyond protecting against the spread of illnesses like COVID. With a real-time log of who is in your office, you’ll be better equipped to handle emergency situations, like natural disasters or building emergencies. 

Related content: Keep Your Office Safe With Vaccine Tracking for Visitors

5. Accessing historical data is simple 

Do you have a clear sense of when your office hosts the most visitors? 

By using a tool to manage office guests, you’ll also have access to historical data on who has been in and out of your office. You’ll know which days and times you see the highest volume of visitors—so if you do plan to staff a reception area, you’ll know when to make sure someone is standing by to welcome guests. 

And, you can make decisions around workplace management that create an even better guest experience going forward. For example, if you notice that you regularly see a high volume of visitors on Wednesday mornings, you can choose to offer complimentary swag or snacks every week on that day, and encourage your team to invite visitors during that time. 

Visitor management tools work with your hybrid workplace 

Just because having a fully-staffed reception area might not make sense for your office doesn’t mean you need to settle for a confusing, unpleasant experience for office visitors.

Using a visitor management tool like Eden’s gives you the flexibility to staff your reception area as frequently or infrequently as works for your company—without sacrificing guest experience. 

If you’d like to learn more about Visitor Management from Eden, click the demo button below. 

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