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Boosting Workplace Security: Guard Against Visitor Threats

Many workplaces receive regular visitors. These may include clients, suppliers, technicians, cleaners, and job applicants. Most of these visitors are not there to cause any trouble. However, there is always the threat that a visitor may not be who they say they are.

It’s not something we often think about or want to consider, but most burglaries of workplaces occur at night when no one is in the building. Nevertheless, a growing number of thieves are striking during the day. Some of these burglars will pose as inspectors or handymen doing routine checks or services. Others will pose as clients or even as interview candidates. Not all of these crooks strike there and then. In fact, many simply leak information to others, helping with future fraud or theft. Only by introducing a visitor security protocol and by investing in security equipment can you protect your business from these types of criminals.

The level of threat that visitors pose is likely to depend on the size of your business and the number of visitors you receive daily. If you work in a small office with one entrance and receive very few visitors, it’s unlikely that visitors will be much of a threat, as you’ll be able to easily keep track of each one. However, in a larger office with multiple entrances and a constant flow of visitors, you may have to take more stringent measures to protect your business. Whether operating in a small, standalone office or a large professional complex, providing proper security is essential for your business growth.

How can you prevent visitors from being a threat?

There are several measures you can take to protect yourself from criminals posing as visitors. 

Assign a staff member to monitor the entrance.

If your workplace has a single entrance, it can be effective to employ someone to oversee who comes and goes. This role could be as simple as stationing someone at a reception desk, or you might consider hiring a security guard to stand outside the entrance. The feasibility of these options will likely depend on the layout of your workplace and your budget. Most businesses cannot justify the expense of a full-time security guard, as it is generally unnecessary. Similarly, if the entrance leads directly into a narrow corridor or staircase, placing a reception desk may not be feasible. Continue reading for some viable alternatives if designating someone to monitor the entrance is not an option.

Provide a logbook for visitors to sign. 

If you can staff the entrance, consider requiring every visitor to sign in and out. This creates a record of everyone who has entered and exited the building, which is useful if an incident occurs and you need to identify who was present. If your workplace operates on an appointment-only basis, this also helps you verify visitors by name. Additionally, asking for a phone number provides further verification and a point of contact in case of emergencies. Such a protocol may deter criminals looking to enter unnoticed. Consider using a digital logbook as an alternative.

Identify authorized visitors with lanyards. 

After confirming a visitor’s identity, provide them with a lanyard to signify their authorization. If you encounter someone without a lanyard, it’s a clear indication that their identity has not been verified, potentially flagging them as an intruder. 

You can explore different lanyard and ID holder designs online. Many businesses enhance security by taking photos of each visitor and printing personalized IDs on the spot.

Prevent access to unauthorized areas with access control systems.

To prevent visitors from wandering into unauthorized areas, consider installing code entry locks, which are particularly useful for private office rooms that require restricted access, even for certain staff members. Another effective method is to limit access to sensitive areas to those with a keycard or fob only.

Additionally, you could implement access control systems at your premises’ main entrance to keep unauthorized visitors out. Many offices use intercoms that require visitors to state their name and purpose before granting entry. These intercoms can also manage access to private car parks. Video intercoms, moreover, can record visitor footage for further verification. Naturally, someone in your office will need to oversee these systems and make access decisions.

Have a staff member accompany visitors at all times.

Another effective security measure is to ensure that a staff member accompanies each visitor. This helps prevent unauthorized access to restricted areas and is particularly useful in larger workplaces. Additionally, it provides benefits beyond security, such as helping visitors navigate the premises and avoid hazardous areas.

However, this approach does require a staff member to temporarily leave their usual tasks to escort visitors. If multiple visitors arrive simultaneously, it might not be feasible to provide individual accompaniment without a significant number of staff available.

Install surveillance cameras throughout your premises.

Surveillance cameras offer a viable alternative to personally accompanying visitors. You can monitor exactly where visitors are at all times by placing cameras all around your workplace. It’s important to ensure that your staff are comfortable with this setup. Additionally, you must adhere to legal restrictions regarding camera placement, such as avoiding private areas like bathrooms.

The sight of cameras will put off most burglars. For those who aren’t deterred, a camera will provide you with evidence of any crime they commit, which could help when filing a police report and catching the criminal. 

Don’t publicly display sensitive information.

Some companies carelessly display sensitive information in public areas. A common example is the use of sticky notes or whiteboards for jotting down passwords. A visitor could easily photograph a password and use it to hack into your company or leak it to other hackers. Consequently, it is crucial to store sensitive information in secure locations. If employees regularly forget passwords, consider setting up password managers or advising them to store private notes on their phones or other devices.

This is a collaborative post.