Imagine you could start all over again with a clean slate when it comes to collecting your visitor data. Knowing what you know today about health and safety and the need for data privacy, what would your perfect front desk sign-in sheet look like?
But for argument's sake, we'll make this a fair fight and take the digital visitor management system out of the picture. We'll stick to old school pen and paper.
The paper sign-in sheet represents visitor management in its purest form, as a method of record-keeping: Tracking the people who come and go from your premises.
But does it help future-proof your business?
Tips for the perfect front desk sign-in sheet
More often than not, things that look perfect "on paper" fall short in person.
This could be said for the infamous paper logbook you still see at front desks. It's disappointing when you walk into an impressive modern lobby only to find a mess of a sign-in sheet when you get to reception—the infamous "good from afar but far from good" syndrome.
To go along with your free templates at the end of this post, here are 5 tips to improve your sign-in sheet:
1. Make it user-friendly and easy to read
This sounds obvious, but it still needs to be said. Put yourself in the shoes of your visitors.
This is not the time to get artsy and choose fonts with curly swirly letters that induce headaches to decipher.
Instead, keep your fonts professional:
Times New Roman
Set a font size bigenough that nobody has to squint to read. And last but not least, give people enough room to write keeping in mind names and handwriting come in all different shapes and sizes.
Remember: Easy-to-read fonts and generous line spacing are your friends!
2. Don't ask for more information than you need
Whether it's an actual hardbound book or a clipboard with a sign in and out sheet attached to it, it needs to record basic information about visitors:
Date of the visit
Person or company visited
But what is "basic" to your business? Contractually, you might need to ask for the visitor's company name, telephone number and/or email address.
Since the passing of the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), you'll need to think twice about the personal data you are asking for.
The collection of personal data shall be adequate, relevant and limited to what is necessary in relation to the purposes for which they are processed.— GDPR Article 5.1(c)
Unless you want to be slapped with a fine, then you'll need to determine exactly what a GDPR visitor sign in looks like for your organization. You need to balance the need for an audittrail and trackinganalytics, with that of regulatorycompliance around visitordata.
Thankfully for you, or team is well-versed in what the implications are when it comes to GDPR and visitor management. It's a serious topic that we can help you tackle.
3. Utilize multiple sign-in sheets
We've all had to wait in line checking in somewhere. Sometimes those lines have made us late.
But research from the University of Nebraska's Joseph Allenrevealed that nearly 50% of the meetings in the States start late. Period.
So in 2018, we conducted our own research. We had an independent Front Desk Experience Survey conducted across the UK and US asking 2,000 working professionals about their experiences in corporate lobbies.
Results showed that 60% of meetings that start late were due to long lines at reception. It's one of the many reason why we recommend using a self-check-in cloud-based visitor management system instead of paper.
However, if you're set on using paper, then we suggest having multiple sign-in sheets on hand to more evenly distribute the flow of visitors at your front desk. Just be sure to keep track of all them!
4. Pre-fill visitor sign-in sheets whenever possible
What's even better than having multiple sign-in sheets handy?
Having pre-populated lists of your expectedvisitors.
This entails some extra work on your part—communication to be exact—talking to your co-workers. If you aren't already, then your team should be sharing information about any meetings and visits planned for the day and/or week.
That way you can take all the names and relevant information of the expected visitors and print out the list yourself, preferably in alphabetical order by last name.
The benefits will be two-fold:
Your visitors will see their names on the list and immediately feel more welcomed
You'll reduce the time it takes for check-ins in the first place.
Now, if you had a digital solution like Proxyclick, then you wouldn't even have to worry about all the paper to keep track of. You'd have a dashboard to help you manage your visitors both expected and on-site, checked-in, and checked-out.
5. Ensure your visitors' privacy
Here comes some (possible) bad news.
Whether or not you're aware, visitorsign-insheets violate your visitors' privacy.
Their information is left there in plain sight for the next person to see, and according to our survey results, we're all human and confess to peeking at who's signed in before us.
This is where data privacy regulations like GDPR and the CaliforniaConsumerPrivacyAct (CCPA) come in once again. And they're not going away—not to mention the issues around visitor data retention (which can read more about in our simple guide to GDPR and visitor management) and how you dispose of said data.
Meaning, let's say you believe you have a fool-proof way to manage your visitor flow from an efficiency standpoint...
Are you confident in your abilities to pass an audit specific to data privacy, or a security inspection for various insurance policies? We can definitely help you.
Free visitor sign-in sheet templates
Maybe all you need is a free printable visitor sign-in sheet to take attendance at your office or for special meetings, or for simple record-keeping for a class or workshop, an open house or other event check-in.
If you have no compliance regulations to prove and no security protocols in place, and all your organization needs is a simple paper visitor sign-in sheet template, then we are happy to provide them:
We're big proponents of having a visitor management system to begin with.
We do, however, believe in doing our best to move towards a paperless office. So if it's possible, then we recommend you use the digital visitor sign-in sheet in the form of a Google doc above instead of printing.
Or go digital altogether with a self-check-in solution!