Why a cloud-based front desk solution will be the norm after COVID-19 lockdowns

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Front Desk COVID-19

This is the decade during which it will be absolutely necessary to rethink how we look at health and safety in the workplace.

In the aftermath of COVID-19, any inefficient, inflexible, or outdated methods for bringing people on a premises will need to shift drastically, and fast.

It’s not a question of whether organizations should go paperless anymore. Rather, it’s about how soon (and how flexibly) it can be done.

How Sodexo handles business continuity during COVID-19

On March 26, 2020, Proxyclick held a webinar in both the APAC and EU regions to thoroughly go over 6 steps to combat COVID-19 at the front desk.

(Watch the full on-demand EU version of the webinar here.)

From her home office in Singapore, our own Christina Tubb, Head of Sales, APAC and Middle East at Proxyclick, sat down with Patrick Foong, Sodexo’s APAC CIO, to get an understanding of some of the COVID-19 measures put in place at his global organization.

APAC Webinar Tubb Foong

With almost half a million staff members worldwide to consider, Foong kicked off the APAC webinar by mentioning Sodexo's 5-step COVID-19 business continuity plan (BCP). 

"We’ve started running through a BCP simulation for all of our countries globally to speak to COVID-19. This is to ensure that we are able to activate this plan if the outbreak hits our business badly." - Patrick Foong, CIO APAC, Sodexo

Sodexo offers food catering and facility management services across a wide array of industries, including corporate services, energy & resources, healthcare, education, government & agencies, sports & leisure. As such, it’s absolutely crucial for the organization to implement a BCP that is both efficient and adaptable per region.

The plan also must protect Sodexo’s staff as they are working on or visiting clients’ premises. 

The importance of flexibility during crises


According to Foong, safety is the number one priority at Sodexo. In addition to setting strict health regulations for employees, any staff members or necessary visitors coming to a Sodexo premises must have their temperature checked.

Staff and visitors must also answer a set of health-related questions to reduce the risk of infection, which are prompted by Proxyclick. All information, including on temperature screens, is recorded in the system.

"In the event that we are checked by local authorities, we are able to retrieve this cloud-based information from anywhere, even without going back to the office," said Foong.

He later added that many regulations related to COVID-19 in Singapore can change overnight. These can be addressed while sitting at home via Proxyclick so that when visitors arrive the next day, new rules will be applied.

The fact that Foong’s team could implement these measures so quickly (and from remote locations) underscores the benefits of flexible business continuity, as it relates to visitor management. On this, Tubb added:

"It is important to be able to adapt to local regulations, rapidly putting in place new processes, versus having to print out new papers or retrain staff each time the rules change."

As such, one thing is clear: a cloud-based process should be put in place to manage the front desk at a time like this.

This will allow organizations to stay up-to-date with regulations, manage visitor data centrally and in real-time, and obey the duty of care they have to everyone on site.

Steps to combat COVID-19 from the front desk


Tubb went on to show how a cloud-based visitor management like Proxyclick can further contribute to a business’ flexible response to a health crisis, in 6 quick steps.

Watch the full on-demand EU version of the webinar below to access all 6 steps and demos.

 


1. Raise awareness and accountability for hosts.

As an organization, it’s your duty to ensure that both your staff and visitors are fully aware of potential risks of infection.

To better protect employees from risk, screen visitors before they arrive using pre-registration features. Custom fields can be added per visitor (only visible internally), so that hosts can review any potential risks and procedures associated with that visit.

Visitor Profile COVID-19
This will ensure that a visit meets the health and safety requirements of your organization.

 

For visitors, make sure to record an individual’s phone number and email addresses within your visitor management system. Should the visitor become exposed to the virus while on your premises, you can immediately and discreetly inform the visitor.

2. Share health and safety recommendations with visitors in advance.

Add specific health and safety procedures or information to a given agreement. Then, send this agreement for a visitor to sign in advance via an invitation email.

H&S Agreement

Within the actual invitation email itself, you can also include any necessary health or safety related instructions. For example, you can inform your visitor that a temperature screening will be done one she arrives on-site.

Invitation Email Instructions

3. Grant or deny access to visitors using conditional questions.

Once a visitor has signed an agreement and reviewed necessary health and safety procedures beforehand, prompt her with conditional questions to answer upon arrival. You can use customs screens to build a logical flow of questions related to COVID-19 risk.

Deny Access Visitor
In the event that a visitor indicates via a response that she is at risk of being infected, you can prompt a specific message that informs her that she is not allowed to enter.
“The great thing about Proxyclick is the custom screen feature. In the past, we relied on our receptionist to remember specific regulations set by local authorities. But it’s almost impossible for one specific person to remember all of this, and ensure the right questions are asked when someone steps into the office.” - Patrick Foong, CIO APAC, Sodexo

To comply with regional health data privacy regulations like GDPR, you can also set a period of time for data retention. For every question asked, visitors can also choose whether answers are stored or not.

Preparing for what lies ahead

Going through three levels of visitor screening - signing an agreement, receiving safety instructions before arriving, and answering necessary conditional questions once on the premises - will be what’s in store for the future, according to Tubb. She added:

"It’s a different world. We have an enormous duty of care to production lines, frontline workers, sales and supply chain teams...we need to keep the essential parts of the economy going without putting people at undue risk."

Some of the things we could see in the near future are more seamless access control and parking system integrations. We may also see an effort to remove physical interfaces, or tablets, at check-in, in favor of an entirely touchless check-in process.

We will also see increased scrutiny, said Tubb, among food production and manufacturing sites, and a need for centrally managed software to track everyone coming to a workplace.

“I think we have to be prepared. Right now, we need to stay calm. But what I can see is that things will evolve, and we have to be very agile and adapt to changes quickly. Whatever we put into place as a BCP yesterday needs to be updated and valid today and tomorrow.” - Patrick Foong, CIO APAC, Sodexo

Tubb believes it will be about being proactive, getting ahead, and making quick changes with cloud-based solutions “so we can react at midnight from our sofas.”

As for Proxyclick, she added, the whole team aims to become part of that journey to help keep customers safe around the world.

We're here to support you

During this difficult time, our customer support teams (all working remotely) are standing by to support you. We're offering features and additional custom fields on-demand to help our customers through this crisis.

Personal consultations with the team are also possible. You can start by contacting us directly.

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For more information about how to quickly implement front desk features to combat COVID-19, visit our COVID-19 resource center.


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