Many organizations rely on visits from clients and/or vendors as a part of normal business operations, while others strictly forbid outside access to their offices. Regardless of how your business operates, however, there should be a clear workplace visitor policy in place, and it needs to be communicated to all employees. These policies serve to protect the visitors, they also help secure valuable assets and and keep your workforce safe.
Allowing strangers to wander through company facilities “at will” poses risks. Not only can workplace visitors distract employees, which could cause an accident, but the visitors themselves could be exposed to dangers of which they may not be aware.
Furthermore, people from outside entering your facility increase the risk of theft, violence, industrial espionage, sabotage, or even terrorism.
Policies on workplace visitors help maintain security, avoid distractions, protect the confidentiality of company operations, and maintain safety standards.
14 Points to Cover in Your Workplace Visitors Policy
A workplace visitors policy doesn’t have to be detailed to be effective. Consider including the following points:
- Visits by nonemployees. State such visits are not allowed unless authorized by the company.
- Authorization procedures. How does a visitor obtain authorization? Who within the company has the power to authorize visitors?
- Off-limit areas. Identify any areas that are off limits to all visitors (e.g., confidential records, equipment, computer network).
- Identification of visitors. Must visitors sign in and out? Must they present a photo identification? What type of photo identification? Must visitors wear identification badges or passes? Must they be escorted by a supervisor or company official?
- Heightened requirements. Are there times when you need to increase restrictions (e.g., after hours, while key operations or processes are in progress, during holidays and weekends, after terrorist alerts)?
- Visits by employees during nonworking hours. Some companies restrict regular employees’ access to the plant or office during off-hours. What procedures should be followed by an employee who has a legitimate reason to visit the premises after work hours?
- Visits by employees on leave. Employees who are on leave may also stop by. Address how these individuals should be treated. For example, can the proud parent on a parental leave bring the newborn to the office for co-workers to see? What access is permitted for employees who are on partial leave and are working at home?
- Former employees. How are former employees treated? Are they treated just like nonemployees?
- Vendors, suppliers, and contractors. Are vendors and others required to sign-in? Is there a color-coded badge? Are they escorted everywhere? Is their access limited?
- Temporary employees. Are temporary employees treated like regular employees or like contractors?
- Visits by friends and family members. Some employers consider friends and family members “outsiders” and restrict their visits accordingly; others feel that with the supervisor’s authorization, family members in particular should be allowed to visit on occasion to see where the employee works. What about emergency situations, when a friend or family member must see an employee immediately?
- Recording devices. May visitors bring into your building recording devices, such as cameras, camera phones, etc.?
- Supervisors’ responsibilities. Should supervisors challenge unescorted strangers who aren’t wearing the proper identification? Should they direct or escort unauthorized visitors to the front office or out of the building? Should they contact Security or escort someone in Human Resources or another department to assist in escorting the person off the premises?
- Discipline. What discipline is imposed for employees who violate the policy or observe violations but do not report them?
Workplace Visitors Sample Policy
No visitors are allowed in our workplace or on company property unless authorized by a department manager. All requests for permission for nonemployees to enter company property must be made at the front office.
Employees who wish to visit the workplace for any reason during hours or shifts when they are not assigned to work must also have the permission of a department manager. Applications for such visits must be made at the front office.
Visitors must wear a visitor’s pass on the jacket or shirt pocket so as to display that the individual is an authorized visitor.
Supervisors are to challenge strangers in the plant who do not display the visitor’s pass to determine their authority for access to our facility. Unauthorized visitors should be escorted courteously but quickly from the workplace or to the front office.
Applications to visit the facility during second or third shift hours must be made at the front office prior to 4:45 p.m.