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Highschool Lab Program Highlights the Importance of Visitor Management


Every office deals with visitors. No matter where an office is or what business it supports there is usually a steady flow of contractors, delivery people, housekeepers, customers, consultants, board members and others. Sometimes, as is the case in South Boston, it can even be a class of highschool students. Thanks to a partnership with the pharmaceutical company Vertex, known for its groundbreaking Hepatitis C and cystic fibrosis treatments, students of neighboring high schools are able to do their lab work in the company’s “learning lab” at Vertex’s new $850 million headquarters. 

Situated on Fan Pier in Boston’s Seaport District, Vertex’s 1.1 million-square-foot campus encompasses two connected buildings and includes more than 75 collaboration spaces and a massive cafeteria. Its 3,000 square-foot laboratory and classroom areas provide a unique learning opportunity for Boston highschoolers and other community groups.

Without a well thought out visitor management process, accommodating groups of students and numerous other visitors and employees could be quite chaotic. To manage this, Vertex has turned to a next gen workplace experience solution, iOFFICE. iOFFICE’s visitor management software allows guests to pre-register, streamlining the check-in process and reducing wait times. Having information like tenant profiles, guest information and room schedules all in one place eliminates long lines and helps secure the building. They are even able to pre-screen visitors when background checks are needed, eliminating a lengthy process that can tie up on-site staff. 

Having highschool students, their families and their school put their trust in Vertex to keep these children safe also highlights the importance of protecting building occupants. It is an unfortunate truth that every year millions of Americans report experiences of violence in the workplace. In fact, about a quarter of professionals in the U.S. say their workplace has had at least one incident. And the numbers have been steadily increasing. Building in systems that prevent unauthorized entry to buildings should be one the top of every building manager’s agenda.

Well-intentioned employees moving login paperwork to make room can have a disastrous effect on an organization if it is the only system of record.

“One of the most important things to prepare for incidents is to be able to quickly search visitor logs,” said Tiffany Rivers, iOFFICE’s VP of Marketing. Paper records can take a long time to parse through and can be easily falsified. By having everything verified and recorded employees can find important information in an emergency. Well-intentioned employees moving login paperwork to make room can have a disastrous effect on an organization if it is the only system of record. Tiffany explained, “We designed our system to be cloud-based and intuitive so anyone that needs to access building data quickly, can.” 

Vertex hopes to use their Learning Lab partnership as a way to encourage young adults to pursue a career in biotech. They also actively recruit interns from the program. Just like many other companies, they want their workplace to be a draw for prospective employees, highschoolers and graduates alike. Giving job candidates a welcoming experience is an important first impression. The better the relationship someone has with a building, the better the relationship they will likely have with the people inside it.

The Learning Lab program is quite unique but it highlights the growing importance that many companies are placing on collaborating with the world outside of their offices. As remote work and co-working options grow, the line between visitor and tenant will start to blur. But does it really matter? A building has a responsibility to create a comfortable, safe environment, whether or not someone is a daily regular or a one-time visitor. Tenants have every reason to want to give their visitors as good of an experience as their employees. It doesn’t matter if they are a potential investor or a gawking highschooler, their relationship with the building will help shape their relationship with the people inside of it.

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