Pros and Cons of Using a Manual Sign-In Book

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Pros and Cons of Using a Manual Sign-In Book

A manual visitor sign-in system involves the traditional, handwritten method to identify and monitor individuals entering various settings, including schools, healthcare institutions, and businesses. Typically, this system entails visitors completing a badge with their details, which they wear while on the premises. Additionally, a logbook might be available for visitors to record essential information about their visit, such as their name, the date, time of arrival, time of departure, and the individual or destination they are visiting. As with anything, several pros and cons exist when using a manual sign-in book.


Pros of Manual Sign-in

Here is a compilation of the four main advantages of implementing a manual visitor sign-in system:

  1. Cost-Effective – A manual visitor sign-in system is notably more budget-friendly than an electronic visitor management system. It entails minimal expenses, limited to procuring visitor badges and potentially a single visitor logbook, which could combine both functions. There are no expenditures related to software licensing or acquiring additional system components.
  2. Minimal Training – Virtually everyone has experience with filling out a visitor sign-in sheet at some point. These sheets are straightforward, with self-explanatory fields for visitors to complete. Most visitors to any facility can independently manage filling out a manual visitor log.
  3. Low Overhead – Unlike an electronic visitor management system, which demands dedicated space for setup, including a computer, printer, and potentially additional equipment like a driver’s license reader or business card scanner, a manual sign-in book requires significantly less space. Additionally, the only supplementary equipment required is a pen.
  4. Emergency Preparedness – In an evacuation or emergency, the manual visitor sign-in book remains available for swift accessibility, which provides an up-to-date record of all non-employees present in the facility, enabling this crucial information to be relayed to Fire or Police personnel, ensuring they are informed about individuals still inside the building.


Cons of Manual Sign-in

Here is a compilation of the five main drawbacks associated with a manual visitor sign-in system:

  1. Handwriting Legibility – It’s a reality that many individuals have illegible handwriting. When signing in on a visitor log book, especially when they may need to be more focused, there’s a high likelihood that their writing could become even more challenging to decipher. Security is compromised if incidents occur and the facility’s security team cannot read the visitor logbook. In such cases, valuable information becomes inaccessible, with no backup available.
  2. Lack of Confidentiality – Many visitor log books lack a privacy feature. Once visitors sign in, their information gets exposed to subsequent visitors. This lack of confidentiality allows anyone to peruse the details of others, potentially raising privacy concerns.
  3. Time-Consuming Process – When a manual system employs either a visitor badge book or a logbook (without offering a badge), it can result in a time-consuming sign-in process for visitors. If both components are in use, visitors may find the process particularly cumbersome, especially during busy times when long lines at the front desk could create a negative impression.
  4. Manual Verification of Credentials – Unlike electronic visitor management systems that conveniently capture visitor credentials through tools like driver’s license readers or business card scanners, manual systems require the receptionist or a security guard to verify visitors’ identities if verification happens at all manually. This additional step consumes time and carries the risk of oversight.
  5. Lack of Photo Identification – Manual sign-in systems cannot incorporate visitor photos onto badges, making visual identity verification challenging. Furthermore, manual visitor passes lack photos, so they can be easily removed from one person and transferred to another within the facility, potentially going unnoticed and allowing badges to get swapped between individuals.


Some Combination of New and Old is Preferred

In the contemporary context, effective visitor management holds greater significance than ever. Whether it’s within educational institutions, healthcare facilities, office complexes, or any other premises, maintaining a record of individuals coming in and going out is paramount for security and safety considerations. Visitor management software represents a valuable solution for overseeing visitors. By combining the capabilities of visitor management software and contemporary security protocols with traditional guest logbooks, organizations can harness the advantages offered by both approaches, creating a harmonious blend of old and new practices for optimal results.


Threshold Security’s system allows for Visitor Badges with “Expiring Technology” that change color overnight to prevent visitor badge reuse and unauthorized access to your building. A white badge means the visitor has signed in today and pink “VOID” means the visitor’s presence should be questioned.

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