There is this huge passive-aggressive feud at my work about the sign-in sheet we have. Employees don't like it because it's at the front of the office which can take some time away to walk up to when trying to leave for a quick lunch. The main excuse for having it is so our receptionist can know if we're in the office for phone calls or not, which we've suggested emails for. But, of course, those stuck in their ways have claimed that it's a waste of time.

Anyone have any information on a free check in or out app or program? Doesn't have to track hours, just whether or not someone is in the office.

closed as too broad by gnat, Justin Cave, Masked Man, Jane S Aug 28 '15 at 3:26

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    Most chat and instant messenger apps have a way of indicating if someone is logged in or not. – David K Aug 27 '15 at 20:40
  • I was thinking about that. Which would be best for a Mac? – user40497 Aug 27 '15 at 20:52
  • @user40497 - It's not about the desktop machine, it's about your platform. Pick one. Skype, Google Chat, whatever can all be implemented at no cost, but see your IT department first, as they will need to administer it. – Wesley Long Aug 27 '15 at 20:56
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    recommended reading: Q&A is Hard, Let’s Go Shopping! – gnat Aug 27 '15 at 21:03

First, this is a very 1990's issue, so maybe the answer is in rethinking how you handle everything.

Short Answer: Stop caring.

Simple fixes:

  1. Don't worry about phone calls. The receptionist should put the call through to the extension whether or not the person is in. If the person is so important that they cannot have calls sent to voicemail, then they should have an admin assistant assigned, and that admin assistant should be handing the calls, not the receptionist. For everyone else: That's what voicemail is for. Almost all phone systems have a way to press "0" (zero) and return to the receptionist if that's what the caller wants.
  2. Smart Phones / Instant Messaging. You should have an instant messaging network in your office. Your receptionist should make use of it for guests, and IM the person they are calling on. Your staff should have a client for the IM system installed on their smart phones that will let them get the message and respond whether they are in or out of the office.

This issue is long-solved.

  • While I appreciate your somewhat haughty answer. Our problem currently is that our voicemail system is down. – user40497 Aug 27 '15 at 20:55
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    Not intended to be haughty at all. Sounds like you may need a complete communications infrastructure modernization. – Wesley Long Aug 27 '15 at 20:58
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    @user40497 - If the problem is that the voicemail system is down, isn't the problem larger than "who is in the office"? I may be in the office but in a meeting and away from my phone, for example. – Justin Cave Aug 27 '15 at 21:28
  • @user40497 So this is only an issue until your voicemail gets fixed? How long do you anticipate that taking? Has a support call been logged? What sort of service level agreements (SLAs) do you have with your vendor? Is it worth setting up new processes just for a few days? – Jane S Aug 27 '15 at 22:16

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