Virtual office Comcare - Australian Goverment
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Visitor Aggression

Virtual Office - reception
Virtual Office Flash introduction – Reception
Objects Hazards Possible Controls
Access to workers
  • Visitors to reception have unrestricted access to workers working in area
  • Design the workstation to provide security for your workerss (e.g. install security screens, install deeper and or higher counter areas to prevent aggressive visitors being able to reach workers). Note: consider what atmosphere the design will create
  • Staff have a separate entry/exit doorway to a safe area that is accessible from their immediate work area
Furnishings as weapons
  • Furnishings and decorative items could easily be used as weapons by a visitor
  • Choose furnishings for in the reception area with care and thought for their potential to be used as a weapon
  • Select indoor plants in heavy floor tubs which cannot be easily lifted by one person
  • Place vases and stationery out of reach of third parties in the area.
  • Consider whether furniture can be secured (i.e. to the ground or a wall)
  • Where glass is used choose shatterproof glass
Access to backup assistance
  • Lack of support if accosted by a visitor
  • Have procedures in place that raise issues from line staff to managers before the situation escalates
  • Install a concealed duress alarm where it can be reached by the employee if being threatened or provide pocket duress alarms to workers
  • Have duress alarms link back to security personnel that would be used if required
  • Consider workers in the adjacent safe area trained in how to respond if the duress alarm is activated
  • Have designated staff members to assist in dealing with visitor aggression or security personnel available if required
  • Establish set policies and procedures for when issues will be escalated to the police
Training in handling visitor aggression
  • Inexperience and lack of training in managing visitor aggression
  • Threatening phone calls and emails   
  • Ensure workers are trained in handling aggressive visitors and that they are aware of and follow documented procedures
  • Identify visitors with a history of aggressive behaviour and ensure workers have access to this information so that appropriate measures can be taken
  • Have procedures in place that escalate issues from line staff to Managers before the situation escalates 
  • Have procedures for situations when workers may be isolated (e.g. working out of office, after hours and weekends)
Visitor comfort
  • Locating too many visitors in a small area or to close together
  • Increase comfort level by ensuring adequate spacing between visitors (e.g. arrange seats to minimise eye contact between visitors)
  • Consider what seating arrangements are used (e.g. theatre style)
  • Provide water / amenities
  • Ensure adequate air flow