Why Wayfinding Signage Is More Important Than Ever
One of the biggest challenges of a hybrid workplace where there are no assigned seats is that it’s more difficult for employees to find their colleagues and find a place to sit.
As more organizations embrace this model, they’re introducing new technology to help employees navigate the office — including wayfinding signage.
Here’s a closer look at how it works and how it benefits your employees and your organization.
What is wayfinding signage?
Wayfinding signage describes any electronic displays placed in strategic locations throughout a workplace that give employees and visitors important information. This includes office locations, event details, interactive maps, employee directories, and the availability of workspaces.
Wayfinding signage consists of two parts: the digital display, and the wayfinding software that powers it. This software allows workplace leaders to easily update floor plans, translate them into interactive maps, and customize announcements. The best wayfinding signage also integrates with reservation software so employees can book rooms or desks right from central displays or conference room panels.
What are the benefits of wayfinding signage?
Gives employees and visitors a great first impression
When prospective employees or clients walk into a lobby to face a blank wall, the first impression is underwhelming, to say the least. It can also create confusion. Without a front desk receptionist, they may not know where to go or how to find the person they came to see. It can be especially frustrating if your office is in a large, multi-tenant building with many floors. In the absence of someone or something to direct them, visitors will be left searching for the nearest security guard or waiting for an employee to walk by. Wayfinding signage removes this element of uncertainty, creating a better visitor experience from the start.
Improves collaboration and productivity
In a recent CBRE survey, 87% of leaders at large organizations said they plan to implement a hybrid work model to give employees more flexibility and make better use of their real estate. In a hybrid workplace, employees divide their time between home and the office. While the flexibility to choose where they work on any given day is a welcome perk, it can make it harder for them to collaborate with their colleagues. It’s not always clear who is in the office and where they’re sitting.
With interactive wayfinding signage, they can search for anyone by name and find their location instantly.
Research by Senion shows the average employee at a large organization spends up to an hour each week just searching for colleagues, rooms, and desks. That adds up to more than one full work week each year! Wayfinding signage connects people and places in your workplace, allowing employees to get right to work without wasting time wandering around the office.
Simplifies room and desk booking
Another concern many employees have about moving away from assigned seats is not being able to find a workspace or a room when they need one. They don’t want to be moments away from an important meeting only to realize every conference room is already occupied.
Wayfinding signage makes it easy to see which rooms or desks are available and allows employees to reserve them on the spot.
Empowers your agile workforce
More than a third of employees already participated in the “gig economy” as freelancers, contractors, or consultants before the pandemic. Now, as the increase in remote work has expanded the talent pool, organizations will rely on alternative work arrangements even more to supplement full-time employees. Like any employee, contract workers need to find people fast and reserve space and resources in an environment that may be unfamiliar to them. Wayfinding signage makes it much easier for them to navigate your office so they don’t have to stop and ask for directions.
Improves health and safety
As many employees return to the office after working remotely for an extended period of time, they’re returning to an environment that looks unfamiliar to them in many ways. Not only do they no longer have assigned seats, but they’ll notice many parts of the office have been reconfigured for safety. Large conference rooms that once accommodated a dozen people can only safely fit six. The office supply closet has been replaced with a sanitizing station. And no one knows where they’re supposed to keep their belongings for the day.
Wayfinding signage allows workplace leaders to highlight important points of interest, such as restrooms, elevators, and exits so employees can easily find them. This is helpful during a typical day, but it’s critical during an emergency.
These digital displays can also highlight safety information, such as reminding employees of conference room capacity or the importance of sanitizing shared surfaces after they’ve used them.
Communicates upcoming events and announcements
Many workplace leaders are rethinking the way they use real estate. They are subleasing large buildings or renting them out for community events, such as lectures or town hall meetings. With each space serving multiple purposes, it’s even more important to point people in the right direction. With digital signage, employees or visitors can easily find the presentation they came to attend — no more wandering into the wrong room.
Gives you insight into how employees use the workplace
Wayfinding signage has big benefits for workplace leaders too. When interactive displays are connected to a larger workplace management system, your team can see real-time updates and historical data, such as:
- What percentage of rooms or desks are occupied during a typical day
- Which days or times have the highest occupancy
- Which floors have the highest or lowest average occupancy
- The average length of a typical meeting
- The average meeting capacity
This makes it easier to make adjustments quickly and plan for your future real estate needs.
What are the most important wayfinding software features?
You don’t keep track of space utilization and occupancy with PDFs and Excel spreadsheets anymore, so why would you use static content to communicate information about the workplace to employees and visitors?
Traditional maps belong in frames on the walls. And printed event schedules belong on rec center bulletin boards. Neither belongs in a modern, digital workplace. Wayfinding software and digital signage are important elements of today’s workplace, helping employees and visitors feel more comfortable, find what they need fast, and be more productive.
iOFFICE + SpaceIQ’s wayfinding software is easy to integrate with your floor plans, employee directory, reservation software, digital signage, and mobile apps so employees or visitors can find what they need fast. You can create interactive displays, highlight points of interest, and show event details or important announcements at a moment’s notice. This helps you maintain safety while creating a more connected experience for everyone.
At a time when employees can work anywhere, make it easy for them to find what they need when they come to the office. If you create a great first impression from the moment they walk through the door, they’ll be more likely to keep coming back.
To see a closer look at our wayfinding software, watch this short demo.