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The overwhelming majority of employees are eager to get back to the office, with 70% wanting to work in the office most of the time. While employees want to “go back to normal,” that enthusiasm can quickly wane if you don’t plan carefully.

Enter wayfinding software. Installed on hand-held devices or at kiosks to help people find an indoor location, wayfinding software helps guests find their way in unfamiliar territory. Think of it as an interactive Google map for inside office buildings and spaces.

More recently, companies have started integrating wafinding software with digital signage and displays to make navigation even easier.

But as companies reopen their offices, they are thinking of nontraditional ways to use workplace technology to improve employee engagement. 

3 Ways To Welcome Employees Back To The Office With Wayfinding Software

Here's how you can rethink your use of wayfinding software to help employees feel safe, comfortable, and supported after you’ve re-opened your doors.

1. Wayfinding software allows you to treat returning employees like new employees

The hardest day of a new job is the first day. Everything is unfamiliar, from the physical location to the policies and culture, leaving people feeling more like a guest than part of the team. 

Consider these tips to help them navigate the new work environment:

Integrate with digital signage for policy-related communication

When your employees return to the office, their environment will look different. The desks and tables will be more spread out to facilitate social distancing. Once open, office spaces may be divided, at least temporarily, with partitions and privacy screens. 

The layout of the office and the designation of certain spaces might even change from day to day, making them feel even more like a fish out of water. 

When you integrate wayfinding software with existing digital signs, you can use these signs to communicate with your employees about updates to your policies and the layout, or use it to relay positive news, such as an employee promotion.

Accommodate staffing changes without disruption

Unfortunately, many companies have had to layoff employees due to budget cuts and hire contract workers and freelancers.

With more than 860,000 people filing for unemployment in the United States alone, chances are that your employees know people who have been affected, creating unease about their own jobs.

More unfamiliar faces entering the office at different times can add even more uncertainty and confusion for existing employees, especially if you don't currently have a receptionist.

When you integrate wayfinding software with visitor management software, contract employees can check in and find their way to their workspace without wandering around trying to find their space and interrupting your employees.

Give employees structure in uncertain times

One of the hardest things about being a new employee is finding your way around and knowing where things are. On the first day back, they might not even know where their desk is, making it easy to feel a little lost the first few days.

They may not even have an assigned workstation anymore. Prior to the pandemic, hot desking, or unassigned seating that is usually on a first-come, first-serve basis, was already a common practice.

Although many employees are resistant to this practice, companies implement it because it saves them money on real estate. With some employees working from home and others working only part-time, it doesn’t make sense, from a financial standpoint, to assign a desk to every employee.

As companies reopen their offices to a hybrid workforce, this will become a more common practice. We recommend desk hoteling instead, which allows employees to reserve desks and conference rooms from their phones.

When they use desk hoteling software to select their workstation, and wayfinding software to help them find that desk upon arrival, you can alleviate some of that “new employee” anxiety and resistance to unassigned seating.

2. Create a safe environment for everyone

Some companies are temporarily closing break rooms and smaller conference rooms that don’t support social distancing while opening wellness stations with PPE and checkpoints to ensure no one with current symptoms enters the office. 

Although the majority of people want to return to work, employees with underlying conditions and those over 60 may feel more anxiety about face-to-face interaction. Wayfinding software adds another layer of protection to your safety policies.

Navigate new policies with ease

Employees are more likely to follow new policies when these newly-designated areas show up on their wayfinding software. 

Wayfinding  software can:

  • Direct guests and employees to wellness checkpoints upon arrival.
  • Allow employees to see which meeting rooms, desks, and spaces are occupied so that proper social distancing is possible. 
  • Find their assigned desks and meeting spaces to avoid ending up in the wrong space that has not been sanitized.
  • Prevent people from wandering around in spaces they aren’t using or ending up at the wrong desk.

 

The software is easy to use, but make sure all of your employees know how to maximize it, especially if they aren’t used to using workplace apps on their phones.

3. Take the emotional temperature regularly

Ask for regular feedback from employees regarding their new environment.  Do the policies and how your company enforces them help them feel safe? Are they still able to collaborate effectively? Is the environment conducive to productivity?

The last thing you want to do is create policies that aren't enforced or that don’t work. Request feedback on an ongoing basis and use it as an opportunity to improve your environment during the pandemic and beyond.

Create a stronger return with Teem’s wayfinding software

Used wisely, wayfinding software can help boost engagement when you reopen your office by making employees feel safe and making their environment feel less unfamiliar. 

Teem’s wayfinding software helps employees find available rooms, informal meeting spaces, and desks, making social distancing easier. You can even integrate Finder with digital signage you already have in place.

When you use Teem’s desk hoteling and visitor management software, our wayfinding software can play a role in helping you create an even stronger team and more productive environment. Learn more.

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