Wayfinding signage has always been an important part of the workplace experience. It helps employees and visitors feel more at ease and reduces the time they spend wandering around in search of something, which can be significant at larger organizations.

When your employees return to work, your wayfinding signage will still be necessary, but for different reasons.

What is wayfinding signage?

When you hear the term “wayfinding signage,” what comes to mind? Despite advancements in technology, many people still conjure images of interior and exterior signs with arrows or fixed maps with confusing symbols. Luckily for you and your workforce, wayfinding systems have evolved.

Today, wayfinding technology more closely resembles the interactive maps and GPS directions you use to navigate an unfamiliar place. Instead of fixed imagery, modern wayfinding consists of a user-friendly, often interactive signage system to guide people.

Typically, effective wayfinding is made up of four stages:
  • Orientation: A person identifies their location in relation to their destination. (For example, they realize the conference room they need to find is two floors above them.)
  • Route decision: A person selects the most direct or fastest way to their destination. (They may choose to take an elevator and a short path from the elevator to the conference room a few feet away.)
  • Route monitoring: A person confirms their route is leading to the correct destination. (They may double-check the conference room they’re routing is the one in their meeting notes.)
  • Destination recognition: A person confirms they’ve arrived at their destination.

If this sounds familiar, it’s probably because it’s the same experience you use when engaging with tools like Google Maps.

How wayfinding signage benefits your workplace

Wayfinding signage may seem like a “nice to have” feature, but it has clear practical benefits. Here are three of them.

It saves time

The cost of wandering adds up quickly.

One survey by indoor positioning systems provider Senion found employees with 500 or more people in their workplace spend up to an hour each week searching for people and places. That’s 56 hours a year — over one full work week of lost productivity!

It eliminates stress

If you’ve ever ended up in the wrong building for an important meeting, you can attest to the feelings of anxiety and frustration that result from getting lost. Proper wayfinding signage puts employees and visitors at ease.

It decreases interruptions

Each time an employee or visitor loses their way, they usually have to interrupt someone else to re-orient themselves. Constant interruptions add up, too. They break our concentration when we’re deep into a task or on the verge of the next great idea. On average, it takes people over 23 minutes to return to their original task after an interruption, according to a study published by the University of California. The fewer times your employees have to stop and search for something (or someone), the fewer interruptions your workplace will experience throughout the day.

Wayfinding signage: 3 applications in the post-pandemic workplace

The benefits of wayfinding will be even more relevant when you return to work following the pandemic. You’ll be returning to the office, but it won’t be “business as usual.”

You’ll likely have a new floor plan to accommodate physical distancing.

You may no longer have assigned seats, which can make it more difficult for employees to find their colleagues.

And, with over 40% of employees planning to continue working remotely at least part of the time, the number of people in your workplace on any given day will be less predictable.

Wayfinding and digital signage can help you solve these challenges.

Directing visitors

The pandemic has forced many workplaces to rethink their visitor management policies. Clients, contractors, and other occasional visitors may have been accustomed to simply walking in and flagging down the person they came to see. Now, you’re asking them to sign in and potentially go through wellness screenings that might include temperature checks or self-assessments.

Wayfinding signage can point them in the right direction and ensure traffic flows smoothly through your lobby.

Limiting conference room capacity

To keep your workplace safe, you will likely need to limit your conference room capacity to about half of the maximum occupancy. That means department leaders may need to change their format for those “all hands” meetings. If they can’t accommodate the whole team, they may need to have part of the group call in from home or from another meeting room.

Meanwhile, many employees may prefer to use mobile apps for touchless room and desk booking. Those conference room scheduling displays that once served that purpose can now show capacity limits and the type of equipment in each room.

Helping employees quickly find PPE, hand sanitizer, and cleaning supplies

A recent survey by Gensler revealed 19% of employees are concerned about sharing desks in the workplace.

Yet the transition to more flexible seating arrangements like hot desking and desk hoteling seems inevitable, given the varying number of employees in the office.

The key is to make it easy for employees to book desks and keep them clean. Wayfinding signage can help people quickly find masks, hand sanitizer, and other supplies they need to keep shared spaces clean.

Powerful wayfinding software solutions

Wayfinding signage does a lot more than direct someone from point A to point B — especially as employees return to work.

Signage powered by sophisticated software can help employees feel more comfortable returning to an environment that looks unfamiliar to them. It can help them quickly find rooms or workspaces and immediately know when an area has reached capacity limits.

Unlike static signs, digital displays powered by wayfinding software are easy to update at a moment’s notice. You can use them to display daily reminders or important announcements — such as letting employees know they are required to wear masks in conference rooms. When the threat of coronavirus recedes, those same displays can still remind employees of upcoming events (remember those?) or alert them to bad weather or traffic closures.

Teem’s wayfinding software connects easily with room scheduling displays, allowing employees to find and book a room at a moment’s notice. It also integrates with sensors, allowing employees and visitors to easily see real-time availability of rooms and desks.

Ready to see a closer look? Request a demo today.

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