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The Secret to Great Wayfinding For Your Office

Digital signage wayfinding is becoming a big deal in workplaces that want to make their employees happier and more productive. Here, we uncover why.

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When we think about the design and setup of our offices, we often think about practical elements. How easy is it for people to navigate, how well do we make use of the space we have? Yet often, the benefits go much deeper than this.

A study by the Department for Business Innovation and Skills looked at how much employee wellbeing affects employee performance. They found a clear correlation between a “desirable workplace” and a sense of “high subjective wellbeing”.

But what is a “desirable workplace”? Surely physical characteristics differ between people and, just like our homes, our favorite spaces and layouts are incredibly personal.

Universal characteristics of desirable offices

A Workplace Survey by Gensler in 2013, identified the design factors that create an effective workplace. In this study, employee satisfaction was defined by “worker engagement, satisfaction and performance”. Crucially, this study showed how it wasn’t the characteristics of a physical space that mattered, but the way in which employees were able to use them.

The study found that there were four key areas employees needed in an office to be successful. These were: spaces to Focus, Collaborate, Learn, and Socialize.

This is supported by a study undertaken by Cornell University, which found companies that grant employees choice in how and where to work, grew at four times the rate of those who did not.

But with greater choice comes greater responsibility. Without defined desks, office spaces can become a free-for-all where more time is spent looking for a safe space to work than on the actual work itself.

We believe that one of the fundamental elements that can help to manage this “workplace of the future” in order to make it effective, is digital signage.

How digital signage wayfinding helps direct employees

Digital signage wayfinding (that’s the art of using a building directory on public digital screens) has a few key benefits when it comes to directing employees and ensuring they are free to make the best use of the space available.

Lower decision making

We all hear how the world’s most productive CEOs and entrepreneurs like Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg pick one outfit and stick with it. It’s because they want to reduce one of the decisions they have to make everyday. Digital wayfinding helps to make decision-making much faster. For example, say you arrive at the office earlier than usual. There are four different spaces you can choose to work in, but you see on the digital signage screen that only one of them is open. Do you have to decide which floor to go try? Nope, you suddenly know exactly where to go.

Better use of time

Offices that are clearly signposted help make better use of an employee’s time. When you effectively use digital signage wayfinding on each floor, or central meeting point, you begin to see a huge difference in the flow of your space. Just like a well sign-posted road, direction helps everyone to navigate more easily and with less build-up. Over time, this reduces congestion and ensures a stress-free office environment.

Less confusion

The beauty of digital wayfinding, over say, printed building plans, is the speed in which it can be updated. For example, when you use our Building Directory app, you can re-open the directory you created, make a change to a room name or floor, save it and the screen showing the directory will automatically update. You don’t have to be anywhere near the screen in question, which means a marketing department or someone in HR can make a change to the screen from anywhere. This reduces confusion and a pile of people turning up to a room which is no longer in use.

Fewer questions

It’s said that many of us don’t like asking for directions and in an office environment, this can be even more true. Digital signage wayfinding reduces the need for multiple questions. One university study found that digital signage had a positive impact on students, reducing a commonly frustrating experience when they couldn’t reach their destination. The study highlighted that there were factors which created effective interactions. These were wayfinding systems which were designed to reduce mental workload and increase simplicity. The need for effective design in digital signs is clear but when offices implement this successfully, fewer questions are needed for employees to successfully get to where they need to go.

Summary: Elements required to successful wayfinding for your offices

  • Simplicity: digital signage wayfinding should use simple design that aims to get the appropriate information to the viewer as quickly as possible.
  • Relevance: ensuring that the information displayed is both relevant to the space it is in and that it’s updated to show real time information.
  • Flexibility: wayfinding should be used to highlight the options open to employees. For example, a simple icon system could be used to show whether a space is best for group collaboration or more focused work.

If you’d like a simple app to help you setup digital signage wayfinding for your office, check out Building Directory app, as part of our free 14-day trial of ScreenCloud.

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