The benefits of good wayfinding
Visitors and staff will all need wayfinding at some point. It can tell you where you are, how to find a place or person, what rules exist in a space and even how to use a piece of equipment.
For visitors, wayfinding makes for efficient use of time in an unfamiliar space. It is welcoming and comforting when done well. It enhances a brand. And it isn’t just a nicety. Poor wayfinding can lead to people entering an unsafe area or getting lost inside a building space.
For staff, even once they know their way around the interior office, wayfinding technology shows them who is present in the office and where they are. It enables them to book a space or find equipment they need. This enhances their workplace experience and builds a better sense of collaboration and connection.
Signage leads the way
Signage is the staple of wayfinding. Have some fun with it!
- Signs can reflect your brand through creative use of colour, style and shape.
- Name your office spaces instead of using numbers. Have fun with the names if it suits your company culture. If you are picking names that relate to the business, choose names that will have longevity, rather than the latest new product name which could be replaced in the future.
- If you have multinational visitors or staff, consider signs in multiple languages to aid wayfinding and make people feel welcome and comfortable.
- Use universal graphics (such as an elevator or restroom symbol) instead of words whenever possible. These are inclusive and easily understood by everybody.
Digital signs are particularly useful for commercial fit-outs that house multiple businesses, as the building directory can be easily updated if tenants change. If you have a large reception area, display the building directory both at the entrance and next to the elevators.
For complex commercial fit-outs or large premises with hundreds of staff, interactive digital kiosks (like those commonly found in shopping centres) are even better. Layered screens enable additional business information or even advertising messages. The technology will guide you to a specific staff member or room. Maps and directories can be updated instantly if the office design or staff list changes. No more outdated information!
Wayfinding in the hybrid office
Wayfinding kiosks and interactive technology are particularly useful for hybrid working businesses where staff work partly off-site/at home and partly in the office. Think about the mental ease of using a car park where green and red lights direct you to a free space. In flexible workspaces, you can provide that same mental relief to staff with a wayfinding system that shows people, facilities and equipment. Wayfinding software provides a real time solution to questions such as:
- Who is in the office today?
- Where are they working?
- Where’s the closest unoccupied desk or ergonomic chair?
- Which photocopier is free right now?
- Where are the post-it notes? Though it probably won’t tell you who took the last packet…
Some wayfinding systems can even integrate with facilities management to guide maintenance people to a problematic room or machine.
Wayfinding technology will also be at your fingertips with smartphone integration, available from most suppliers.
Effortless flow through office design
If you start your office design strategy with the flow of people and work processes, you can make wayfinding effortless. Locating facilities close to the people who need them most and having multiple entry/exit doors facilitates a smooth flow of people. Add a meeting room and restroom close to reception so that visitors do not have to navigate too far.
Using a specific colour in one area can be helpful wayfinding particularly in open plan or large workspaces. It’s so much easier looking for the ‘blue’ IT team when you need help, or the ‘red’ quiet zone for some concentration time. Implement colours in the office interior design with feature walls or office chairs/furniture.
Best practice wayfinding is about more than good signage. Please call the office interior design team at Evoke Projects on 1300 720 692 to navigate wayfinding in your workplace.