Six Variables of Office Seating Plan Software

By Dave Clifton
Content Strategy Specialist

It’s almost inevitable that you’ll need to change your workplace’s seat arrangement at some point. Company growth may demand new workstations. Moving to a new building may facilitate some rearranging. You might even discover the demand for a better desking concept. Whatever the catalyst for change, evaluating a new floor plan is best done using office seating plan software.

Seat planning software offers a number of benefits, including the ability to finesse a desking arrangement before physically moving anything. It’s a good way to see what you’re in for and make sure the final decision to disrupt current seating arrangements is the right one. Seat software also keeps workplace planners apprised of variables they might otherwise overlook. Here are six of them, and why they’re so impactful to a new seating plan.

1. Available facilities

You can’t know what seating arrangement is best—or even viable—until you see a complete picture of the available facilities. Trying to arrange variables without determining the constant (available space) is fruitless. Think of it like driving with a blindfold on. You may be able to get into the car, turn it on, shift gears, and step on the gas. But if you can’t see where you’re going, you’re bound to crash.

In understanding available facilities, pay attention to a few key elements. First, total square footage and how that real estate plays out across various floors and defined spaces. Second, the layout of facilities—floors, walls, hallways, and anything else not subject to change. These variables play a role in how each work area in the greater workplace will pan out.

2. Desking concepts

Using office seating chart software largely depends on the desking concept you need. The software allows you to map out desk locations, which means thinking about the core concept first. Do you want to clump people together in groups? Get everyone together in an open environment? Have hot desks scattered throughout the workplace? The concept you choose plays a big role in desk layout, which then affects seating.

Be sure to choose a desking concept that’s complementary to available space and employee needs. Trying out a benching concept in a small room may not work as well as individual desks, and cubicles won’t benefit an office where collaboration is paramount.

3. Workspace demands

A seating planner needs to know what the demands of the workforce are before making any changes. Charting these demands in seating plan software means putting another piece of the puzzle in place for the ideal desk arrangement.

For example, if you know you need two collaborative workspaces on the third floor, you can build the seating chart around them. Or, if you know you have 10 remote workers who come into the office each week, you can better plan for that capacity in your seating arrangements. Factor in the demands you know and plan the unknown variables around them.

4. Employee distribution

Stack plans or space allocation maps allow facility managers to use seating arrangement software to drag-and-drop desks, groups, and entire departments into the ideal floor plan. This ability to arrange and rearrange makes tweaking a new seating arrangement simple and encourages managers to create the perfect one.

Seeing employee distribution within the context of a seating plan is also helpful in relocating and consolidating groups. If Marketing is spread across three floors, a new seating arrangement can bring them together. Or, if Sales and Marketing need to be together, it’s easy to drag-and-drop scenarios to seat them together. Regardless, facility managers need to look at current employee distribution as they plan a new seating arrangement.

5. Integrations

Like most facets of workplace management, developing a new seating arrangement benefits from integration. The ability to message stakeholders and department leaders with desking questions is invaluable. So is sharing marked-up floor plans with them. Nothing compares to the convenience of a dynamic company directory—one that updates as employee seats change based on seat planning software.

Consider what integrations you need while planning for a new floor layout and ensure your office seating plan software offers them.

6. Move management

While planning a new workplace seating arrangement might be a laborious task, managing the transition to one is downright arduous. It helps when the same software used to plan new arrangements also offers the tools to execute on them. As you bring the perfect desking concept to life on screen, make sure your planning software can help you make it a reality in practice. This includes move scheduling, task delegation, messaging, action planning, and progress tracking.

These variables all impact the outcome of a new seating arrangement. Failing to consider even one of them could send the workplace into disarray mid-move, or leave you with a desking concept that doesn’t work as well as you anticipated. Use seat planning software to create the ideal desking arrangement, then check it against these variables to make sure it’ll work.

Keep reading: 4 Step Office Seating Plan Guide to Maximize Productivity

Workplace Thought Leadership

How Agile is Your Real Estate?

By Jeff Revoy
Chief Operations Officer

Real estate costs are typically one of the least agile parts of an organization. Every business has a fixed number of buildings or square footage and a set lease period. Company leaders need agile space planning and utilization options to maximize productivity. But how can a business balance a finite footprint with organizational nimbleness?

Workplace analytics are crucial to optimizing commercial real estate (CRE). Trends, forecasting, and projections are critical tools that help companies adapt to changing business demands. The key is understanding the constant evolution of the workplace and how analytics can optimize every square foot.

The Changing World of Real Estate

The CRE landscape is shifting almost daily. That makes it difficult for real estate professionals to project lease needs and costs even a few years into the future. Factors that complicate forecasting include:

  • Lease costs are skyrocketing
  • Long-term occupancy is not guaranteed (and even preferable)
  • Employees no longer adhere to a standard 9-to-5 workday
  • Remote working is on the rise
  • Workplace square footage per employee is shrinking

Organizations are also guilty of treating their workplaces as cost centers. Facility managers feel the pain most when their department budgets and staff are cut. But it’s a mistake to treat your workplace as a sunk cost that should be minimized. Everything in your business has strategic value, including the workplace.

How to Harness Real Estate Data

Real estate is the single biggest fixed expense for any company. But signing a 15-year lease is archaic. Too much can change in three years, much less in a decade. Everything from fluctuating staff levels and shifts in work processes to product or service pivots can change real estate requirements. What you need is a way to make smarter real estate decisions that free up capital to invest elsewhere.

We like to think of this as “real estate yoga.” Yoga for our bodies keeps joints and muscles limber. Real estate yoga has a similar intent—keep your organization agile and flexible. That translates to more productive, collaborative, and satisfied teams. This elasticity also means you won’t be locked into real estate investments that don’t serve the bottom line.

Historically, workplace data has been siloed in individual platforms. That puts organizations at a disadvantage. What if HR doesn’t communicate staffing projections to Facilities Management. Not good. Forecasting real estate needs means breaking down data barriers and putting staffing trends into a usable context by:

1) Collecting Data

Data collection can be as basic as compiling lease details, badge logs, calendar entries, and meeting room reservation information. You can also tap into WiFi and sensor data to form a more detailed picture.

2) Running Projections

Data is only useful if you draw conclusions from it. What if you want to know if a 10-person conference room is the right size for the meetings held in it? You can track calendar reservations, but that won’t tell you how many people came to a meeting and how long they actually used the room. But pair that information with sensor data and you may learn that meetings typically consist of two people. That’s context.

3) Taking Action

This is where real estate yoga strengthens decision making. With trends confirmed by data, you can enact real estate strategies that drive ROI. Some will have productivity benefits, such as rearranging existing space to better suit your employees’ work habits. Others will have an impact on real estate costs, such as deferring a new lease or consolidating square footage.

Imagine a scenario where you have 100 desks on a floor and want to know if the seat-to-employee ratio is appropriate. You analyze badging data and determine that an average of 40 people sign in every day. Now you have concrete proof that the space is underutilized. You can then optimize the layout, such as moving to a 2:1 desk-to-employee ratio or planning a department move.

Workplace analytics also play a major role in evaluating future real estate investments. Companies often struggle to forecast if staffing levels will be under, at, or over capacity when a lease expires. Without good data—and robust analytics built from it using an integrated workplace management system (IWMS)—how do you decide if a lease should be renewed or cancelled?

Current headcount is one indication, but personnel forecasting is another variable. Engineering is predicted to double in size, but it makes a significant difference in on-site workspace if new hires have the option to work remotely. An IWMS will highlight the key factors that ultimately impact your square footage needs.

Workplace analytics enhance visibility into space utilization. Better real estate forecasting and planning tools enable organizations to make workplace-based decisions. They help answer the age-old question for every business: When do I need to spend money on more space?

Keep reading: Real Estate Analytics Cut Costs and Lift Workplace Production


What is a CAFM Solutions Consultant?

By Tamara Sheehan
Director of Business Management

Consultants are a staple in the business world. They help companies boost performance or clue them into ways to improve. There are efficiency advisors and sales strategists, technology consultants and resource planning experts, and countless others. Add Computer-Aided Facility Management solutions consultant for facilities management to that list.

What is a CAFM solutions consultant? In an advisory role, this expert focuses on understanding the needs of facilities managers and matching functionality within capable software. Like any consultant, they focus on doing one thing well: improving facility management strategy. CAFM consultants help companies digitize tasks and broaden the level of oversight for managers. Their goal? Turn facilities into a vehicle for business success.

Evaluating facility management demands

The foremost concern of CAFM consultants is developing an understanding of each facility’s unique demands. They’ll set a baseline for how things operate before implementing solutions. This means observing crucial facility management practices, looking at processes, reviewing records, and shadowing the facility manager.

This immerses the consultant in the “how” of current practices. From the “how” comes the “why” and the “what.” Specifically, why are things done this way and what do or don’t they account for? The final evaluative measure is the most important: figuring out what’s missing.

  • What don’t current practices account for?
  • What facility demands aren’t being met?
  • Where are there inefficiencies within current processes?
  • What extraneous costs exist?

For a CAFM consultant, the evaluation ends by finding the right software to answer these questions.

Vetting CAFM solutions

Just like a consultant immerses themselves in current facility processes, they’ll apply this same rigorous evaluation technique to different CAFM solutions. Different software solutions offer different benefits. It’s the job of a consultant to connect the dots, pairing demand with solution. For example:

A consultant may find gaps in a company’s real estate forecasting models. The business has a history of growth, but it’s unsuccessful in scaling facilities to accommodate it. The consultant will look for CAFM software with specific real estate growth planning tools, including projects, lease management, cap-ex budgeting, and portfolio analytics. These tools will help the company anticipate facility demands.

It’s likely the business will have more than one specific siloed need. It’s up to the CAFM solutions consultant to vet software with diverse functions. Ultimately, while different aspects of facilities may need attention, part of a CAFM consultant’s job is to ease the transition to holistic workplace management. To do that, they’ll work to find a highly integrative solution.

After finding CAFM platforms applicable to a business’ needs, the consultant presents them to company stakeholders. They qualify facility problems and show how each platform addresses them. The consultant also provides a cost-benefit analysis to show the expected return on investment from CAFM software. From there, it’s up to stakeholders to make the investment.

Implementing CAFM software

If a business decides to move forward with a new CAFM system, the consultant will likely oversee its integration. The system rollout is usually a multi-phase, step-by-step process.

  • Buy licenses and set up an enterprise account
  • Configure software and integrate it into the business’ software ecosystem
  • Train facility managers and other employees on platform use
  • Structure processes and automations to address facilities management deficiencies
  • Integrate new technologies to supplement the CAFM platform (example: sensors)
  • Phase out antiquated processes and actions

Depending on the size of the company, rollout can take weeks to months. Having a CAFM consultant along for the ride ensures this new system of governance is grounded and properly configured. Working alongside the consultant is also beneficial for facility managers, who will broaden their understanding of facility challenges and how to address them using a CAFM platform.

Bringing new control to facilities management

CAFM solutions consultants can broaden the scope of what’s possible for facility management. Whether it’s migrating antiquated practices to a digital platform or evaluating software solutions for an expanding company, their consultancy focuses on bringing more control to the workplace. CAFM consultants identify dire facility management needs, then suggest software solutions to meet them. Like any consultant, they bring value to a business struggling to capitalize on facilities as a competitive advantage.

Keep reading: What is a CAFM Specialist?


Automated Facility Management System Practical Examples

By Aleks Sheynkman
Director of Engineering

Facility management, as a profession, isn’t new. But commercial real estate trends and advanced technologies are driving new ways to manage and improve the workplace. Tech now allows companies to quantify workplace spends and is setting the stage for workplace management’s next phase—the automated facility management system.

Automation technology has grown by leaps and bounds in recent years. While you might be able to ask your home voice assistant to turn on the lights or lock the doors, the office Internet of Things (IoT) shows vastly more potential. Today, companies run complex facility management processes through their IoT. These automations help them function smarter, better maintain facilities, and support employee productivity.

What is automated facilities management?

As the name implies, automated facility management focuses on putting facility services on auto pilot. How automated facility management system works is through triggers—if this, then that. An action triggers an appropriate reaction, which decreases the manual work required to complete a process. Automations make the most of complex chain actions and reactions, rules, and redundancies, all with minimal human intervention.

Take a look at a few examples of automated facilities management in action, and how they benefit facilities, employees, and support staff.

Automated support ticketing

The coffee machine is broken. Ben is the first to notice when he tries to brew a pot, so he opens his workplace app and creates a support ticket. He describes the problem and the location, then submits the ticket. It grabs the identifying information from Ben’s phone, then the completed maintenance request goes into the queue. The maintenance manager logs into the support dashboard, sees the broken coffee machine notification, and dispatches someone to replace it.

This example applies to any form of facilities maintenance: burned-out lights, damaged furniture, broken amenities, and whatever else isn’t usable by employees. The process can be further automated, too. Ben might get an email when the coffee machine is fixed. Or, the cost of repair/replacement may feed directly into departmental budgeting software.

Automated room booking

Leslie, Tom, and Ron need to have a private meeting. They’ve been chatting in a Slack channel about a problem and agree to meet in person. Leslie submits a room booking request through Slack, which shows her a nearby conference room that’s available. Leslie books the room. Tom and Ron get confirmation requests with the date, time, and directions; anyone else looking at the schedule now sees the room is unavailable at that time.

Here again, the premise is simple but the automated process is powerful and convenient. Not only can Leslie reserve space with just a few keystrokes, automation ensures there aren’t double-bookings or anyone interrupting the meeting. Moreover, Tom and Ron both get the information they need, along with a reminder. Further automation might add the meeting to everyone’s calendar or push alerts to a wayfinding app.

Automated reporting

April generates three monthly workplace reports for Chris: space utilization, occupancy rates, and a summary of filled maintenance requests. Instead of exporting numbers to spreadsheets and sifting through data, April creates a template and exports these figures into clean reports that are ready to deliver to Chris.

In this scenario, the facility management system is already home to aggregated data from sensors and other automations. Automated reporting comes from mapping that data to an appropriate template. The automation possibilities here are so robust, almost no human intervention is needed. Once April sets up the parameters of her reports, she can also schedule the system to run them automatically on the last day of every month, then email results directly to Chris. It’s one less task for April to worry about.

Automated access control

Donna works on the fifth floor, but her badge only allows her to access the first and fifth floors. Recently, she got a promotion and now needs access to floors one through five, as well as the parking garage and data room. The facility manager changes her access group from “employee” to “manager,” giving her the entry permissions she needs.

Access control is something many larger companies need to keep facilities and employees safe and on-task. Adding or revoking access with a simple status change saves tremendous time and hassle. Having a digital profile to back a key card or badge opens the door for broad automations, from granting physical access to adding employees to special groups or email lists.

Automated facility management system goals

What is the best automated facility management system? One that achieves two distinct goals: 1) It needs to streamline essential facility processes with little-to-no human intervention; 2) It needs to produce direct benefits for the company, its employees, or the facilities themselves.

An automated facility management system should be the pinnacle of simplicity. Where modern software makes a facility manager’s job easy, an automated system should remove tasks from their plate altogether.

Keep reading: The State of the Facility Management Market


Top 10 Features in Easy-to-Use Space Planning Software

By Aleks Sheynkman
Director of Engineering

Like any enterprise application, space planning software should make your job easier. What’s the point of using a cumbersome platform that takes longer to click through than a series of spreadsheets? Easy-to-use space planning software must offer facilities managers the tools, features, and resources that make it the simplest solution to coordinating workspaces.

Here are 10 must-have, simple-and-seamless features in modern facility planning software:

  1. Drag and drop floor plans: In the age of touchscreen devices, the best space planning software has drag and drop capabilities. Namely, interactive floor plans with drag and drop adjustments are a boon to facility managers. It should be easy to tap and drag desks, people, and assets within a floor plan to reposition them in an instant.
  2. Robust software integration: The larger the business, the more complex the software ecosystem. Space planning software should seamlessly connect applications such as calendars, messaging apps, and specialty software. The more cooperative it is, the simpler it is to coordinate vital facility functions.
  3. Mobile app integration: We live in a mobile world and technology on-the-go plays an important part. More and more, space planners are in the field and on the floor, working quickly to accommodate workplace needs. Mobile app integration allows facility managers to view, understand, and adapt facilities even when they’re not in front of a computer.
  4. Metrics and reporting: A major part of modern facilities management involves data. Space planning software should produce key reports about metrics you’re tracking or stats indicative of space utilization. A big part of the convenience is not having to export datasets to spreadsheets and tally them yourself—the software should produce figures, charts, and graphs for you.
  5. Sensor integration: The more of the workplace you can quantify, the better you’ll understand it. Look for space planning software that’s receptive to sensor integration, able to aggregate this data into meaningful insights. An open API or developer partnerships make it easy for sensors to digitize your physical workplace, so you can learn more about how it functions through a space planning platform.
  6. Single sign on (SSO): The easiest space planning software features are some of the best, including SSO integration. Forget about the frustration of having to log on to a dozen different systems every day—SSO logs you into your Integrated Workplace Management System (IWMS) and everything affiliated with it, quick as a flash!
  7. Scenario planning: Rarely do workplace puzzles come together on the first try. Scenario planning is a cornerstone of space planning software that is easy to use. Being able to create floor plan variations, save, and access them later helps make space planning easier. Keep effective plans for future use, draw inspiration from scenarios that worked well, or keep poor examples on-file so you know not to repeat them.
  8. Real-time views: The workplace functions in real-time and so should your management of it. Real-time views and actions within a space planning platform help coordinate agile facilities and their immediate needs. It’s the key to unlocking flexible workspaces, managing office moves, and keeping up on general facility maintenance. Real-time views keep pace with the speed of business—something static spreadsheets and CAD designs fail to do.
  9. Automations: Digital facility management is on the rise, quickly building to facility automation. Space planning software with automation capabilities positions companies to succeed in efficient new ways. Automated support ticketing, room booking, desk reservations, and more make planning, delegating, and managing the workplace simpler. Automations also help facility managers focus on big-picture improvements, instead of small-scale tasks.
  10. Tiered usership: Having a dozen users poking around in space planning software can create unnecessary chaos. Tiered usership grants access to those who need it, how they need it. The Finance Manager can generate facility cost reports. Human Resources can access employee seating information. Team Leads can manage their desk neighborhoods. Tiered usership gives people what they need on a need-to-know basis, without disrupting greater facility management efforts.

Not every facility management platform will include all of these features. The ones that do stand apart by offering unparalleled ease-of-use and intuitive function to facility managers. The more features, the easier the software is to use and the more benefits it can deliver to the workplace.

Keep reading: The Future Of Space Planning Software is Here.


Facilities Management Software for Small Business: Is it Really Necessary?

By Noam Livnat
Chief Product & Innovation Officer

Getting a new business venture off the ground is hard. It goes beyond having a great idea—it’s about getting an idea to work practically. Countless headwinds buffet startups and small businesses, forcing them to run lean until they finally break even or reach a stable plateau.

These early periods are the most crucial, which requires balancing needs and wants with costs and savings. Computerized systems are great for these tasks, but do you need facilities management software for small business?

The benefits of facilities management software are well-known for larger companies. However, many small businesses don’t feel like they can reap the same value. They see facilities management as an expense and less of a need. What many small businesses don’t realize is that facilities management software can be pivotal in helping them break even or more quickly reach stability. Sure it’s an expense, but it’s often a valuable one.

Conserve costs without cutting corners

Facilities represent one of the largest costs on any company’s balance sheet—second only to employees. For many startups, it’s the burden of launching and growing the business. You need space to succeed. Instead of working in a broom closet to build your venture, small business facility management software helps maximize the value of more accommodating space.

Taking on the burden of a lease becomes justified if that space allows you to generate increased revenue. It even works inversely—realizing you only need a set amount of space to shave costs off a lease without disrupting business growth. For small and growing businesses, maximizing facilities makes every dollar count.

Asset management from the get-go

Part of facility management for small businesses is asset oversight. Capital investments put major strain on growing companies, which makes managing them crucial from the start. Facility management software with a Computerized Maintenance Management System (CMMS) function is especially useful.

Take an injection molding company, for example. The company may rent mixed-use office and warehouse space to house two $30,000 injection molding machines. Facility management software not only helps business leaders maximize the space they rent, it supports the placement, maintenance, and management of its $60,000 capital investment. Support ticketing or asset management records available through the software help ensure business runs smoothly, so the machines continue to bring in revenue.

Delegate duties and streamline tasks

There’s a lot that goes into maintaining and managing facilities. Facilities management for small business may not be any one person’s responsibility. If multiple people have diverse responsibilities, the company needs a centralized way to coordinate tasks. Facility management software provides a baseline.

Facility management software connects the various duties of workplace upkeep and optimization to the many people overseeing them. Assign Task A to Person 1, Task B to Person 2, and so on, with tracking that informs everyone of what’s happening. It also brings transparency to the process. If Person C handles facility maintenance, there’s no confusion about to whom to report problems. The coordinated effort of facility management helps the business grow, no matter how many people are involved.

Facility management software supports the startup and small business mantra of “all hands on deck” to keep the company growing.

Plan for growth and changes

Like a child, small businesses have a tendency to outgrow themselves faster than you can keep up with. It’s not long before your 8-month-old is in 12-month-old clothing, then just as quickly in 16-month-old sizes. It’s why parents plan ahead, making the most of what they have before they need to spend more money on the next baby wardrobe.

For growing businesses, space planning is much the same way. You need to maximize facilities and keep costs low for as long as possible, until an upgrade is necessary. Facility management software helps thriving companies gauge their current space, so they know when they’ve outgrown it—and see what their demands have grown into.

How much more square footage does your business need? Do you need a building with a loading dock? What kind of lease can you afford? Every growing business will ask itself similar questions. Having the answers prompts strategic action, enabling continued growth.

Is facility management software necessary? Absolutely!

Making smart decisions at the earliest stages of a startup or growing company yields positive effects as the business matures. While it might not seem like a necessary investment early on, facility management software could turn out to be one of the best. The ability to chart the course of company growth, plan and adapt to changes, and conserve costs more than justify the expense. They position a growing business in-the-know at a crucial stage in its fledgling success. Managing facilities is a gateway to managing scale and growth, which drives each new phase of business success.

Keep reading: Measuring Facility Management Software ROI.


People-Friendly Wayfinding Strategies

By Nai Kanell
Director of Marketing

Your company has invested money in a comprehensive digital wayfinding system. You’ve got an app with great maps, tons of integrations, and plenty of opportunities to deploy it. But people aren’t using it. Why? Well, like most tools, it takes a little finesse to get people engaged and up-to-speed. They won’t simply use it because it’s there. They might not even know it’s available! What you need are wayfinding strategies to encourage engagement.

Sending out an email launching your wayfinding software isn’t enough. To really get employees and visitors using it, you’ll need to position your wayfinding solution as a valuable, must-use tool. Here are a few strategies for how to do it.

Make wayfinding a focus

The only way people will use your wayfinding system is to make it a focal point within your facilities. That means touting it wherever and whenever possible.

Someone wants to know where the nearest conference room is? Tell them to use the wayfinding platform. Have a visitor coming to the office? Email them instructions compatible with your wayfinding platform. One employee needs to find another? Wayfinding! Injecting wayfinding opportunities wherever they’re a natural solution gets people thinking about them. More importantly, it gets people using them. Keep the reminders constant and the value of the system will keep users engaged.

Integrate with digital resources

One of the best elements of wayfinding strategy design is integration with digital resources. The more digital elements touching wayfinding, the easier it’ll be for people to use it. Take a look at a few simple examples:

  • Slack and messaging integration that allow people to send directions through their communication platform of choice.
  • Integration with email platforms, so automated emails can pull data from the wayfinding platform and send it to a recipient.
  • Synced to the company directory, allowing people to see exactly where someone else sits and get directions to them.

Companies have entire digital ecosystems powering their everyday operations. There are natural places within that ecosystem to support a wayfinding complement. Identifying these areas is key in raising the adoption rate of wayfinding users.

Utilize web and mobile platforms

If you really want people to pick up your wayfinding system and use it regularly, make sure it’s cloud-enabled at a minimum. For true standalone adoption, nothing beats mobile access.

Think about when people use wayfinding. Often, it’s when they’re already on-the-go. Being able to access a cloud wayfinding system on their smartphone will give them the confidence to use the system. Providing a native mobile version only increases its usefulness. It all comes back to convenience for the user. The easier a system is to use—laptop, tablet, smartphone, Mac, PC, iOS, Android—the fewer barriers to adopt there are in making it habitual.

Integrate into workplace processes

Wayfinding best practices demand integration. Just like it’s smart to pair wayfinding software with other digital resources, it’s even smarter to integrate it into processes. Booking rooms, sending meeting invites, and coordinating office moves are all opportunities for wayfinding integration.

A group of employees is chatting on Slack and decides to book a collaborative workspace tomorrow at 2 p.m. They execute a Slack command to pull up room information, then book right through the messaging platform. An IWMS platform registers the booking and sends confirmation emails to each invitee with directions for how to get to the space from each of their individual desks. It’s a practical example that gets people thinking actively about the importance of wayfinding software.

Promote the benefits

One of the simplest ways to get people using your wayfinding system is to evangelize it at every opportunity. Showcase the benefits with real-world examples and continue to find ways to show people its usefulness. Often, once people have a good experience with a wayfinding system, they’re liable to use it again. This not only encourages recurring usage, it triggers broader adoption.

Promote the benefits of wayfinding in mediums that guarantee a positive experience. Include a “need directions? Use our wayfinding system” note in outbound emails to visitors. Showcase wayfinding directory integration in the company’s internal newsletter. Pair the positive benefits of your software with the right audience, in a setting where it’s easy to capitalize on demand for those features.

Make wayfinding a priority

If you make wayfinding a priority, so will your people. Weave it into the other processes and resources governing your facilities and watch adoption rates climb. For visitors, make wayfinding the easiest, most available solution to interacting with your workplace. Positioning wayfinding appropriately will inform and encourage people to use it, leading them to develop habits that rely on it. Soon enough, your wayfinding system will be a central part of most people’s workplace interactions.

Keep reading: Wayfinding Best Practices.


Getting the Most Out of Digital Wayfinding Maps

By Dave Clifton
Content Strategy Specialist

Whether you’re hitting the open road or trying to navigate the subway, there’s nothing more useful than a map. The same goes for getting your bearings in a building. Wayfinding maps are an essential tool for figuring out where you are, what’s nearby, and where you are in relation to your destination. But unlike a fold-up roadmap or a static subway sign, today’s facility wayfinding maps are feature-rich and digitally accessible.

The broad capabilities of wayfinding maps make them particularly useful in helping both employees and visitors navigate facilities. Making sure maps are effective tools means imbuing them with robust features that improve usability. Here’s how to make sure your wayfinding maps are as helpful as possible to the people using them.

Present a scalable view

What is a wayfinding map without the ability to scale? Especially for bigger campuses or more complex floor plans, being able to zoom in and out is imperative. Anyone looking at a map will appreciate the ability to focus on their location and immediate surroundings, while zooming out to see them in the context of greater facilities.

Mobile wayfinding maps make scalability easier than ever. The natural pinch-to-zoom feature of smartphones allows users to manipulate maps freely, without having to flip between different scale versions.

Label points of interest

Digital wayfinding offers an important map element that tangible maps don’t: the ability to label important points of interest. On a smartphone screen these points show up illuminated and clickable, providing more information.

For example, someone standing at a junction may see an icon on their smartphone map. Clicking it, it shows them a comprehensive listing of what’s to the left and right, so they can stay on track to where they’re going. Or, in another example, a bathroom symbol may appear. When clicked it can provide information about whether the bathroom is open or closed for cleaning, or if it has a baby changing station.

There’s limitless possibilities for points of interest. Include whatever may be important to people using the wayfinding app.

Deliver a top-down, 3D floor plan

Digital rendering opens up a world of possibilities for wayfinding map design, including the third dimension, which just isn’t possible on paper. Providing users with a 3D wayfinding map is a great opportunity to give them more context about the facilities around them. From being able to see the nuances of the physical space in a rendering, to confirming context of location by looking at the map, 3D provides much-needed detail.

Providing a 3D floor plan with a top-down view is even more beneficial. Looking down into the space helps someone get their bearings better. Then, when they’re comfortable with their position, they can pinch, turn, and change the angle of the map to continue navigating confidently. The 3D framework of the map lends familiarity to the navigation process because what someone sees on the screen will be what they see in front of them.

Display relevant information in context

A well-designed wayfinding map has more than the floor plan or a schematic mockup of the building. It also has useful tools for providing context and information. The simplest example is a compass rose. Being able to see which way is up, so to speak, helps people establish their heading en route to a destination.

Alongside a compass rose, consider other elements to contextualize the map itself. For campuses, a scale measure is useful, showing distance between buildings or landmarks. In large facilities, having an icon key helps people identify map callouts that may not be instantly recognizable—things like information kiosks, construction, emergency exits, and more. It adds another layer of confidence to wayfinding best practices.

Color code for clarity

Are your facilities separated in a distinct way? Use color on your wayfinding maps to signify this. Shading the Accounting department in green, showing Sales in red, or highlighting Human Resources in yellow lets people know exactly what space belongs to which department. Color is also useful for marking areas of interest. Bathrooms are blue, emergency exits red, and kiosks orange.

Color distinguishes important information—especially against the grayscale backdrop of a traditional wayfinding map or floor plan. Just make sure to use color consistently and don’t overwhelm viewers with too many colors. Color should add clarity, not confusion.

Maps are central to the wayfinding experience

Wayfinding maps provide context for any form of navigation. Whether a person needs to find a specific office or just figure out where they are, they’ll need a map to do it. The more robust you can make your wayfinding maps, the better they’ll serve people in navigating your facilities. It won’t take long for someone to get their bearings!

Keep reading: Wayfinding Signage System Tips.


The Five Major Pillars of a Wayfinding Program

By Dave Clifton
Content Strategy Specialist

A wayfinding program is the ideal way to make sure employees and visitors always know where they are in your facilities. To ensure people get all the information they need to navigate, provide them with access to a program that’s broadly functional. A well-rounded platform will make wayfinding simple.

Cloud-based wayfinding solutions put navigation at the fingertips of the people who need it most, whether it’s looking at directions on a laptop or walking through them in real-time on a smartphone. A wayfinding program needs to do more than offer a few simple maps or a directory list, though. Every good wayfinding program has five important pillars.

1. Point-to-point routing

In the physical sense, wayfinding signage is responsible for getting people around your facilities. But that relies on constantly reassessing their bearings at every junction. While a good wayfinding signage system will keep people confident about their trek, nothing beats the convenience of point-to-point routing. All they need to do is follow the line or watch their dot move through the digital map.

Point-to-point routing is especially convenient for larger facilities or campuses—areas where continuity of physical signage may be an issue. If someone exits Building A and enters Building C, they might not be able to pick up their trail again. Digital routing keeps them on-track, bridging physical uncertainties.

2. Maps and floor plans

Wayfinding maps are the simplest, most essential element of navigation. Being able to see the full scope of facilities provides context for the journey through them. Within modern wayfinding programs, these maps and floor plans come with extensive capabilities.

Scalability is a basic, yet integral feature. The ability to show real-time location within the context of the map is also a prominent feature. Many floor plans now allow for smart tagging, which lets administrators place icons or labels that display more information when clicked. Shifting between 2D and 3D views also helps provide context.

The more robust the map or floor plan, the more useful it is in helping people navigate. A good wayfinding program will build in as many map-related features as possible to assist users.

3. Directory integration

One of the most convenient tools for encouraging practical use of a wayfinding system is directory integration. Incorporating the employee directory unlocks a full range of opportunities for wayfinding. For example, in a few clicks, users can find exactly who they’re looking for and get directions to their desk. Pair wayfinding software with room booking software and the directory integration becomes part of a complete process for reserving space. The list of integration capabilities goes on.

Directory integration helps normalize wayfinding among visitors, employees, and anyone else within facilities. It bridges the two most fundamental aspects of wayfinding: people and places. Being able to find anyone, anywhere within a wayfinding ecosystem adds a powerful dimension to navigation.

4. Mobile accessibility

A cloud-based wayfinding system is a must-have for any facility. Even better is mobile accessibility. Mobile wayfinding access is so important that without it, a wayfinding system may be completely disregarded by the population meant to use it.

Consider the leap in convenience from viewing directions on a laptop, to watching those directions unfold in real-time on a smartphone. Imagine being able to take out a phone and position yourself anywhere in a facility, at any time. Try tapping on a room to get information about it as you’re walking into a building. The convenience is unparalleled, and it’s all rooted in mobile accessibility.

5. Messaging

Wayfinding is no longer a one-way mode of communication. Modern wayfinding systems need a messaging element, because people expect answers as they navigate. They want to export directions to someone via text message. They need to share room information with a group on Slack. Whatever the case, there needs to be a way to take navigation data from a wayfinding system and communicate it to others who need it.

Help and assistance also exemplify the importance of messaging. Imagine being able to text “Where is Conference Room A?” and getting an auto response with directions. Or, being able to call the facility manager from the wayfinding app to get information about the facilities themselves. Messaging—via text, call, video, or chat—is an entrenched pillar of modern wayfinding.

Everything people need to not get lost

All these features add up to a wayfinding platform that accomplishes what it’s meant to do: provide guidance. Whether it’s employees trying to locate each other or a visitor to your facilities looking for a specific department, these five pillars enable quick navigation. More importantly, they work together to make even the biggest facilities feel a bit more manageable.

Keep reading: Wayfinding Best Practices.