Seven Benefits of Wayfinding for Colleges

Every year, colleges across the country welcome a new crop of students. They join upperclassmen, faculty, maintenance staff, support workers, and dozens of other groups present on campus. And, for the first few weeks of the year, campus is relatively chaotic as everyone figures out their new routine. Universities looking to ease this chaos benefit enormously from wayfinding.

Wayfinding doesn’t just help the new crop of students get their bearings; it’s useful to anyone on campus, no matter how well they already know the environment. It’s important to remember that wayfinding isn’t only about knowing where things are or how to get to them—it’s also about navigating the space fluidly. As campus operations directors and facility managers seek to improve the campus experience for everyone on it, wayfinding stands as a great opportunity.

What is wayfinding?

Wayfinding is a support system that helps students, faculty, staff, visitors, and anyone else on a college campus understand where they are, and help them get to where they want to go. It can be as simple as a digital campus map or as complex as turn-by-turn directions to a specific room in a particular building. Whatever features it offers, the goal of a wayfinding solution is to make navigating campus simpler and more efficient.

These days, most wayfinding solutions come in the form of an app or a cloud system. This allows users to unlock their smartphone and instantly access the campus information they need. Look up a professor and find directions to their office. Look up a class to figure out where it’s meeting today. Chart a course from your dorm room to a building you’ve never been in before. It’s all possible through wayfinding—that, and simply being able to see where amenities or emergency services are at a glance.

Wayfinding refers to the process of navigating and orienting oneself within a physical environment, such as a building, campus, or public space. It involves using visual cues, signage, maps, and other information to understand and follow a path or reach a specific destination. Wayfinding helps individuals understand their current location, identify points of interest, and determine the best route to their desired destination.

The main goal of wayfinding is to provide clear and intuitive guidance to users, ensuring they can navigate a space efficiently, safely, and without confusion. Effective wayfinding design takes into consideration factors such as the layout of the environment, the needs and abilities of the users, and the context in which the navigation is taking place.

The benefits of wayfinding for schools

The robust capabilities of modern wayfinding for schools and colleges come with many benefits that make it a great investment. Here’s a look at seven of the most prominent benefits associated with campus wayfinding:

  1. Alleviate congestion. With thousands of people walking around campus at any given time, it’s important to modulate traffic. Wayfinding can ease congestion by suggesting alternate routes at certain times of the day, or even providing real-time updates on areas where overcrowding is an issue.
  2. Improve navigability. Whether they know where they’re going or have no clue where they are, wayfinding makes navigating large campuses simpler for everyone. Condensing the sprawl of campus to a smartphone-sized map enables better decision-making by students—especially when they’re racing the clock.
  3. Reduce disruption. Nothing interrupts a class like someone walking in because they have the wrong room. Likewise, not everyone has time to stop and give directions to a hurried passerby. Wayfinding reduces these types of disruptions by giving everyone the power to get to where they need to go.
  4. Ease transitions. Professionals and students alike have places to be after class ends. Wayfinding helps them chart the way so that they can arrive on-time composed and ready for the next item on their itinerary. It’s a simple way to reduce instances of flustered faculty and winded students so that class can start on-time.
  5. Familiarize campus. College campuses are privy to a number of visitors—everyone from pizza delivery drivers to visiting friends and family. These individuals need a way to get familiar with campus instantly, so they can find the people and places they’re looking for. Wayfinding provides necessary context.
  6. Emergency action. Where’s the nearest first-aid station? Where are campus police located? Where’s the emergency exit in this building? These are important questions that wayfinding can answer, to empower greater safety on campus. It’s an instant way for someone to get their bearings in a dire situation.
  7. Improve accessibility. From wheelchair-bound persons to those with special needs, wayfinding is a tool for making life on campus easier. It can show where handicap access is or where certain facilities are, to empower those with accessibility needs to better-navigate campus in a way that supports them fully.

Wayfinding’s numerous benefits make it something anyone on campus can and should use. Universities that encourage a wayfinding-first approach to acclimating on campus will find themselves with a campus population that’s more adept at navigating and more comfortable with the environment.

Everyone on campus benefits from wayfinding

For new students, wayfinding is a vital tool for getting familiar with campus. For returning students and seasoned faculty, it’s the key to finding the quickest route to wherever they need to be. For visitors, it’s an abundance of information that makes finding specific people and places easy. Everyone can use a campus wayfinding app to improve their interaction with the university and the many buildings under its purview.

Whether it’s a campus spread throughout a city or one with sprawling grounds, wayfinding helps students get to class and everyone else get to where they’re going. Moreover, it does so with experience, efficiency, ease, and expedience.

Keep reading: Facilities Management Software for Schools


12 Benefits of Wayfinding for Campus Environments

Many companies operate on campuses. They have multiple buildings designated for different purposes, with staff fluttering between them. Akin to anthills and beehives, there’s constant activity on corporate campuses, with everyone working hard to get from one destination to the next quickly and without delay. Consider the many people, destinations, buildings, and routes this involves and it’s not difficult to see the benefits of wayfinding.

For seasoned employees, getting from one place to another on a corporate campus might be a breeze. Even still, these experts can still get tripped up attending a meeting in a room they’ve never been to in a building they rarely visit. Now, think about a new employee or a visitor—someone who’s never been outside of an admin building. For these folks, wayfinding is downright essential.

What is wayfinding?

Wayfinding in a corporate setting is the act of providing context for movements within facilities. It could be as simple as numbering rooms or as robust as an app that offers step-by-step directions for guests who’ve never visited the building before. The purpose of wayfinding is to make navigating easy—whether to find a person, place, or specific type of space. On a campus, this type of system is even more important, since navigable space goes far beyond a single floor or building.

12 benefits of wayfinding software on campuses

Not only does it take time for people to traverse campuses to get from one destination to another, there are more routes to use. Moreover, it’s easier to get lost or lose your bearings going from one building to another. The benefits of implementing a wayfinding system on a corporate campus are invaluable in saving time, improving experience, and even bolstering productivity.

  1. Space location and utilization. Marc needs a standing desk. Roselia prefers a quiet workstation. Emile needs a 12-person conference room in Building X. Wayfinding is the quickest way to connect need with space. It’s a direct route to the best available workspace.
  2. Efficient employee movement. Getting lost on a corporate campus can result in lots of wasted time and lost productivity. Employees avoid detours, reduce backtracking, and shave minutes off their route when the quickest path is right in the palm of their hands.
  3. Improved employee confidence. Wayfinding offers a straightforward path to the destination, to give employees confidence while they navigate new or unfamiliar areas of the campus. This is vital for new employees as they get acclimated.
  4. Welcoming to visitors/guests. Guests need to know exactly where they’re going on a campus. A wayfinding solution instantly improves the visitor experience. Guests won’t need to stop and ask for directions or spend time trying to call or text the person they’re meeting.
  5. Easy directory integration. If Lenore needs to meet with Rajesh, she can locate him via the wayfinding directory and get instant directions to his desk. This is particularly useful in flex spaces, where employee location hinges on personal devices or current bookings.
  6. Robust software integration. Need to book a hotel desk en-route to a building? Wayfinding integrations make space accessible on-the-go. Book the space from the wayfinding app and get instant directions to it.
  7. Employee autonomy. On free-assign campuses, it’s important for employees to own a sense of autonomy. Wayfinding gives them that freedom. Whether they want a quiet workspace, somewhere near the cafeteria, or a desk with a view, exploring is simpler.
  8. Increased productivity. Employees spend less time wandering the campus and more time getting settled into their workspace comfortably. There’s also a certain productivity in understanding your bearings—you’re less out of your element when you know exactly where you are.
  9. Better space utilization. Wayfinding opens the door to spaces employees might not know about or think to use. When they know where these spaces are and how to get to them, they’ll use them, which boosts campus-wide space utilization metrics.
  10. Contextualized campuses. Wayfinding puts the campus in context, no matter how large it is. As they navigate around, employees become more familiar with where spaces are, what utilities they’re near, how to use certain spaces, and what the best routes are.
  11. Improved safety. Intelligent wayfinding systems can account for campus construction, on-site hazards, and other obstructions. They’re smart enough to navigate people around the problem, so they get to where they’re going quickly and safely.
  12. Better traffic flow on campus. Every campus has common areas and high traffic thoroughfares. Like a car’s GPS, smart wayfinding can route and re-route people across campus to avoid pile-ups and bottlenecks in well-traveled areas.

Wayfinding on campuses is essential. Even for those who are intimately familiar with the campus environment, the ability to rely on wayfinding software for routing and quick answers is key in helping the campus environment feel smaller and more personal.

Make navigation simpler

Employees will eventually get to the point where they don’t rely on wayfinding. That said, wayfinding is still a tool available to them for specific uses—booking a desk, finding a person, or locating an asset, for example. Whether they use it daily or only as-needed, wayfinding is the backbone of any corporate campus and the ebb and flow of movement throughout it.

Keep reading: The Five Major Pillars of a Wayfinding Program


Government IWMS Software: 10 Must-Have Features

By Dave Clifton
Content Strategist

There’s been a prolific rise of government IWMS software over the last decade. It’s because, like other types of workplaces, government facilities have undergone major change. These facilities have become more complex and agile, and the expectations for them are more diverse than ever. Government IWMS solutions help marry form and function to meet these expectations.

From facility maintenance and space planning, to access control and wayfinding, the capabilities of IWMS for government agencies dictates their usefulness. While not every facility needs the same level of oversight, it’s nonetheless important for municipal building managers to have robust tools available to them. Here’s a look at 10 of the must-have features of an IWMS for municipal building management.

  1. Space management. Every square foot of space in government facilities is important. Facility managers need a top-down view that allows them to see which spaces are static, which are dynamic, and which offer flex potential, so they can manage the sum of facilities appropriately.
  2. Emergency preparedness. Government facilities are beholden to strict emergency preparedness. IWMS software enables emergency planning for everything from inclement weather, to threats of violence, to facility failures, and beyond. Moreover, it makes these plans accessible to everyone who needs them. It’s easy to update, disseminate, and train against these materials when they live alongside floor plans and other facility data.
  3. Lease management. Government facilities are taxpayer funded, which means maximizing ROI and value. Lease management tools help ensure taxpayer dollars are spent wisely, and that the facilities they’re funding deliver value to the communities they serve. At a higher level, IWMS brings broad perspective to portfolio management across all government buildings within a certain jurisdiction.
  4. Fleet and asset management. Here again, government assets are the result of taxpayer dollars. It’s in the best interest of municipal building managers to keep track of assets and fleets in a way that shows upkeep, cost, ROI, utilization, and other important metrics that justify continued investment or new investments. This is important for everything from budgeting to cost-benefit analyses that may eventually become public information.
  5. Sustainability tools. Sustainability is paramount in government facility management. From energy conservation to recycling programs and waste management, IWMS platforms provide tools to ensure efficiency. They’re also instrumental in providing evidence-based insights into the efficacy of such programs. Combined with BIM and other modeling tools, sustainability metrics are part of next-gen building governance.
  6. Wayfinding tools. There’s an indisputable need for wayfinding in government buildings. An IWMS is central to a myriad of wayfinding integrations—everything from interactive facility maps, to employee directories, to point-by-point directional apps. IWMS lends facility context to wayfinding, to make it more robust and versatile. This is vital for municipal facilities large and small alike.
  7. Move management. Government facilities aren’t as static as they’ve historically been. In fact, the shift to more dynamic spaces has resulted in no small amount of relocation within buildings. Then move management tools within an IWMS help bring fluidity to agility, and unlock the utility of spaces that might otherwise remain closed-off or static. It’s also an important consideration during periods of remodeling or improvement to facilities.
  8. Hoteling and room booking. Private space is essential in a municipal setting. Employees need an opportunity to book space and reserve rooms they can use uninterrupted. Hoteling and room booking are a fundamental part of IWMS usage in government buildings, and the gateway to maintaining privacy and confidentiality when people are on the move.
  9. Access control systems. Most municipal facilities already have some form of access control. IWMS brings that control into a single system that makes managing it simpler. Whether it’s badging and ID passes or more advanced biometrics, IWMS is instrumental in creating accessibility for those who need to and restrictions against unwanted access.
  10. Maintenance management. Government buildings face significant need for maintenance, upkeep, and restoration given their age and rate of use. Orchestrating maintenance tickets and service logs is a fundamental must-have from an IWMS, and an important part of keeping facilities safe, accessible, useful, and clean.

The best government IWMS software will include a majority of these features—if not all of them. And even if you don’t need or use them all, it’s still vital to have them. Municipal buildings are still evolving, and will continue to evolve alongside other traditional workplaces. As they do, more and more of these features will become relevant to facility managers. It’s best to get familiar with them now.

Keep reading: Five Uses for Government Move Management Software


Government Digital Signage is Vital in Public Buildings

By Dave Clifton
Content Strategist

A visit to a local government building is enough to put anyone on edge—for good and bad reasons alike. It’s a joyous occasion to pick up your marriage certificate at city hall. Conversely, it’s not a happy moment if you need to visit a police station to file a theft report. In either case, people want to get to where they’re going as quickly as possible. Enter: government digital signage.

Whether they’re occupied by happy thoughts or nervous anxiety, municipal buildings can be confusing places. Most people visit these locations only sparingly, and aren’t always sure of where they’re headed once inside. Wayfinding signage simplifies every visit by pointing a clear path to the destination. Moreover, it does this no matter how large, complex, or confusing the facilities are. From a police station, to city hall, to courthouses, and beyond, it’s a comfort for people to have directions.

Here’s a look at how to make government digital signage work, and why it’s an important part of the visitor experience in municipal buildings.

Examples of government digital signage

There’s a broad gamut of digital signage to consider for wayfinding. The presence of these different types of signage usually depends on the size and complexity of the building. Here are a few examples:

  • Kiosks. For large facilities, entryway kiosks can be extremely helpful in easing the stress of navigation to a particular point within the building. Federal buildings, for example, may house hundreds of offices and rooms over several floors, which necessitates wayfinding the moment someone steps in the door.
  • LED signage. Common corridor signage overhead can give instant context to visitors to tell them where they are. This works in small and large facilities alike. Whether static or scrolling, it’s helpful to visitors to be able to look up and get context for their location.
  • Wall screens. Similar to kiosks, wall screens are informative points in larger buildings where visitors can pull up a map, search for amenities, see their location, or ask common questions.

Digital signage serves a variety of purposes: from showing people the way to their destination to informing them about their surroundings. In government facilities, this is instrumental in easing the stress of a visit.

Government wayfinder software is a low-cost convenience

The beauty of digital wayfinding solutions for government buildings is that they’re a universal investment. Anyone can use them—and, in fact, most visitors are likely to. This can cut down on confusion, misunderstanding, questions, and inconveniences for both visitors and the people who work within these buildings.

Consider someone visiting the court house for jury duty. They know they’re supposed to check in with the clerk in Room 233F. They can reasonably decipher that it’s on the second floor, but if they’ve never been there before, they’ll likely need to ask for directions. If the first thing they see when they enter the courthouse is an information kiosk, they no longer need to bother someone. More important, they’ll feel more empowered to find their own way, instilling confidence.

The cost savings of this convenience in similar situations is immeasurable. There’s savings in not interrupting workers, not needing to staff full-time greeters, and, of course, savings from time not spent wandering around. Everyone is able to get to where they need to go without delay, interruption, or incident.

Examples of interactive wayfinding software for government buildings

While there are plenty of digital wayfinding software options to consider for municipal buildings, interactivity is truly the modern standard. Visitors need the ability to interact with maps, directories, and information hubs to become confident with their surroundings.

Take something simple, like a map of the current floor. The ability to rotate it helps a user get their bearings, instead of trying to reimagine themselves within the context of the map. Zoom in and zoom out improve perception. Clicking on different amenities and rooms brings up information, to provide context for surroundings. There’s no end to the capabilities and conveniences of interactive wayfinding features; even something like point-to-point directions can instantly transform the situation from an uncertain one, to an informed one.

The power of digital signage for government agencies

The core purpose of government is to serve constituents. And while we tend to think of this as policy decisions and referendums, it’s also a matter of simple, everyday conveniences. When they visit the courthouse for jury duty or go to city hall to pick up a building permit, people need to know where they’re going. Wayfinding can tell them, and make sure they arrive at their destination with minimal stress involved.

It’s not every day people need to visit government buildings. When they do, it should feel comfortable, familiar, and accessible to them. All they’ll need to do is follow the signs.

Keep reading: The Five Major Pillars of a Wayfinding Program


Facilities Management Software in Australia: Must-Have Features

By Devon Maresco
Marketing Coordinator

CRE costs in Australia face turbulence from the fallout of COVID-19. Nevertheless, they remain relatively high, which means tenants and occupants need to stretch their investment over every square inch carefully. The best way to do this is through facilities management software in Australia. That means using software that’s feature-rich, rife with the capabilities Australian businesses need to operate with efficiency.

There’s a strong market for facility management software for Australian companies. That said, not all software is equal, and not every program offers the same level of opportunity when it comes to features. Here’s what to look for when choosing facility management software to govern your business’ facilities and operations.

Floor planning and stack plans

At its core, a successful facilities management program needs space visualization features. The two most-used and most important are floor plan and stack plan features. In the quest to maximize space as an investment, these tools are essential. They enable facility managers to coordinate, plan, and optimize space in any setting, no matter the variables involved.

The best software will not only offer space visualization tools, it will support these tools with value-add features. For example, a stack plan might come with the ability to see cost center data alongside space allocations. Or, a floor plan might feature programmable parameters to ensure new floor plan designs don’t violate building codes. The more features within floor plan and stack plan capabilities, the more useful they are.

Move management tools

Now is a period of flux for many Australian businesses. They’re reconsidering space and using this opportunity to relocate to new facilities that better-support operations. To do this efficiently takes a robust suite of move management tools.

Look for facilities management software that simplifies relocations of all types and complexities. This includes everything from checklists and task delegations, to messaging integrations and asset management features. While moves may not be a routine part of your operations, many of these features lend themselves to agile workplaces. It’s important for companies to evaluate these tools and understand how they apply to any shuffling or relocation opportunities ahead.

Asset management resources

Facility management software in Australia needs to include asset management resources. As they strive to maximize their space, Aussie companies need to also consider the assets within that space. From copy machines and break room appliances to capital systems and high-value equipment, mindful asset management improves both top- and bottom-line prospects.

The biggest opportunity for companies to optimize facilities is through preventive and proactive maintenance. This also necessitates a CMMS component, which many broader facilities management platforms offer or integrate with. Digital twins are also an important factor here, since they’re digital representations of assets, from the building itself to the systems within it. Software that offers these features enables Australian companies to maximize their management of high-value assets and their contribution to the business.

Wayfinding and directories

For companies occupying larger facilities or broad campuses, wayfinding is vital. It’s important that employees and guests are able to navigate to specific areas quickly. But wayfinding and directories offer so many more opportunities beyond navigability. They’re also instrumental in visitor experience, safety, convenience, and collaboration.

Look for software with a strong emphasis on wayfinding and directory capabilities. It’s not enough to have a lookup system that helps people find each other. Wayfinding also needs to bridge into space booking, access control, and everyday operations. Implemented correctly, wayfinding helps employees and visitors alike make the most of the space available to them—a factor that can improve space utilization and ROI.

Room booking and space reservations

More and more Australian businesses have embraced agile workplaces. To govern them accordingly takes hoteling software and room booking systems. You’ll find both in the top facilities management software. This includes features that make it easy to search and book workspaces, whether on-site or off-site. Moreover, these systems are also instrumental in providing statistical data about space efficiency. This enables further optimization and cost-efficiency.

Whether your business has shifted to flex work or wants to promote a more dynamic workplace, room booking and reservation software is essential. It’s quickly making the “must-have” list of demands for Australian companies embracing space flexibility.

Look for features that support your business

The best Australian facilities management software is the one with the features and capabilities to match your operations. Even if you don’t need a specific feature, it’s nice to have it available as your business grows and your needs evolve.

If COVID-19 taught us anything, it’s that workplaces will continue to adapt as the workforce does. The Australian commercial real estate market is proof of this right now. With new expectations from employees and shifts in workplace regulations, facility managers need plentiful tools to adapt facilities in a way that meets these new expectations. Facilities management software is the key to not only weathering change, but continuing to adapt to it.

Keep reading: Selecting the Right Facility Management Software


What Are Smart Workplace Solutions?

By Devon Maresco
Marketing Coordinator

The concept of a smart workplace is easy enough to understand. It’s one that uses technology to make the lives of employees simpler and to improve the productivity and efficiency of the business. But what are smart workplace solutions, really? Solutions imply outcomes from the technology, which means looking closer at how it specifically benefits those using it. Think about it from a benefit vs. feature standpoint. How does the smart office yield improvements?

Understanding smart workplace solutions is the easiest way to close the gap between an investment in smart technologies and the ROI that justifies them. Here’s a look at some of the workplace solutions smart technologies enable.

Wayfinding, room booking, and reservations

On campuses or in large office buildings, it can be difficult to navigate. Whether it’s your first time there or you’re looking for a particular space, you need to know the best way to get to where you’re going. In a smart workplace, the solution is wayfinding software—as well as room booking and reservation software. These smart workplace solutions bridge the gap between need and solution, to make the workplace more accessible.

Malik needs a six-person workspace in Building F. He books a room using the company’s reservation system, then taps the wayfinding icon for quick directions. For added convenience, he can also calendar the reservation and directions straight to the meeting invitees. It’s an efficient solution that saves time and frustration.

This simple convenience makes the workplace more accessible and gives employees the confidence to navigate it fluidly.

Floor plan design and optimization

As workplaces continue to evolve, smart workplace management will play a bigger role in shaping the space employees need. Understanding the types of workspaces that support your employees best comes from breaking down the data provided by smart workplace tech to derive meaningful conclusions.

Leanne compiles desk booking information from the last six months. She realizes that collaborative spaces that accommodate four people are the most popular, while spaces meant for eight people see almost no use. She uses this data to reconfigure the workplace to include more four-person spaces and fewer eight-person spaces. Workspace utilization increases, according to data three months later.

Here, a data-driven approach to floor plan design and optimization ensures everyone has the right space to work.

Asset maintenance and management

Smart technologies are hugely beneficial for asset monitoring and maintenance. The ability to manage assets via a digital twin software or glean quantifiable insights from an integrated smart sensor provides facility professionals with a wide range of opportunities for improvement. Often, it’s these opportunities that transform the workplace from a smart one to an intelligent one.

Lorenzo is head of the maintenance department. He needs to provide an annual budget to the CFO, complete with any capital expenses the business should anticipate. He looks through digital twin data and finds that the rate of service calls on the roof stack heating system have gone up year over year. He also sees that the unit is eight years past its anticipated service life. He contacts a vendor for a replacement estimate, to budget accordingly.

From capital systems to smaller investments, access to data from the smart office provides a foundation for understanding the lifespan, ROI, cost of ownership, and service record of assets.

Energy efficiency and sustainability

At a time when the Triple Bottom Line is becoming more important to businesses, sustainability initiatives are on the rise. Digital workplace solutions provide the backdrop for investment in these initiatives.

XYZ Company installs rooftop solar panels. Smart sensors calculate how many kilowatts the panels generate on average each day. That data helps offset carbon energy costs, which the company can include in its annual shareholder report. It also qualifies the company for green energy tax deductions, based on the amount of power generated.

In this situation, a smart workplace solution (the shift to green energy) results in multiple benefits for the company, shareholders, and the environment. They’re justifiable and quantifiable by the smart systems that power them.

Smart systems pave the way for smart solutions

Smart workplace solutions bridge the gap between technologies and outcomes. Companies need to find ways to use the data generated by smart workplace tech to improve processes and create better outcomes. This could be as simple as using motion sensors to show room occupancy. Or, it might be as complex as observing GIS data to understand the true cost per square foot of a workplace—and if it’s justified.

There’s a whole world of smart building tech out there, but it’s useless unless applied correctly. Facility managers need to focus on solutions-driven investments as they enhance the workplace. Results beget more confidence about smart buildings, which leads to further investments and future innovation.

Keep reading: The Top Challenges for Creating Smart Buildings


Six Workplace Portal Functions That Are Essential in the Era of Flex Work

By Devon Maresco
Marketing Coordinator

Called the “workplace intranet” in a past technological era, the concept of a workplace portal has been around as long as workplace computers. Today, many companies still host intranet sites and work portals, and for good reason. They’re highly useful means for bringing together employee resources in a single destination.

Like all things that involve workplace tech, the employee portal has evolved with time. Namely, it’s evolved on the heels of better integrations and business clouds, which have given portals much more than simple hyperlink and static text capabilities. The modern capabilities of a work portal demand businesses take a second look at theirs, to make sure it delivers real utility to employees.

What is a work portal?

A work portal is a hosted repository for information and resources that’s accessible only to employees on the business’ network. It features oft-used resources that might include:

  • Payroll information and time-off request forms
  • Access to the company directory or site map
  • An announcement board for company-wide information
  • Submission forms for IT requests or equipment check-out

Anything employees routinely need access to is best put in a portal. It’s something employees can get familiar with as soon as they start with the company and something they’ll likely interact with every day in some capacity.

Now, as facilities become more complex and flex work entrenches itself as a mode of operation, companies have found new utility from their work portals. Here’s a look at six portal functions that can and should become standard in companies with evolving workplaces.

1. Support ticketing and requests

The more sophisticated workplaces become, the quicker maintenance and repairs need to occur. For example, if the motion sensor for the lights in the lobby stops working, visitors could find themselves greeted by darkness. Getting problems like these fixed needs to be as easy as submitting an urgent ticket to maintenance through the work portal.

Non-urgent requests should be just as simple. Need to take out an AV cart? Want to request an extra recycling bin for your department? The work portal is the place to make these requests a one-minute, no hassle task.

2. Space reservation and seat booking

For companies that explore hoteling and other reservation-based seating arrangements, the work portal is an ideal place to encourage scheduling. While an ideal reservation system will have multiple methods of seat booking (Slack, email, dashboard, etc.), the employee portal should be the most accessible and robust. Employees already in the habit of checking the portal daily will quickly attune themselves to desk booking through this channel. It’s a great way to get employees on board with a reservation system.

3. Real-time updates and announcements

In the era of COVID-19 (and beyond), company-wide announcements are important. Employees deserve to be kept apprised of everything from scheduling changes to new company policies. While memos and email announcements are still standard, scrolling them in a portal or posting them on a company bulletin board is still a great reminder. Moreover, executives can control who sees what message by targeting different departments via their login credentials. With an employee portal, vital announcements are front-and-center every day.

4. Employee directory access

The employee directory has become a critical tool with the rise of remote work and flex work. Without static desks or schedules, employees may have difficulty finding each other at any given time. And while the company directory has long been a part of many employee portals, new integrations have made it more robust and useful.

Companies can tie directory information to wayfinding and the desk booking system, to show employees where someone is at any given time and how to get there. They can also tie in apps like Slack or Calendly, so that clicking on a person gives you their messaging information or access to their calendar. There are limitless integrations, amounting to infinite possibilities for how useful an in-portal employee directory can be.

5. Wayfinding features and integrations

Like the employee directory, a company’s wayfinding system is highly useful as part of the employee portal. As employees use more of the workplace, they need to feel comfortable navigating it. Access to wayfinding tools through a portal they’re already used to using can make them more amiable to using the workplace in new and effective ways. And, as mentioned, wayfinding features are a great tie-in with a newer, more robust employee directory.

6. Facility information

Simple additions to the workplace portal can be some of the best—especially when they concern facilities. Companies are wise to build out a section for facility information that includes information such as cleaning schedules, a common contacts list, asset locations, and anything else important or specific to the workplace. When employees have questions, this should be the first place they look—and the last place they need to look.

The beauty of a work portal is that it’s a single, simple point of action for employees—one that empowers them to interact with the workplace in a meaningful way. With the correct integrations and a little organization, a workplace portal can become something employees use every day, to great benefit.

Keep reading: What is Employee Experience?


Five Reasons to Use an Employee and Space Locator

By Devon Maresco
Marketing Coordinator

The workplace isn’t a static environment—at least, it shouldn’t be in this age of dynamic work. With the agility we see in workplaces today, the need for an employee and space locator quickly becomes evident. Workplace managers need to know where their people are, employees need the ability to locate desks, and facility managers need the data that comes with these interactions.

For small and growing companies, the need for an employee and space locator can seem trivial. That is, until they realize this system is the backbone for everything from wayfinding to hotel desk management. It’s a platform that allows you to be as agile as your employees need you to be. The benefits touch every aspect of business, no matter how big or small the company.

Here’s a look at five reasons to take a second look at investing in an employee and space locator.

1. Saved time for employees

Employee and space locator software offers the best of two important tools: wayfinding and employee directory. More important, it brings them together in a broader context that creates exemplary time savings for employees.

Bailey needs to chat with Mara and Thom. Through the office’s employee and space locator app, Bailey can quickly see where the other two are and choose a nearby conference room that’s the right size and available at a time that works for all three of them. The entire process takes a few minutes, instead of countless minutes spent searching.

This concept of saved time becomes even more important in flex work environments. Maybe Thom changes seats frequently? What if the nearest conference room isn’t available? Alternative options become instant possibilities.

2. Better space management

On the facility management side, employee and space locators generate constant data bout worker and workplace habits. Information expounds from these platforms, and managers can channel it into better decision making when it comes to space management and governance.

If the third-floor conference room goes unused 73% of the time each month, it’s a good bet that space is better off repurposed. Likewise, employee location data might tell you that your employees prefer a hoteling arrangement, promoting an office-wide shift to this philosophy.

3. Govern facilities better

An employee locator unlocks broader governance capabilities for managers. It can help take facilities to a new level of usefulness and accessibility by creating new opportunities for space utilization. Someone who might’ve never used a hot desk can use one with ease—and coworkers can still find them with ease. Meanwhile, spaces without an identity can be governed as-needed by those who lack space.

There’s also a level of access control and management. Employee locators can track the access habits of employees to show where controls might be useful in dictating the workplace. If executives are all on the fifth floor, it becomes easy to restrict access credentials to that area, to add security without disrupting workflows. It amounts to better space governance.

4. Institute seamless hoteling

As evidenced by the other benefits on this list, employee and space location software is the lynchpin for instituting an effective hoteling strategy in any office. With employees always on the move and workspaces constantly changing hands, there needs to be a system for identifying open/reserved spaces and finding employees wherever they may be.

Hoteling is all about pairing open space with employee demand. To gauge both takes software that can process these demands. Employees interact with location software to find a space and, through the act of reserving it, alert the system to their location at a given time. The result is more than a free-flowing, unencumbered workplace—it’s the constant generation of data about workplace utilization.

5. Health and safety considerations

In a post-coronavirus world, health and safety are top-of-mind in any workplace. Wayfinding software and space reservations systems are on the front lines of sophisticated track and trace systems. With a full record of space occupation and employees’ proximity to one another, contact tracing becomes much easier—and more effective.

There are also opportunities to execute better space sanitization and sterilization. Employee and space location data is the basis for cleaning schedules, sanitization buffers, maintenance windows, and more. For many companies, health and wellness compliance hinges on knowing where employees are (and have been), and which spaces they’ve interacted with.

Connect employees with the spaces they need

Every person within a workplace has a relationship to the different spaces it offers. An employee and space locator ties them together in meaningful ways. Employees can find the spaces best-suited to them. Facility managers can capture trends and make workplace adjustments. Management can tend their flock of productive personnel.

There’s value in connecting people and spaces, from top to bottom. The simplest way to do it is through a robust wayfinding system with integrated employee and space locators.

Keep reading: The Five Major Pillars of a Wayfinding Program


Office Hoteling App: Five Must-Have Features

Office Hoteling App: Five Must-Have Features

By Dave Clifton
Content Strategy Specialist

As companies scramble to maintain workplace operations during an ongoing pandemic, an office hoteling app has become a standout solution for a safe return to work. Workplaces have begun the transition to hoteling for many reasons—seating oversight, contact tracing, space utilization, and better individual workspace management, to name a few. An office hoteling app is an employee’s gateway to navigating this new floor plan and the lynchpin for successfully returning to the workplace after COVID-19.

Wayfinding is a two-way street. Employers need to manage the hoteling system to oversee variables like seat availability and workspace accessibility. On the flip side, employees need to engage that system and interact with it to successfully reintegrate during a return to work. Here’s a look at some of the most important features an office hoteling app needs to facilitate the latter’s role in successful hoteling.

1. Real-time desk visibility

Employees need a live look at the workspaces available to them. Hoteling falls apart without real-time visibility. What happens when two people book the same desk, or a desk appears filled but is actually vacant? Hoteling has the power to be a flexible solution that empowers employees during the return to work, but only if they trust the app to provide real-time insights.

Look for cloud-based hoteling app solutions with low latency integrations to deliver real-time desk visibility. Systems should also be smart enough to handle double-bookings by recommending adjacent spaces or canceling a booking the moment another is confirmed.

2, Workspace identifying information

The more information a hoteling app provides to employees, the more value they’ll derive from it. Workspace identifying information needs to transcend where the desk is or the physical square footage it occupied. Some useful information to attach to hotel desks includes:

  • Workspace size and location
  • Type of furnishings (desk, chair)
  • Outlets or USB hookups present
  • Hookups present (ethernet, A/V)
  • Special considerations

The purpose of this information is to answer as many questions about the workspace as possible upfront. Identifying information also sets expectations. If the profile says there’s an adjustable standing desk, it might sway an employee to choose that space over another. Just make sure expectations fit reality! Booking a workspace with a standing desk and arriving at one with a traditional sitting desk won’t bode well with employees.

3. Integrated wayfinding

Companies with multiple floors or large campuses need a wayfinding component built into employee hoteling apps. While descriptions of the desk location are helpful (third floor, northeast corner by the copy closet), they leave room for interpretation errors. Wayfinding takes human error out of the process.

Wayfinding is also invaluable if there are dozens (or hundreds) of similar desks. “Third floor cubicle cluster” isn’t an effective description and will disrupt the hoteling system as employees seat themselves in the wrong place. Navigation should take them straight to their seat and offer confirmation that they’re in the right place.

4. Directory integration

The team dynamic is still important in the workplace—even with social distancing measures present. It behooves employees to sit in proximity to the people they work with, even if they need to keep some distance in-between. Getting up to occupy a conference room under new social standards is a lot easier when everyone is a few desks apart, rather than a few floors.

Directory integration is also useful for tracking down individuals within the hoteling framework. Derry might not sit in the same place today as he did two days ago, or last week. If Michaela needs to bring something to him, she needs to be able to find him. Tying hotel desk reservations to the employee directory makes Derry’s location accessible—and, if there’s wayfinding integration, it’s even easier for Michaela to track him down. Less time spent searching is less time wasted.

5. Cross-platform functionality

App functionality needs to be consistent across all devices. If it’s not, employee experience will be inconsistent, which means the hoteling experience will vary from person to person. Whether they own an Apple iPhone, Samsung Galaxy, Google Pixel, or any of a dozen other popular smartphones, your office hoteling app should deliver a uniform experience for everything from desk booking to directory lookups and wayfinding.

Deliver a consistent hoteling experience

Hoteling has emerged as a way to help every employee safely return to the office post COVID-19. To facilitate this return smoothly and safely, each employee needs to have a positive, seamless experience with the office hoteling app. Make it easy for them to see available workspaces, book them, navigate to them, and find their coworkers, and they’ll be more confident in their return to work.

Read Next: Streamline Desk Booking with Office Hoteling Software