Why Wayfinding Apps Are a Key Part of Workforce Enablement

“Workforce enablement” is a broad term that can encompass many different strategies, policies and tools. At the core, it’s all about making it as easy and frictionless as possible for employees to do their jobs.

Away from work, we use our phones and digital assistants like Alexa to accomplish a huge number of tasks. We use apps to arrange for groceries to be delivered with just a few taps, get a weather report and play our favorite music with simple commands, or adjust the lighting or temperature with a swipe.

At work, we want things to be just as seamless. Companies that want engaged, productive employees are making workforce enablement a priority. Wayfinding apps, along with other tools and systems, go a long way when enabling your workforce.

Workforce Enablement Starts with Leadership

Many examples of workforce enablement in action involve technology: software, tools, and apps that make it simpler to accomplish tasks. This can include intuitive chat/video conferencing software to help remote teams collaborate, HR apps that let you update your employee info or request time off, reservation systems to quickly book conference rooms, and more.

But, for that technology to work, it needs to be backed up by an organizational philosophy dedicated to supporting workers.

How does your office layout and design empower your workforce? Find out here.

Your leadership team needs to be committed to providing employees with the right tools, assets, and educational opportunities that help them do their jobs with as little frustration as possible. An example of a workforce enablement tool that’s gaining popularity is the wayfinding app.

Wayfinding Apps Boost Efficiency

Wayfinding apps are meant to help workers navigate their workspace—either helping them find colleagues, specific desks or rooms, or other resources in the building. Depending on the app, they may be used on a computer, a mobile device or a kiosk.

The goal of wayfinding apps is to save time when people are looking for someone to collaborate with or a place to work. Searching the office for your colleague’s desk, a meeting room, another workstation or the cafeteria might be a great way to satisfy your activity tracker, but it’s not an efficient way to work together. With an app that indicates your colleague has checked into workstation 8 on the 5th floor, you can find her quickly and discuss your upcoming presentation, saving time and energy.

Learn more: 10 ways to optimize your workplace.

What about the complaint shared by just about every office worker: “I can’t find an open conference room”? Wayfinding apps, on either a desktop or mobile device, can show you which conference rooms are available at any given time. Locator, Serraview’s wayfinding app even allows you to search by certain criteria, like the room size or equipment available. There’s also a “just in time booking” function that lets you immediately reserve a room when you need one.

Wayfinding apps are especially helpful when an employee works in hybrid or activity-based work (ABW) offices or is visiting another office location. When an employee arrives each day, she can use the wayfinding app on her phone to locate an open workstation. She can select one based on her tasks for the day: near the conference room she’ll be using for an afternoon meeting, in a designated quiet zone so she can focus on putting together a report or slide deck without distractions, or next to the colleague she’s collaborating with. Or she can easily search for one of the few standing desks located throughout the office to see if it is available.

Wayfinding apps are an important way to enable your workforce, making their workdays easier and less frustrating. In 2017, an Office Worker Survey found that four in 10 workers spend up to an hour a week looking for workstations, conference rooms, or colleagues. We’ll let you do the math: 40% of your workforce spending an hour a week looking for something translates to how many hours lost? Wayfinding apps can reduce those hours to mere minutes—and you’re saving the less-easily-calculated costs of frustrated, harried workers.

Serraview’s wayfinding app comes in two versions: Locator Pro and Elite. Request a demo today and find out which one will best serve your needs.


How CRE Teams Can Measure & Facilitate Employee Interaction

In recent years, corporations like IBM and Yahoo have reversed flexible or virtual work policies and started mandating that employees come into the office on a regular basis (if not all the time). They made these moves because leadership recognized the importance and value of face-to-face employee interactions, especially unplanned, spontaneous conversations (“water cooler moments”).

How does the physical workplace influence corporate culture?

The thinking goes that, if everyone is in the office all (or at least most) of the time, someone in the finance department could randomly bump into a marketer in the cafeteria, strike up a conversation, and together, they would come up with a brilliant idea for a new project or business initiative.

Sounds great, right? But measuring “interaction” and “collaboration” to prove a need for new workplace policies or initiatives can feel like herding cats. Luckily, with new tools and technology, we’re getting closer. Here are a couple questions you can ask about employee interaction in your workplace:

How Are Employees Interacting with the Space and Each Other?

With usage sensors throughout your building, you can capture real-time, valid data on how different spaces are used. You can find out how and where people are congregating—in conference rooms, collaborative spaces, soft seating, cafes, etc.

Before making any changes, you need baseline data. Look at metrics like conference room bookings vs. actual use and which teams schedule meetings together most often. Or, if you have a flexible or agile workspace, you can identify which teams choose to co-locate together frequently.

Are Spaces Under- or Over-Used?

With space utilization data, you can evaluate all the spaces in your workplace that are meant for meetings or collaborative work: conference rooms, soft seating, cafes, break rooms, etc. How can you create more of the most popular spaces to further facilitate employee interaction? Maybe there are unused nooks that can be turned into soft seating.

For the under-used areas, you might examine why employees aren’t using them. The answer could be something simple: for example, the never-booked conference room has a broken projector and the service request slipped through the cracks. You might also find that one floor has three large conference rooms and would be better served with four smaller rooms and a collaborative space instead.

What metrics demonstrate the importance of space planning?

How and What to Measure

Companies generally want to facilitate employee interaction because they believe it will lead to better productivity and performance. It’s challenging to measure that in knowledge workers, but there are a number of metrics and data points you can look at, such as:

  • Number or percentage of projects that come in on time and under budget
  • Customer ratings
  • Reviews on sites like GlassDoor
  • Absenteeism
  • Turnover
  • Job candidate referrals from employees
  • Safety incidents or workers’ comp claims

Once you determine the metrics that make the most sense for your company, establish baselines before any initiative designed to facilitate interaction (along with, of course, baseline utilization data).

After launching your employee interaction initiative, look at the utilization data and productivity metrics together. First, are you seeing evidence of increased interaction and collaboration? Then in one sense, the initiative is successful. But are you also seeing improvement in the productivity metrics? For example, is there a team that consistently completes projects ahead of schedule that regularly uses certain collaborative spaces or soft seating? Keep in mind it may take time for these trends to develop.

As the technology that tracks space utilization and employee interaction advances further, you’ll be able to get even more data and actionable insights.

How can you turn your workplace into a strong business asset? Learn tips on how innovative companies are promoting and encouraging employee interaction and collaboration.