As large organizations shift to modern, agile workplaces featuring non-assigned seating, there are many changes for employees. One of the biggest changes is giving up their desks and figuring out where they will work each day. With improving employee experience being one of the goals of the workplace transformation, the last thing you want is people having to walk the halls to find a desk every day. That’s the obvious reason why companies implementing agile working need a digital wayfinding system.
However, today’s digital wayfinding tools can do much more than help mobile workers find a seat. They can help to enable collaboration, boost productivity, optimize workspace, and serve as a secret weapon for the CRE team to monitor and improve employee experience.
Employee experience is critical in the hybrid workplace
Implementing agile workplaces is on the radar for most large organizations, but a full transformation can take years to accomplish. Many companies are making the move in stages, with some areas of the business going agile while others stay in traditional spaces (sometimes even within the same building). These so-called “hybrid” workplaces serve to reduce property costs while allowing the organization make a gradual cultural shift to a more modern way of working.
However, hybrid workplaces do present unique challenges for the corporate real estate team and the employees alike. For one thing, the new space may be visible and accessible even to those who are still assigned to the traditional space. That’s an opportunity to showcase the benefits and smooth the way for future projects. It also means there’s a lot riding on the outcome.
Here’s a resource that’s packed with tips to guide CRE teams in implementing modern workspaces that produce results: Best Practices for the Modern Workplace
Read on to learn some surprising ways that a digital wayfinding tool improves outcomes both for workers and for the CRE team.
3 ways digital wayfinding tools improve employee experience in a hybrid space
Digital wayfinding saves time and frustration for workers, boosting their productivity and making it easier for them to collaborate.
1. Finding a spot to work
Moving to an agile workspace can be challenging for workers who are accustomed to having an assigned desk. Here’s a common scenario when people have to use typical desk booking system:
- People have to take the time to book a desk every single day. Adding yet another task to already busy people will not help champion the cause of the flexible workspace.
- People forget to book a desk, so they just wander around until they find a seat.
- Typical desk booking systems become inaccurate. Spaces that appear to be reserved are empty, and those that appear free are taken. So people still have to resort to wandering around the building looking for a seat.
This is not the kind of employee experience you had in mind for your modern workplace, is it? Here’s how that experience works with a digital wayfinding tool powered by real-time utilization data:
- When people arrive, they glance at the kiosk in the elevator lobby, which shows currently empty seats highlighted on a floor plan. (Employees can also see this information by opening the digital wayfinding app on their phones or tablets).
- They walk over and sit down. The floor plan automatically updates to show this seat as occupied, so no one else will attempt to sit there.
What could be easier? Not only are employees happier, they’re also not wasting time every day trying to find a space to work.
2. Finding a meeting room
Locating the right meeting space can be frustrating for everyone, especially for a meeting not planned in advance. Just like the desk booking system, room reservation systems have annoying limitations:
- People book rooms for recurring meetings that are discontinued, but they never cancel the reservation. The room shows as booked when no one is using it.
- Large conference rooms are taken by small groups of people, leaving the large groups scrambling to find a space.
- Reservation systems may not provide information about tech equipment available in the room.
As a result, it can be difficult for groups to find an available room. The problem is compounded when they need video conferencing or other tech equipment in the room. Again, they are forced to walk the floors looking for a space to meet.
How does the process work with a digital wayfinding system?
Using a mobile app, locate a room with the needed capacity, equipment and amenities. The heatmap confirms that the room is currently unoccupied. Head on over for an impromptu collaboration session, or reserve the room for later if needed.
3. Finding a person in an agile space
When people no longer have an assigned seat, employees can be challenged to find one another in an agile workspace. That situation can be an impediment to collaboration, the exact opposite of what you’re trying to achieve.
A digital wayfinding system powered by real-time network presence data helps everyone in the hybrid work space to locate one another. Here’s how it works:
- Using the same kiosks or mobile app, search for a person.
- See their current location, and walk over or locate an available desk nearby.
Even people working in the traditional space, or visitors who don’t know their way around the building, can use the digital wayfinding system to find their co-workers in the agile space.
Watch this video to see digital wayfinding in action: How Can Wayfinding Technology Shape Employee Experience?
Digital wayfinding: the benefits for CRE
Accommodating the needs of everyone in a hybrid workplace (with both traditional and agile spaces) can be tricky for CRE. Consider the following scenarios.
Optimizing meeting room space
In most traditional workplaces, conference room availability is not optimized for the needs of the teams using the space. You’ll typically find large rooms being booked for groups of 2 or 3 people, while other groups struggle to find space. In an agile space powered by utilization tracking and digital wayfinding, CRE has the data to optimize the space and improve employee experience at the same time.
For example, utilization data can reveal the optimal sizes for conference rooms, allowing CRE to reconfigure the space to provide more, smaller rooms to accommodate more meetings. That gives employees the freedom to have the impromptu collaborative work sessions that are proven to drive innovation.
When the agile workplace goes viral
When you unveil a new, modern workspace, the news travels fast. As agile workers discover all the benefits of the new space, they will be talking about it to all their co-workers. People still working in neighboring traditional spaces will visit out of curiosity. Some will even decide to use the meeting rooms and even begin working there regularly, even though they may not be assigned to the new area.
That can lead to overcrowding in the new space, and a potential problem for the CRE team. A digital wayfinding system that’s powered by network presence data can tell you how many unauthorized workers are using the agile space. That data can then provide the ammunition to gain approval for expanding the agile space to accommodate all the workers who want to use it, as well as expanding the company’s workplace transformation efforts overall.