“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.
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.
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.