As your organization grows, your office space has to expand to keep up. And the larger the campus, the more complex it becomes to find your way around. This can cause employees to lose time simply figuring out where they need to be, and it can create anxiety about getting lost. And for guests, struggling to navigate your campus can leave a sour taste for what would have been an otherwise pleasant visit.
Additionally, hybrid workplaces and activity-based working have made corporate wayfinding all the more important, as employees will frequently need to use rooms and spaces they’ve never been to before.
By following these principles, you can make it easy for employees and guests alike to navigate your space.
Space planning is foundational to all other elements of wayfinding. Before you start putting up signage, you need to be sure that your space is organized optimally.
Group your office into clearly defined zones based on the functions they serve or features they share. In a traditional workplace, you might group together similar departments that frequently work together. Or if your space employs activity-based working, you might create zones based around different types of work.
Give each zone a unique name to use for identification and navigation, and decorate each zone with a distinct visual character. Make use of light, color, and style to help people differentiate between them. It’s easy to get lost in a sea of monotonous workstations. By giving each zone a particular identity, you make it easier for visitors and employees to orient themselves.
Ensure zones are organized logically, with clear lines of sight between them, and incorporate reference points that help set spaces apart—a piece of art, an object of historical significance, unique furniture or equipment, or even just special signage.
Any time a path splits off into two or more possible directions, it should have signs indicating which way to turn. When you force people to make office wayfinding decisions without signage, you’re always risking that they’ll go the wrong way—and it could be a while before they realize their mistake and retrace their steps.
Include the necessary information and nothing more. If multiple routes exist to reach the same location, you should only point toward one optimized route from any given location. Offering additional possible routes just adds confusion.
Size and format signs to be easily readable. Avoid fonts that are overly decorative. Although not a hard-and-fast rule, sans-serif fonts are often considered preferable to serif fonts for signage. If you’ve themed your zones by colors, consider coordinating your signs to match. Keep your identification and directional signs visually distinct from statutory signs (required signs for things like emergency exits). Ensure that all signs are well lit.
How and where you place signs can affect how intuitive your wayfinding is, too. You want them to be easily visible, but not in the way. Common types of mounting include suspended, wall-mounted, and self-supporting (such as on a post). Avoid placing signs too high. Generally speaking, the closer to one’s line of sight, the better, although suspended signs will need to be high enough for people to avoid bumping into them.
Directional signage can only do so much. Signs are great for pointing people toward major locations, but if you included a directional sign for every possible location at every decision point, they would quickly become too cluttered. And directional signs do little to orient people in relation to your overall space. They don’t usually communicate how far you are from your destination, and can only show you the next step. To address these issues, you may need to add wayfinding stations.
Wayfinding stations come in many different forms, but they should at least include a floor plan that indicates your current location, plus an index of spaces you can navigate to.
A wayfinding station can be as simple as a large and prominent sign, or a table with paper maps. More modern wayfinding stations are interactive kiosks that allow users to search for a location and highlight the suggested route, or a QR code that enables this functionality in a web browser. Depending on your business, your office wayfinding stations might even be staffed by employees who can answer questions and point visitors in the right direction.
When you’re driving somewhere you’ve never been before, it would probably be uncomfortable if you had to rely on physical signs to get there. What if you miss the exit? What if there’s more than one exit for the same place? What if your destination doesn’t appear on the signs? It’s a lot more comfortable to whip out Google Maps, Waze, or Apple Maps and put the directions in your hands.
With Tango Reserve by AgilQuest, you can bring this same handheld navigation to your campus. Employees and guests can use the same mobile app they make reservations with to see exactly where they are and where they’re going on campus. They’ll get accurate directions to their destination every step of the way.
This can supplement your wayfinding strategy to create a more interactive experience and give people the confidence they need. Consider calling attention to the app from wayfinding stations, such as by providing a QR code that takes users directly to the app download.
With Tango Reserve by AgilQuest, you’ll get an all-in-one solution for your office booking needs, complete with automatic wayfinding. Using the desktop platform, mobile app, or a kiosk, employees can find open workstations, reserve spaces, coordinate with coworkers, and navigate their way around the office.