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How Can an Interactive Indoor Map Improve Your Organization’s Bottom Line?

/images/blog/smart-office-modern-experience.jpeg July 2021

7 min

Employee navigating the office

No one wants their employees to waste time wandering around their workplace looking for a person or location. Whether you’re new to the office, visiting another department on a large campus, or simply hunting for a meeting room, a good wayfinding system can help businesses reduce lost productivity time. However, many companies are surprised to discover the additional benefits that a wayfinding solution can deliver to their organization. Read on to find out how it can have an impact on your company’s bottom line.

Improvement 1: Wayfinding can reduce time wasted

  • Employees can quickly find the nearest available meeting room

Did you know that the average employee wastes up to 30 minutes per day looking for a space to meet? That’s 3.5 hours each week. Moreover, on average meeting rooms around the world go unused for an incredible 70% of the workday.

Interactive indoor maps allow employees to not only identify the closest meeting room, but also to filter their results by and meet their size constraints. This function is as useful to visiting employees as it is to ones who work in the same building every day. Wayfinding in the workplace can be integrated with companies’ meeting management solutions like Office 365 & Google Calendar or a system of sensors and beacons, that will display the availability of meeting rooms in real time and, thanks to the connection between the systems, allow employees to book them automatically.

For organizations with larger facilities or campuses, interactive touchscreen kiosks or mobile-friendly maps can be deployed to help employees and visitors find their way around complex offices or floor plans and arrive at meetings on time.

  • Easy to find and book a desk in the workplace

As workspace becomes more agile, employees are moving away from have assigned desks. When room reservation software is connected to an indoor map and wayfinding solution, employees of an office building can book their desk on the internal portal or office app, or even check an interactive kiosk at the front desk that displays available seating or meeting rooms, for example. As room statuses are kept up to date, employees no longer have to worry about double-booking and other conference room scheduling problems that negatively affect productivity. If your technology is cloud-based, employees can reserve spaces before they even arrive at the office. They can see currently empty seats highlighted on a floor plan, which will automatically update to show the seat as occupied, so no one else will attempt to sit in the same spot.

Employee satisfaction improves in line with reductions in concerns about wasted time finding a space to work, worries about losing their preferred workstation, or the challenge of finding a place to meet colleagues every day. Employers are more satisfied as well, as they know their employees can be productive rather than wandering the halls of the building.

  • Avoid staff interruption

As we all know, interruptions at work affect our productivity, prevent us from concentrating, and can affect our motivation. Edward G. Brown, author of The Time Bandit Solution: Recovering Stolen Time You Never Knew You Had, says that work interruptions can add up to a significant cost, explaining: “Further research by a workplace training company found that when employees are asked to formally calculate the time they lose to interruptions, they routinely come up with 40%–60% of their most productive time; that’s about 3–5 hours every day.

Wayfinding can help reduce the time lost to unnecessary interruptions. Facilities, visitors and guests can navigate independently inside the office by using an interactive kiosk located at the reception desk or a mobile app, which can show them immediately where to go to find their desk or meeting room, and thus without interrupting the employees. By reducing the challenges associated with finding an available meeting room, employees are empowered to arrange meetings themselves, rather than leaving this task to a busy assistant or administrator. Fewer unnecessary questions and requests free up time for more valuable work. 

Improvement 2: Reduce building running costs: footprint, real estate, and energy

Indoor maps have uses beyond traditional wayfinding. Organizations are discovering they are an asset to enable smart buildings, using them to identify areas where energy is being lost and to pinpoint unused space so they can right-size their office space based on occupancy.

According to a study by Emergence, 80% of the global workforce is now desk less. Looking into the future, current trends and employee preferences indicate flexible work is here to stay. This shift will surely impact how workers are using the office, providing opportunity to reduce real estate costs. Indoor maps can help employers spot ways to reduce without impacting employee satisfaction.

Vacant working areas are a commonly wasted resource that can add up to a significant scale, resulting in unnecessary resource consumption and cost overruns. Before making reduction decisions, it is key to analyze the percentage of occupancy and occupancy patterns. One option is to use indoor maps as a foundation, combining them with occupancy sensors that are installed in your office buildings. This provides a visual interface for keeping track of the use of different rooms or desks.

The information becomes part of the explanation for employees. Instead of presenting decisions as little more than cost-reduction exercises, employers can share data showing that they are reacting to employee preferences. This makes employees feel they are part of the process rather than subject to decisions by higher ups.

Another way for smart offices to optimize resource use is to implement an innovative waste management system. Sensors installed in garbage drop-off areas detect fill levels, and waste departments receive notification when waste levels are approaching capacity. This is a real time saver for building maintenance personnel.

Building costs can be further reduced by employing the same concept in other facility cost areas. For example, thanks to IoT sensors, it is possible to display information on indoor maps, such as rooms where heaters or air conditioners are in operation while the space is unoccupied. Building owners can also identify spaces where the lights are constantly on while nobody is using the space.

Improvement 3: Employee experience: high employer attractiveness and lower attrition

Potential and current employees are always on the lookout for evidence that their employer values them. Investing in tools specifically designed to meet their needs is a great way to do this. Wayfinding helps create a positive experience for employees and visitors alike from the moment they arrive.

Having an interactive map integrated into your employee app and office software shows that you are a modern company that evolves with its time. Candidates gain a positive impression of your company when they see that the environment is well-organized with user-friendly wayfinding. That can make it easier to recruit top talent.

The departure of an employee is always a delicate matter because it involves additional costs: recruitment, training, and time to learn the job in order to be efficient, for example. Being able to easily find a colleague’s office, not having to waste time by using a map to get to a meeting or the restaurant, or being able to book an office remotely can play into the retention and attrition rate of junior employees.

For a fast-growing company that regularly adds new employees or has a flexible work model, an interactive map is a necessity. Take the example of a company that has recently undergone a merger or acquisition, and suddenly finds itself under one roof with unfamiliar faces. An application with an orientation solution linked to an employee directory can help everyone connect the dots between these new names and faces and easily locate each person’s location.

Now more than ever organizations are looking for ways to reduce unnecessary costs. Beyond being a smart business decision, it can also offer a way to avoid other, more unpalatable choices. On the surface, wayfinding and interactive mapping platforms can seem like an expense, rather than a benefit. However, with a deeper exploration of the various use cases they provide, this perspective can change. Interactive mapping platforms can reduce unproductive time, identify opportunities to cut real estate costs, and improve employee acquisition and retention rates. When looked at as a group, these cost reductions can add up to a significant savings. This is why more and more organizations are choosing to invest in wayfinding and interactive maps.

Margot SOULIER's photo

AUTHOR

Margot SOULIER, CMO & Partnerships Manager

With over 10 years experience in B2B marketing and communication, and with a passion for new technologies, Margot manages the Marketing team at Mapwize. The combination of her experience and her focus on customer needs enables her to have a better strategic vision. Digital marketing, social media, editorial content and brand value are at the heart of her concerns and hold no more secrets for her.