Corporate Culture & Productivity

5 Ways Office Design and Wayfinding Impact Productivity

David Spence
July 21st, 2016
office design wayfinding facilities management

What is wayfinding? Wayfinding is a set of processes and tools that individuals use to navigate through a space. Tech solutions like directories and maps or graphical components like signage make it simpler for people to find their way. Wayfinding is also embedded in the choices made about an office layout, including everything from viewing angles to spacing in hallways can affect everyone who visits your workplace.

Everything from viewing angles to spacing in hallways can affect everyone who visits your workplace;

the idea is to ensure smooth and effortless guidance so that no one is confused.

While wayfinding is often taken for granted, it plays a major part in your team’s productivity.

1. Lower decision fatigue

less design fatigue office design wayfinding

Making decisions takes a lot of energy—and decision fatigue sets in when a person has made too many choices throughout the day. This is why Mark Zuckerberg famously wears the same style of T-shirt to work all the time.

A well-designed office makes decision-making easier by providing clear lines of sight and information about where a person is going.

For especially larger offices, this helps reduce the number of navigation choices your team has to think about, which allows them to save their energy for more productive tasks.


2. Better communication

wayfinding office design facilities management communication interactionAn MIT study has shown that face-to-face socialization and a high frequency of communication among team members plays a larger role in productivity than individual skill, personality and intelligence combined. Offices that design their space to facilitate easier opportunities to interact will create higher performing teams and ultimately better business results.

3. Efficient time use

office design wayfinding facilities management planning pathway color codingWell-planned offices are like well-planned cities. Spaces that allow traffic to move fluidly will save time for everyone and avoid issues like bumps or injuries. Effective wayfinding implements identifiable markers like clear visual maps or color-coded pathways to save your team precious time that would’ve been spent figuring how to get from point A to point B.

4. Smoother on-boarding

employees on-boarding office design wayfinding

New employees have a lot on their plate—they have to learn about their role, the office culture and all the processes that go along with it. Simple workplace navigation removes a layer of complexity and goes a long way in making your new team members feel like they’re part of a culture of inclusiveness.

5. Fewer issues for clients and guests

office design signs wayfinding good client relationshipAt some point, employees at your workplace will be able to navigate your space without the help of effective signage and visual cues. The same can’t be said for all your clients. If they have trouble traveling through your office, they’ll feel frustrated and stressed.

Proper wayfinding can help you eliminate possible negative experiences for your clients—a step in the right direction in building your work relationship with them.

Clear information and understandable navigation are at the heart of good wayfinding practices. Facility managers who prioritize these elements in their office design will create a more efficient, productive environment.

Photos: Monkey Business Images, ShutterstockPexelsPexels, FotoliaTung Lam