Well-planned wayfinding gives employees direction and injects some personality into the office.

We’ve all been there. A colleague asks you to join a meeting last minute, you agree, they tell you what room they’re in… and then you spend 10 minutes aimlessly wandering the halls until they finally poke their head out a door you’ve walked past three times.

This problem is all too common—especially in larger workplaces with fewer private offices and more plentiful meeting rooms. That’s why a well-designed, logically named and clearly marked wayfinding system is quickly becoming a modern office essential.

Layout first

Where are your small, midsize and large meeting rooms going to be in relation to the rest of your office amenities? Consider convenience, then consistency.

For example, you might consider a functionally driven setup, like:

  • Large, client-facing conference rooms are near reception
  • Midsize, casual huddle rooms are between employee neighborhoods and community areas like cafes or kitchens
  • Small phone rooms are secluded along office walls

And if you occupy multiple floors, placing various room types in the same location on all of them will provide uniformity and consistency that eases the mental wayfinding burden on your employees.

Name second

Logical and meaningful wayfinding systems and conference room names are a lot more memorable than generic ones. If your office is big, cardinal directions can be helpful to get you in the right area, as can something like local landmarks or sports teams.

Once you’ve nailed the naming logic for general areas or sections of your space, make sure the rooms themselves have memorable names as well. Pick a theme that accurately reflects your company’s culture to build camaraderie and brand loyalty internally. Some examples:

  • Netflix named its conference rooms after employees’ favorite movies.
  • Facebook went with 1980’s television show names in one of its buildings.
  • CBS Sports uses sports league names (bonus: their printers are named after sports trophies and awards).
  • Twitter’s meeting rooms are named after species of birds.

Directions third

If you’ve ever been to an airport, you know how important effective wayfinding signage is. When you’re trying to get through an unfamiliar terminal, in a random city, and you don’t know where ground transportation is, you’ve got a problem.

Consistent signage helps employees navigate to their destination easily—particularly as hot desking and hoteling (basically, unassigned seats/spaces suited for mobile workforces) continue to rise and employees don’t have a consistent home base.

Putting simple, consistent and easy-to-understand directional signs and visual icons near conference rooms, blocks of workstations, print rooms, cafes, elevators and bathrooms makes a big difference. When there’s uniformity with your signage placement, someone who’s lost can quickly reorient themselves.

TL; DR: Office wayfinding systems eliminate the needless wandering that frustrates your people and crushes productivity. Who doesn’t want that?



About the author

About the author

Michael Cronin, Senior Associate, Digital Content

Partnering with JLL visionaries to deliver premium content for use across various business lines.

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