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Workplace
digital signage
should be part
of your in-office
safety measures

Author: Shane Schick

The global digital signage market is predicted to grow 7.7% annually from a market size of $21.9 billion in 2021 to $38.63 billion by 2030. This growth is driven by the demand for digital methods to effectively engage target audiences.

While retail is seen as the dominant industry in this market, digital signage use cases extend into many other industries, including hospitality, entertainment, transportation and even corporate. Growth in the corporate use case, also known as workplace digital signage, comes at a perfect time for companies navigating the challenges of employees returning or continuing to work in communal spaces in a world changed by the pandemic.

This is because digital signage employee communications offer employers the opportunity to address employee views about returning to in-person work and communicate important health and safety measures. 

Workplace digital signage and the new office

In its survey on worker preferences for hybrid work, PwC noted employee views varied:

  • All remote: 19%
  • Almost entirely remote (four days remote): 8%
  • Mostly remote (three days remote): 17%
  • Mostly in office (two days remote): 12%
  • Almost entirely in the office (one day remote or less): 22%
  • N/A - The nature of my work does not allow me to work remotely: 21%

Two factors stand out as why some employees see benefits in returning to in-person work. Pew Research found 60% of those working from home in February 2022 felt less connected with their colleagues, while of those who decided to return to the office, 71% cited increased productivity as a reason. PwC found that senior management has expressed similar views as well: 87% of U.S. executives are not willing to permanently say goodbye to the office, with collaboration and relationships important factors.

For those employees less confident about returning to the office, two of their leading concerns are health and safety-related:

  • Exposure to COVID-19 and variants (46%)
  • Interaction with unvaccinated co-workers (30%)
  • Costs and time of commuting (30%)
  • Limited flexibility to do personal activities (29%)

For leaders whose staff are returning to the office (or who never left) in at least some capacity, the challenge is to maximize employee time spent building relationships and working productively while minimizing unnecessary contact. This challenge will have its greatest impact in communal workspaces, which stand to benefit the most from digital signage employee communications.

Evolving use cases for communal workspaces

Many pre-pandemic views have evolved. In terms of providing a safe working environment, perceptions have changed around what's considered crowding and how much space is needed in high-traffic areas. Along similar lines, whereas before the pandemic someone lost or wandering around looking for a place to collaborate was only an issue of time efficiency, now, there could be health and safety implications as well.

Workplace digital signage allows organizations to offer specific, targeted messaging and content around communal workspaces. Some key moments in the employee journey where it could play a role include:

Checking in

Paper log sheets have been an office staple for years, but workplace digital signage offers an alternative touchless experience. Employees can be greeted by a screen with the employer's branding and scan a QR code. Using such contactless technology to enter the workplace was among the leading requests from employees when asked what would make their lives easier at the office.

Companies can also communicate with those who check in through SMS notifications or email.

Wayfinding

The increasing emphasis on collaboration could propel employees who once stayed close to their cubicles to meet with co-workers in other departments they've never visited before. Digital signage employee communications can streamline this process with updated floor plans, interactive maps and customized announcements to prepare them for anything different about the area they're visiting. Security guards and other staff no longer need to be close by to offer directions. Navigating the workplace with a virtual map was requested by 13% of employees in a recent Envoy survey.

Conference room reservations

Anyone who's worked in an office has probably had to apologize for "stealing" a meeting room that a co-worker had already booked. The problem is that bookings weren't always visible to the entire team.

With workplace digital signage, employees can book a room without even leaving their desks. If something changes, the sign can be updated to let others know it's free. This helps organizations make better use of their meeting spaces and helps identify when spaces need to be sanitized. Almost a quarter of workers said being able to book conference rooms through mobile would make things easier at the office.

Keys to effective digital signage employee communications

Enhancing safety through workplace digital signage involves more than simply setting up hardware and software. Businesses also need to consider the variety of digital communication they'll need to develop and use over time.

A Digital Signage Today article suggested organizations think carefully about what information will provide the most value. This not only includes content about how employees can find their way around but also real-time data about air quality or capacity limits that could reduce stress and anxiety.

Unlike traditional signage that remains static, companies should also consider when digital signage should be updated with new information and how often. The nature of this content can go beyond text and include rich imagery, and even video, to make their communication crystal clear.

Finally, don't look at workplace digital signage in isolation, but explore how it could complement or augment a more holistic approach to employee health and safety using the Internet of Things.

Learn more about the importance of secure digital workplace solutions.

The author of this content is a paid contributor for Verizon.