Seven Ways Icons On Floorplans Add Value

When it comes to space and occupancy management, an accurate floor plan can do more than just represent the physical space — it can help an organization secure occupants’ safety and prepare for the unexpected.

When a local fire department approached a national Fortune 500 company to provide a life safety and emergency preparedness floor plan, the client, a longtime user of Wisp, Gensler’s Workplace Information Solutions Platform, arrived at a solution fairly quickly. By leveraging the drag and drop icons in Wisp, the client was able to indicate emergency exits, stairwells, fire extinguishers and more on interactive floor plans, which were then printed for the fire department and distributed electronically among staff.

Although we were easily able to arrive at this solution with Wisp, it makes me wonder how often these requests come up and how frequently multiple versions of the same floor plan are being maintained by various groups.

Typically, we find it is the real estate and facilities groups’ responsibility to keep the ever-changing architectural and furniture changes on floor plans up-to-date. However, it is also common for teams, like Risk Management and IT, to have their own version of floor plans to identify and communicate where their equipment is. Wouldn’t it be great if all these groups were using the same floor plan source for their respective needs? It would certainly reduce confusion about which floor plan is correct and eliminate duplication of efforts.

With Wisp, clients benefit from the ability to maintain and update their own electronic routes and wayfinding as needed, while Gensler maintains the accuracy of the architectural and furniture changes.

Whether planning for the unexpected or simplifying everyday tasks, adding icons to a workplace floor plan can increase efficiency, safety and communication with staff. Here are seven ways that adding icons to an interactive floor plan can benefit everyone in an organization:

  1. Indicate Meeting Room Capabilities: Audio/visual icons make it easy for occupants to locate rooms equipped for their needs, from video conferences to charrettes. Icons can indicate anything from projectors, microphones and video cameras to special lighting features, partition walls, white boards and more. Posting a photo of the space on a floor plan allows occupants to view room capabilities without having to leave their desk.
  2. Prepare for the Unexpected: The protocol for disasters — natural or manmade—is each unique. Creating individual plans for all possible circumstances doesn’t just give facility managers and occupants peace of mind—it can also save lives. Use icons to indicate shelters, evacuation routes, safety rooms and sprinkler systems. Providing these plans to the fire department and police officers can speed up resolution if a situation arises.
  3. Publish Emergency Action Plans: Well-developed and communicated emergency action plans can result in fewer employee injuries and can minimize structural damage to a facility during emergencies. Share plans with staff digitally through your Intranet, or print and display them in elevators, near exits and other high visibility locations. As floor plans change over time, having a simple process to maintain these plans for accuracy is crucial.
  4. Display the Location of Life Safety Equipment: Publishing the location of life safety equipment such as first aid kits, AED’s (Automated External Defibrillator), fire extinguishers and evacuation routes is often a workplace requirement. Safety equipment requirements vary depending on space type, so be sure to review industry codes and regulations to ensure you are properly communicating the location of life safety equipment to staff. Publishing life safety icons on a shared floor plan creates one source of record and reduces the likelihood that duplicate efforts are taking place within an organization.
  5. Track Artwork Assets: Studies show that artwork in an office setting can have a positive impact on employee satisfaction. Keep track of your company’s cultural and artistic investments with icons that depict paintings, sculpture, antique furniture, artifacts and more. You can even associate a photo of the artwork with the icon. Assign details to each icon such as artist, year, value and owner to track the history and location of valuable artwork for years to come.
  6. Locate Office Equipment: Empower new hires, temporary workers or visitors with a map to frequently used office supplies and equipment such as fax machines, scanners, printers, paper cutters, recycle bins and more.
  7. Map Out Mechanicals: Help facilities managers, contractors and service providers visualize and locate mechanical units such as boilers, chillers or rooftop units by placing representative icons on an interactive floor plan. Simply print and distribute the floor plan to easily communicate the location of units. Assigning unique attributes to icons makes it easy to record warranty, year purchased, last service date and more.

Learn More: Gensler’s Workplace Information Solutions Platform, Wisp, delivers space and occupancy data on interactive floor plans with the tools and functionality that real estate and facility teams need for strategic planning and daily space and occupancy management. With seven themed palettes containing nearly 150 icons, clients can benefit from creating an unlimited number of icon scenarios to use in their organization. As floor plans change over time, Gensler maintains accurate CAD to ensure clients are working with consistent and accurate drawings.

Christi Van Maanen
Christi Van Maanen is part of Gensler’s Consulting practice area and co-directs the Workplace Information Solutions studio. She is passionate about helping real estate and facilities teams gain deeper, more accurate insights into workplace and occupancy through the use of innovative tools that create access to data, including Gensler’s proprietary solutions, Wisp and Observe