Foot traffic is an important consideration to manage in many buildings, not only because it will possibly help more people cycle through the building in an average day, but because managing its flow well enhances safety, security, and the ability for people to get to where they may be going.
On the opposite side of the spectrum, poor foot traffic management leads to queues, wait times, and worse, safety risks such as your visitors or employees struggling to evacuate the building quickly in the event of a fire.
In some cases, foot traffic can quite literally define how successful that business is for the day. Think of a gym, for instance, where the amount of subscriptions they can charge for will depend on their average usage rates, if they can increase the amount of people who come in, use the equipment and leave each day thanks to each prior visitor achieving their goals, then they can accept the next member more easily. This is why weightlifting machines became so popular in the 80s, because it allowed gym environments to avoid constant queues in their free weights section.
But how can this concept and insight apply to larger considerations, such as managing the flow of traffic in your own premises? Let’s consider that, below:
It’s good to make sure that those who wish for access to your building are afforded the chance to do so, but only if they’re verified. A worthwhile keycard system can be a great means of allowing people through certain sections of your premises, verifying access at the front desk and moving on from there.
Alternatively, you may find that using an intercom system for building communications is key, as being able to converse with someone within the building from the outside, or to the front desk from the loading bay can help avoid miscommunications. This will also help you more easily direct traffic as intended, improving on our approach from beforehand.
It’s easy to use all kinds of tricks designed to navigate people around your business, such as how grocery stores tend to place their frozen foods near the rear so you have to walk through all the more perishable items to get there, or how they place smaller items to purchase nearer the checkout.
But sometimes, it’s just a good idea to focus on the real elements of improving foot traffic, like implementing great, reliable, easy-to-follow signs. Placing this on every floor of your building, integrating a map with a ‘you are here’ sign on a larger campus or outdoor premises, and allowing for signs at each corner to show if someone is heading in the right direction can provide a great deal of utility and comfort in someone trying to navigate your building. Of course, the most important signs are those for the fire exit, pointing to the closest and most convenient means of leaving the building where necessary, always lit throughout the day and night.
Most people tend to wander around if they’re unsure of how to navigate a space, and that’s never really good if you’re trying to accept candidates for a job interview, accepting visitors, or asking members to wait before their induction.
This is why it’s a great idea to implement designated “zones” throughout the building that are clearly marked and can be attended to until qualified help comes along. A waiting room near your front reception desk, for instance, where the seating is ample and the magazines or coffee machine is in full view can make a big difference. Sure, offering a place to sit might not seem like a great way to improve foot traffic flow, but it can help better segment people in the right place, preventing them from blocking up corridors and hallways when they don’t need to do so.
Accept The Right Amount Of People
Sometimes, the best thing you can do for the foot traffic within your building is to turn people away, or make them wait outside in a sheltered area. We saw this during the height of the Covid pandemic, where space requirements demanded stores to limit access to a number of people.
But if you feel that an overwhelming amount of visitors could cause a potential evacuation hazard, it’s not a bad idea to implement this practice. We see how event spaces tend to let in groups of people at a time. Managing people and their safety is more important than allowing them to partake in their every whim. On top of that, making sure there are the correct number of staff per visitor (usually a 1:30 ratio is a good ratio to follow) can help increase safety.
With this advice, you’re certain to improve the flow of foot traffic in your business going forward.