The reception area is a vital component of any office, and it’s the first thing that clients and new talent see when they stop in for a visit. An effective reception area sets the tone for the entire company, and gives insight into how it runs its day-to-day operations. It’s also a snippet of the company’s internal culture, which is important when it comes to attracting new talent.
In order to design the right reception area, it pays to understand what its intended function is. Receptionists are there to guide individuals to their destinations, notify key personnel of their arrival, or otherwise act as liaisons. That requires a few key components in order to work.
MAKE IT INVITING
A reception area is probably where the majority of a company’s visitors will remain in waiting, until they are greeted by a particular staff member. It’s important that the waiting area feels cozy, confident and warm. TV sets have become a great way to keep visitors engaged while they wait, particularly if the content being played is appropriate to the company in question.
For instance, investment companies may wish to turn on the world news, particularly related to business and the stock market. Entertainment companies with a casual dress code and a hip working environment may opt to show content more in line with the spirit of the business. It’s also worth injecting your content with some information about your company, and this can come in the form of sizzle reels, infomercials or documentaries.
Remember to make use of appropriate colour, as well. Choosing the wrong palette can have a detrimental effect on visitors, which is why the colour scheme should be inviting, and positive. Avoid monochrome and beige tones, as these can appear drab, and instead focus on positive colours like green and blue, which produce high levels of relaxation and positivity. Depending on the company and its culture, even bolder colours such as orange, red and purple can be used, though it’s wise to check with an office design company to make sure that they’re being applied correctly.
One particularly good old school tactic is to set up a coffee table with some traditional magazines, which are hard for people to resist. It’s a throwback to a simpler, more charming time when people weren’t flipping through webpages on their phone or tablet. Remember, this habit has now become commonplace, so it’s wise to shake things up a bit by offering your visitors a different experience.
And finally, it’s important not to skimp on the hospitality. Depending on the business in question, it might be wise for the receptionist to offer coffee, tea or water in order to make guests feel more welcome and appreciated. This is a tactic employed by many car dealerships who want to make prospective buyers feel more relaxed, and less nervous about such an important purchase.
ACCESSIBILITY IS KING
Nothing screams “unwelcome” quite like a guest being forced to dip into their own roaming data, which is why it’s important to offer free WiFi. If a company is situated in a bustling multi-business building, receptionists can offer a WiFi password to guests, immediately upon entering. Otherwise, it’s handy to have a free WiFi signal active whenever possible, so guests can piggyback.
Not only does this prevent guests from possibly running over their roaming data limits, but it also gives off an aura of trust and friendliness, which is a great way to create a warm rapport.
CLEANLINESS AT ALL TIMES
Reception areas need to be spick and span, top to bottom, all day, every single day – no exceptions. Anything less risks setting off alarm bells for visiting clients, potential new employees, and other guests. Plus, word gets around rather fast, and that information needs to be positive. Dirty rugs, leftover coffee mugs and overflowing trash bins suggest laziness, ineptitude, and a complete lack of respect for the visitor.
This can spell doom when trying to woo an important client, or when hiring new talent. If the reception area can’t get its act together, what hope is there for the rest of the company? Whether that sentiment is fair, or not, is irrelevant. Most companies have cleaning staff on hand to tidy up the office space, but they’re not around during the day. Therefore, it’s up to the staff to make sure that the reception area looks its absolute best, even in between cleaning cycles.
CHOOSE THE RIGHT FURNITURE
In order for visitors to relax, they need to have somewhere nice to sit. Choosing the wrong furniture can hamper this experience, and create a negative impression. Therefore, it’s important to invest in chairs and sofas that go beyond utilitarian, and focus on comfort. These guests will be waiting in a strange environment, and there’s always a little bit of trepidation at play. Giving them the opportunity to sink into a comfortable seat is one way of alleviating that tension, and that will have downstream effects.
Similarly, companies shouldn’t skimp on furniture for the receptionist, who has a very important role to play in day-to-day operations. The more comfortable a receptionist is, the easier it will be for them to pay that optimism forward, whether it’s on the phone, or face-to-face. Choosing the right reception desk is another way to send a positive message about the company. Refrain from sticking to outdated motifs, and invest in a high quality, contemporary desk that compliments your company, and your overall workspace.
A POSITIVE FIRST IMPRESSION GOES A LONG WAY
In conclusion, a reception area is where companies put their best foot forward, right out of the starting gate. Adhering to the aforementioned tips can yield a lot of benefits, both in terms of company morale, and the fostering of new relationships with clients. People who walk into a bright, happy reception area will enjoy their visit, not to mention the lasting effects it will have on the rest of their day.
Are you looking to optimize your office workspace? Do you need consulting to help improve your office reception area? Sensyst designs professional office interiors for all types of businesses. Contact us and let us know how we can help!