by Andrew Mairs | Marketing Executive
You only get one chance to make a first impression. When it comes to potential clients their first impression of you as a company is incredibly important. As a B2B business offering services rather than tangible products your office reception is your shop front.
When the services you offer happen to be in the office design and build sector your reception becomes part of your pitch and part of your portfolio. Of course, the importance of a first impression doesn’t only apply to potential clients. Future suppliers, investors, business partners and employees are going to be greeted by the space. Your reception will need to assume many roles in its life, being both aesthetically pleasing and functional. Showing off your brand whilst being warm and inviting. It needs to be a place of information and assistance whilst acting as a holding area and being host to impromptu meetings and the most important of all. It needs to echo your companies voice.
On the Front Line
Possibly the most important aspect of any reception is the person running it. It would be all well and good having an amazing space that wows everyone who walks through the door but none of that would matter if your visitors were greeted by someone who isn’t personable, well organized and efficient. Lots of companies overlook the importance of this job and for example entrust it to temporary employees with next to no training and no investment in the role. Often receptionists are the first person your potential clients will meet, and they have the potential to make an impression larger and more impactful then any space.
Finding the Balance
A statement can be made before any design work is done. The reception’s size and location can communicate a lot about a company. A reception that is too large can seem empty, cold and unwelcoming whilst a space that is too small can feel claustrophobic and seem like an afterthought. It is a good idea to separate the reception area from the main office as it can reduce distractions and help to create a calmer atmosphere which will put your visitors at ease and make them feel more welcome.
Not Just a Desk
One of the main focal points of your reception will be the desk. As the place visitors look for and head to when entering the building a noteworthy desk will grab their attention.
It’s important to get it right. Choosing a desk that fits with not only your brand but with the décor of the space whilst being functional, allowing the receptionist to be at their most efficacious.
Keeping the desk and its surrounding area clean and tidy are a must. Leaving the desk cluttered with paperwork and deliveries every day constructs a negative impression, so it is a good idea to make sure there is enough space to store everything including an out of sight holding area for deliveries if possible. There is an incredible amount of choice when it comes to reception desks, with a plethora of shapes and sizes covered by off the shelf products. If none of these are suitable there are more expensive bespoke options available offering customisable finishes, lighting and branding that will really set your office apart from the competition.
Take a Seat…
Seating is an important aspect of the overall design of your reception and provides a key function in hosting your visitors whilst they wait. Coupling couches and chairs with a coffee table allows you to display some literature that can give waiting visitors further insight into your company and what you do. A television can offer entertainment and a tea or coffee can help them feel more at home.
Consider the position of your seating, you want to ensure that your chairs and sofas are situated away from any doors where drafts could make visitors uncomfortable.
There is an abundance of options available but choosing seating that compliments your brand and the mood you are looking to achieve in the space is a good start.
Whilst your reception needs to be pleasing on the eye it also needs to be practical. Receptions can have a lot of foot traffic pass through them daily. Employees and visitors can walk in dirt, mud and snow depending on the weather which not only looks unsightly but can also raise health and safety concerns. Door rugs and runner rugs can help prevent this. Along with a coat rack and umbrella holder can keep things looking neat and tidy.
Tell Your Story
A reception space is perfect for displaying your companies’ achievements, painting a picture of the kind of company that you are. Using a combination of inviting design and company promotion gives you control over the impression you are creating, forming a story in the visitor’s head before you’ve even made it through the door to great them, getting your meeting off to the best possible start.
Designing a space with this many personalities and requirements can be challenging but there are focal points of the reception which when done right can impress your visitors and give you a solid foundation for your interactions going forward, making sure that people keep coming back to your office again and again.