[UPDATE] What does your office reception area say about your company?

It’s the first thing people see when they enter your office space, this makes your reception area a vital element… one that shouldn’t be ignored. Here’s what you need to know about the design of your company’s reception area.

We’ve all heard the old saying “first impressions mean everything”, the same applies to your business environment. From the moment a client walks through the door, they begin gathering information about who you are and what you value as a company. The reception area must communicate that.

“You only have one chance to make a good first impression.”- anonymous

So, what’s the first thing you should consider when designing a company’s reception space? The experience you want your visitors to have when they arrive!

Only a few seconds after arriving in your office, your visitors will form an opinion of your company. So, when we start on any project finding out what experience a company wants their visitors to have is one of the most important questions we ask.

We’ve been creating office spaces for many years and over this time (to make this an easier process), we’ve found that there are a number of options on visitor experience that could fit with a company identity and culture. Here are the three most commonly used.

With each option there is a list of the most important considerations in order to create the right experience for your needs:

The Professional Option:

If you have a very corporate environment, such as banking and money related institutions, legal related institutions, medical suites and companies related to resources such as mining, this is the option we recommend for you.

What will this reception area design say about your company?
It will give the company a feel of being organised, wealthy, stable, efficient, and authoritative.

In order to achieve this experience we consider the following:

  • Large, open space. No clutter.
  • Careful consideration of Corporate Identity.
  • Brand presence is subtle but clearly present.
  • The colour scheme is subdued, stylish and serious.
  • Furniture is comfortable and robust.
  • Receptionists are friendly and efficient
  • Coffee and tea service is available.
  • Marketing material is visible, either electronically or in printed format.
  • Spotlessly clean space.
  • Fresh flowers or cleverly incorporated, healthy, greenery.
  • Artwork is an investment in this space.
  • Access to meeting spaces and toilets straight off reception. No wandering the halls for visitors.

The Dynamic Option:

This is the space that is ideal for startups and tech inspired businesses. For example, software companies, innovative products, renewable resource companies, and consultancies.

What will this reception area design say about your company?
It will give the company a feel of being very ‘go forward’, innovative, solutions oriented, driven, and daring.

In order to achieve this feel we consider the following:

  • The space is comfortable, not too large and not cluttered.
  • Marketing is done electronically in the space and possible interactively.
  • The corporate identity is strongly visible.
  • Branding is visible, bold but simple.
  • Furniture is functional and stylish.

The Vibrant Option:

This option is usually best suited for a company in the creative space. For example, advertising agencies, marketing agencies, digital agencies, media and film, fine art, interior design, and architecture.

What will this reception area design say about your company?
It will give the company a feel of being inventive, highly creative, current, collaborative, eager, and agile.

In order to achieve this feel we consider the following:

  • The space makes a statement!
  • The environment is fun and interactive.
  • Colour is a key ingredient. Either a lot of it or none at all.
  • Corporate identity is present in an inventive way.
  • Branding is bold. It could be boldly simple or quite loud.
  • Trendy choice of furniture, finishes and fittings.
  • Iconic pieces are featured.
  • Coffee/beverages are self-help – a fun experience.
  • Staff are chatty and friendly.
  • Meeting spaces are mixed use and versatile.

Once your reception area is designed to fit your company’s experience, it’s important to remember to match the human experience to the design. Here are some tips on how to make a lasting impression when someone arrives at your reception area:

  • Encourage your reception staff to smile and be friendly.
  • Make sure to offer water/coffee/tea to keep visitors refreshed.
  • Ensure visitors are aware of where they can sit and how long the wait will be.

Now that you have some insight into the experience visitors could have with a reception area, take a second look at your reception area and think about this one question – What does your office reception area say about your company?

Want more help designing your office space? The amount of space is key, take a look at our office space calculator for some insights into how much space you really need.

Try our Space Calculator

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Jill Munger

Author Jill Munger

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