First Impressions Count!
10 Tips For An Exceptional Reception:
Above are all snapshots of Ben Johnson reception projects: Top left to right:
• Using a distinctive style in a reception, North East based Charles Clinkard (Case study here)
• Making a booth and full use of space in reception: Holiday company Icelolly.com (Case study here)
• Using logos in receptions, Boldon-based based Maquet UK (Case study here)
• Using a distinctive style in a reception like Halco Rock Tools (Case study here)
• Example of finishes in a cooking and houseware company reception: Merison Retail UK (Case study here)
• Making things comfortable in a reception: Newcastle based technology company Turnitin (Case study here)
• Reception seating at Nifco UK in Stockton (Case study here)
Within seconds of entering your office, potential clients make up their minds about you and your company. In a glance, they instantly decide how trustworthy you are, whether you’re doing ok or struggling and possibly even if they want to do business with you.
So how do you make sure your reception is the best it can be, for visitors as well as for the efficient running of your own business? Follow these 10 top tips from our team and you can’t go wrong:
1 Overall appearance and style.
As well as controlling the flow of visitors and goods, office receptions must reflect the culture and brand of your organisation and combine visual appeal with practicality.
Do you want to go traditional or edgy? Colourful or monochrome? Decide what you want your entrance area to say about your company but also consider the architectural limitations of your space and your budget.
2 Logo and corporate colours
It’s important to consider incorporating your logo and company name into your reception area and externally, if possible, so visitors can find you easily.
3 Use space wisely
Receptions can be multi-functional spaces, a place to welcome guests, working area for staff, a space for informal meetings, touch-down for waiting clients, or a quiet meeting room close to hand. Holiday provider, icelolly.com selected a booth to welcome visitors and provide a touchdown and informal meeting area. General meeting rooms were close-by for more formal, confidential meetings. Some businesses choose not to have a reception or waiting area at all, instead opt for a central breakout area, which can be utilised by staff and visitors. This creates a great buzz and positive impression.
4 Manned or unmanned reception? Desk or no desk?
If you decide on a reception desk, make sure it’s the correct height, size and style for both staff working behind and for visitors approaching. Maybe you don’t need a desk or a receptionist? Instead you might want to consider an intercom/communication system for clients to notify you of their arrival, but make sure there is adequate signage to direct your visitors to where you would like them to go.
Remember the look and feel of interior finishes and furniture will reflect your brand image which all add to the client’s perception of your business, so include this in discussions with your workplace designer.
How many people will there be in your reception at any one time? The area should be large enough and comfortable enough to offer visitors a pleasant place to sit, relax and do work. Wi-Fi details should be clearly visible to all. Make sure furniture is far enough away from the door so visitors and staff don’t get cold. Set out magazines and written material about your company. What about a water cooler or a coffee maker? It’s a nice touch for making clients and guests feel welcome and energized! The layout of visitor and staff access routes is important. A good design will segregate the flow of staff to allow visitor-receptionist interaction to be focused and not interrupted by the constant movement of others.
Consider reception design from the viewpoint of security of visitors, deliveries, staff and the people who work on reception.
In a busy reception, avoid designing the space so visitors are out of sight from the receptionist also need to think of the receptionist’s screen privacy if they are completing day to day tasks.
8 Keep it tidy!
Busy reception areas can look messy in minutes, particularly in bad weather when people can track rain and mud on to the floor. Introduce stylish but practical elements, like large mats embedded into the entrance that will prevent ‘mess’ from travelling further into the area. Packages are likely to be delivered to reception daily, so it’s important to have enough space to store these until they can be collected.
9 Not too hot – not too cold
Heating and cooling in an office reception can be difficult when external air circulation can quickly alter internal temperatures. Automatic doors continually opening and shutting don’t help.
Clever positioning of reception desks, seating, blinds and screens, as well as efficient, individually controlled heating systems can help with this problem.
10 Building regulations
Finally, don’t forget Building Regulations, particularly regarding Access for All and the Disability Discrimination Act, which obliges companies to consider an office reception design from the standpoint of accessibility and visitors of all capabilities. Good design for an office reception area will naturally incorporate all the aspects needed to ensure compliance.
Image Credit: All images are Ben Johnson Interiors Projects