Sometimes businesses are so busy tending to the interior of their office and working space that the entrance and reception areas can become neglected. Dark, gloomy, uninviting, uninspiring – a below par reception can inadvertently give visitors a poor impression of your business – especially if they spend a while waiting there. You only get one chance to make a first impression – so what’s yours – and how can you improve it easily and cost-effectively? Why not browse our 5 essentials below?
An inviting, well-placed desk (with a friendly face behind it): There’s nothing worse than wandering into a strange reception area in a state of bewilderment, unsure where you should go, whom you should talk to (or whether you should actually talk to them!). Make sure your desk is prominently placed with appropriate signage, with a cheerful member of staff ready to greet visitors or a system whereby they can reach someone to let you know they have arrived.
A comfortable waiting area: Invest in some stylish, comfortable seats. Individual seats are better than sofas – even though sofas create a homely, stylish look – as often people can feel uncomfortable walking in and sitting right next to strangers. Padded seats with soft fabric coverings are great – but if you feel they may be a little impractical, then try faux or real leather effect chairs which are easy to clean and can sometimes be sourced cheaply from auctions and discount stores.
Things to do: We spend a lot of time in reception areas just waiting – for appointments, meetings, seminars – that’s partly what they’re for. Even though we now have smartphones to fill the empty spaces between engagements, it’s always good to offer alternatives. A large coffee table filled with clean, well-kept relevant magazines and a TV screen either showing the news or a company promotional video are popular for understandable reasons. This is also a fantastic opportunity to get your company message across and even promote your products and services – by making leaflets and catalogues available for visitors to browse through as they wait. If you do provide literature, books or magazines, have them checked periodically to ensure that they are clean and tidy and throw out any with ragged edges, stains or which are now out of date.
Welcoming, decorative touches: Other than magazines and a television, it’s important that visitors have something pleasant to look at which enhances the environment around them and makes them feel safe and welcome. Photographs and paintings and plants are popular choices of decorative addition. Plants in particular have been proven to create a feeling of calm and happiness – according to the ancient Japanese tradition of Feng Shui, placing plants either side of your entrance door actively welcomes guests into your office and can bring prosperity and wealth to the company!
Refreshments: Even in the smallest of reception areas, a little hospitality goes a long way. If you have space, then a refreshment station is a welcome touch. Provide a coffee and hot drinks machine and a water cooler – so you’re covering all bases. You could even go the extra mile and install a vending machine with snacks. If you don’t have the room or resources to offer soup, hot chocolate and mochas via an all-singing all-dancing machine, then simply the facility somewhere in the vicinity which enables staff to offer and make a tea, coffee or glass of water for guests is perfectly acceptable and demonstrates and added touch of friendly cordiality.
If you’d like to hire plants and introduce a natural green touch to your reception or office entrance, click here to visit the Gaddy’s website, where you’ll find some great inspiration!