Research shows that people take between a tenth of a second and thirty seconds to make snap judgements based on visual impressions. This means that visitors to your reception may have already made their minds up about you before they get as far as the elevator. And as these visitors are likely to be clients, prospects and potential employees, it’s critical to make that first impression the right one.
Have you ever walked into an office or shop that was dirty, untidy or smelt bad? Did that fill you with confidence in the service or product offered? Probably not. In fact, if it was a shop, you probably turned around and walked straight out. First impressions matter, and they can affect all of the senses, so it’s vital to make sure that the entrance to your office building is clean, clutter free and fresh smelling. But there’s a lot more you can do to influence a visitor into being actively impressed by your office space (and by default, also your company). With the right furnishings and styling it’s easy to create first impressions that truly impress.
Make sure your design style matches your mission statement, without sacrificing what really matters to the majority of business reception visitors which is comfort, aesthetics and privacy. People giving personal details at security will appreciate not being overlooked by others. People who have to wait for more than a few minutes will appreciate comfortable seating and a table for refreshments or papers. Candidates preparing for an interview may need a quiet space to mentally prepare. Clients may wish to read confidential papers or make a business sensitive phone call. Clever furniture grouping, modular seating, high or low back chairs and simple zoning can allow all of these people to do whatever they need to while they wait.
Traditional, heavier looking reception furniture in dark woods and leathers may be expected for an investment bank or luxury brand, while a cutting-edge art agency will be expected to have statement pieces or designer modernism on view. Either can easily be mixed and matched to suit the space and express the brand’s personality. The best commercial furniture suppliers will offer colour matching services for reception sofas and chairs so that the brand personality seamlessly fills the space without being as overwhelming as, for instance, a giant logo on the wall.
Whether you choose to entertain waiting people with TV screens, magazines, art or music – keep everything on brand. People don’t need to feel that your message is being forced upon them in any way – just ensure that it gently surrounds them at all times. Supporting this with clever use of colour, design and a feeling of comfort helps them to effortlessly absorb your marketing and a cool lead could be converted to a warm one before they’ve even stepped into the meeting room.
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