First impressions can be tricky. They’re incredibly important, especially when it comes to business relationships. A well-designed office can improve the image you give your clients, but a poorly designed office can shatter it just as easily.
Reception Space: The first area (technically second to the entryway) that really makes an impression when someone steps into your office is the reception space. Always keep it as clutter free and as open as possible. Too many chairs, brochures, pamphlets, advertisements (such as those at many medical offices) and decorative knick-knacks make it appear cluttered and can stress clients and customers out before they ever meet with you. Offering refreshments, a place to hang coats and extra umbrellas in case of rain can show as sign of hospitality that most people don’t expect in office spaces anymore. Don’t just impress your clients and customers with your reception space, leave them with a positive lasting impressing from the minute they sit down to wait for their appointment to the second they leave and close the door.
Lighting: Your don’t want you clients and customers to walk into a stale and dark atmosphere, you want the space to be bright, welcoming and lively. The key is using light to achieve these goals. The use of natural light whenever possible provides a wider color spectrum, in addition to being more welcoming this can make it easier for staff to focus and be productive. Try to avoid harsh strip lighting and replace it with softer LED lights, because LED lights are more closely mimicked to natural light. Depending on the feel you are aiming for, soft bright illumination can create a sense of calm and appeal. The low warmer lights create a feeling of that ‘homey’ charm if the family business vibe is what you’re aiming for.
Bathrooms: We’ve spoken before on the importance of a clean bathroom at your place of business but it cannot be reiterated enough. A clean bathroom at your business can eliminate the opportunity for complaints, projects a clean image (literally) and will develop a trust with customers. Even if it’s the last place they visit before leaving your office, it needs to be in pristine condition.
Basic Cleaning and Maintenance: Keep your work environment looking successful and a positive place of business by ensuring everything is in working order and clean. Anything that needs repair should be fixed immediately or removed from sight. Busted or broken items and décor can give the illusion that you don’t care and you never want a client or customer thinking that. Make sure to keep your workplace clean by scheduling regular cleanings with a professional cleaning company and routinely check that public and private spaces are presentable. This means no pilling furniture, burnt out or flickering lights, dusty shelves, outdated carpets, bent or missing blinds or overflowing trashcans.
Next time you walk into another office or business, take note the surrounding area and remember your first impression. Take those first impressions, whether they are positive or negative and apply them to your own space. Was the lighting harsh? Check out the lighting in your office. Was the television too loud? Alter the volume on your reception area TV. Or perhaps their water jug was empty. That’s a great reminder to make sure to check your own water cooler to ensure its full. However, if you saw something that appealed to you, then adapt it for use in your own space. Did they offer a Keruig with a variety of coffees? Or maybe they had really nice blinds. Bring your own experiences at other businesses into the design of your office space. And use these ideas to make improvements that will lead to better first impressions that inspire confidence and trust in you, your servies or products and you business as a whole.