“It’s the first impression that will either open the door or close it. It’s that important, so don’t mess it up.” – Nicholas Sparks, author
We’ve all heard the sentiment that you can never get a second chance at making a first impression; while this age old mentality is usually reserved for a social interactions, the same can easily be said for your office space.
Imagine you’re meeting a person for the first time; you’re probably going to be impressed by a cheerful, professional, and respectful demeanor. Imagine the difference in meeting someone who shakes your hand, exchanges a joke, and remembers your name. Then you meet someone who fails to make eye contact with you and doesn’t bother to put their phone away when they talk to you. One of those people will earn your respect and a good first impression. The other, not so much.
When a person is greeted by intriguing space, positive emotions will follow them out of that office – and in turn, will influence their decision to do business with that organization. In this post, we’ll break down the types of responses you should aim for when designing and building your office space to reach optimal levels of entrant satisfaction.
The overall aesthetic of your office’s reception space not only triggers the tone for the visit, but should embody the identity of your organization. Ask yourself how the client is going to envision their collaboration with your company when they first ralk into the room; how can you build on the success of those first thoughts?
When you’re thinking about a redesign or a renovation to the reception area, consider both the overall energy and visual cues you’re creating, but also the small details that a curious visitor will notice when they begin looking around; both of these elements help to create one succinct, unified space that can create a great first impression.
Every office needs to send an effective message to prospective clients entering the office, and it doesn’t have to be done with massive changes to the space – in fact, sometimes even a subtle change like a tasteful accent wall can make all the difference to a new visitor. Reception spaces should reflect a professional sense of creativity, innovation, and impact – without going over the top. Remember, less is often more when it comes to office design.
Your Office Isn’t Just for You
Think back to the films and TV shows of the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s – any office depicted in the media was often a grandiose space lavished in dark woods, a power desk, and a huge chair meant to elevate the grandeur of the CEO or partner. Not anymore.
Your office itself is all about the customer these days. Yes, you need a comfortable, attractive space to work, but your office design needs to place its emphasis on the client entering the space to join you. Client seating should be on the same playing field as yours, and your desk shouldn’t intimidate your client – make furniture selection a big part of your first impression checklist so your prospective client or customer feels as though they’re entering into a space that values their collaboration and opinion.
Offer a small table in between a pair of client chairs so they don’t have to place their purse or suitcase on the floor. Offer them a space to put their jacket, so to inspire a sense of belonging.
Use of appropriate lighting is another way to boost the impact of a first office impression. Natural light is associated with elevated client and employee satisfaction, healthier states of mind, and overall happiness – so if your office reception space is a dark and small feeling space, that first impression will carry over to the way your clients will interpret your business.
On the contrary, opening windows and allowing natural light to flood the reception area will give off a certain sense of happiness, creativity, and open-ended ideas.
Colours & Materials
Colour theory is oh-so important in first impressions – particularly in an office setting. We’re huge advocates of implementing colour theory in all aspects of the office because colours have the profound effect of being able to direct and influence people’s moods. For example:
Green is the colour of balance; it can help the occupants of a conference room or a personnel management office to weigh the intricate advantages and disadvantages of an idea, or partnership. Blue is an excellent hue for an office space that focuses on numbers – like an accountant, or investment house – because it slows the heart rate and reduces blood pressure. Purple is known as the intellectuals colour, and could be of great use for the reception area of your office to help your prospective clients to feel as though they’ve entered into a space of great knowledge and experience.
Your use of material can also influence the first impression of someone in your office. If your brand is, for example, geared towards a millennial crowd and sells coffee shop equipment, using a contemporary blend of natural materials like recycled wood and stainless steel help to give your company a sense of identity and focus. By contrast, the HQ of a coffee-based business featuring carpeted floors wouldn’t have the same level of effect on a client.