The golden rule in business is it takes just a few seconds to create the right impression and how you present your office environment can play a huge part in that process.
Many businesses overlook the importance of striking the right balance between functional and fashionable when choosing how to fit-out their interior office space. It’s true that the type of business you operate can heavily influence that decision process however, in the corporate world we live in which is dominated by the service sector, the look and feel of your office can influence your brand identity and how others perceive you.
So how do you fit out your office so that it is both functional and inspirational to your employees, and also gives the right impression to clients and would-be customers alike? Here’a few areas for you to consider:
In most offices, the reception desk is the first interaction a client will have when entering your premises. This is ultimately your most important time to make the right impression. A reception desk that is dowdy, dull and tired looking will tell your client that perhaps you’ve stopped caring about your business image.
On the flip-side, a reception area that is overly self-indulgent, too high-end looking and clearly came with a high price-tag might put some visitors off. Clearly, a balance has to be struck and the key issue is to understand your market, your industry and what your clients would expect of you.
It’s also vital to ensure your reception staff are appropriately dressed and greet visitors accordingly and make them feel at home as soon as they enter the premises. In general, a minimalist, clean and calm reception area is a good middle ground for most businesses. But if like many of our clients, you want to really make a great impression, some sleek, high-end finishing touches can really make your reception pop and give you that little edge over the competition, that’s not too overly in-your-face but just says you mean business and are leaders in your field.
If you run a busy organisation and it’s common for visitors to have to wait a few moments for an appointment, try to designate an appropriate area as a waiting room to allow your clients and such to relax, get settled and absorb your environment. It may have only taken a few moments to make a first impression at the reception, but if given time to ponder in a waiting room, a client can make far deeper judgements having to wait for longer.
Again, make the area as comfortable as possible. Ensure they are surrounded by a colour scheme and decor that is befitting of your company’s brand and ensure the area is filled with natural light and not forced into a corner of the building that nobody likes or every wants to spend time in.
We’ve mentioned this dozens of times in our blogs but it never ceases to amaze us how many businesses allow dirt and grime build up to occur in their offices at the cost of their business image. If you have a visitor, the last thing you want is dirty carpets, grime build up, hand marks along walls and paintwork and poorly maintained decor, fixtures and fittings to put them off.
In these times of austerity, it is easy to make excuses for not wanting spend capital on office interior improvements however, with that type of short-sighted approach, it could cost a great deal more than a small investment in cleanliness. Your current and potential clients could all go elsewhere if you seem to be a business that is struggling and isn’t staying on top of general office maintenance.
If possible, try to utilise as much natural light as possible. In the UK, we suffer from some very short, dark days during winter so having light flooding into rooms is not always possible. However, if window coverings such as blinds, curtains and drapes are not offering any positive effect, think about removing those and have your windows cleaned regularly to allow light to come in and make your rooms feel brighter and bigger.
Ventilation and air quality is a big subject these days. With pollutants and airborne pathogens easily spreading throughout offices, it’s vital to ensure you have good ventilation and HVAC systems in place that are regularly maintained.
It is also advised to place natural air cleaning plants in your office which not only makes the air quality better, they’ll also act as a great way to help decorate and soften the look of your office environment. Examples of excellent air cleaning plants are aloe vera, English and peace ivy, silver vines and spider plants.
If your office building has windows and the weather is warm outside, then use them! In the heat of spring and summer, smells can really build up and with dozens of employees eating lunches at their desks, not to mention body odour build up, as busy offices can start to get rather stinky if unventilated for longer periods. Not pleasant at all and anyone visiting will not enjoy the experience of a bad smell lingering, if they have to spend time at your premises.
If after having read this, its dawned on you that perhaps its time to give your office the makeover and deep clean it deserves, then feel free to get in touch with our team at ECMS and we’ll be delighted to give you our honest opinion on how we can improve your overall office environment and make the perfect impression to your customers.