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How to make the right first impression: 5 design tips for your office reception

First impressions count, and it only takes 7 seconds to form a first impression.

That’s why it’s essential that visitors to your business, whether they’re a client meeting you for the first time or prospective employees attending a job interview, receive a great first interaction.


As the room your visitors will likely enter through, your office reception area will need particular care and attention to provide that perfect first impression. As the face of the company, although every business is different, a reception area will always need to communicate a positive image of your organisation, and start the first steps of building a relationship between your business and its visitors.


Ready to transform your office reception furniture and start making an impact? Read on for our top design tips for making a great first impression.





Make your office reception feel welcoming

The last thing you want, after spending lots of time preparing for a meeting or interview and facing long queues of traffic, is to be met with a cold, uncomfortable, dingy room.


When entering a new business you want to feel a sense of ease and welcome in the space.


This can mean taking practical considerations, such as ensuring you have a friendly person behind the reception desk. But beyond that, you should make sure you’re offering clear information to guests on arrival.


Arriving somewhere and feeling lost, feels the opposite of welcoming! When visiting somewhere new, there’s already a lot to take in, and particularly for job interviewees it can add to nerves and feelings of unease. Having clear signage will help visitors feel attended to and remove some of the anxieties of being in a new place.


Special touches also go a long way. Could you include a counter with water and complimentary biscuits? Why not provide information that tells visitors how to access the wifi? Straight away the visitor feels valued and looked after, making the right impression.


Another key consideration that your guest will notice before they even interact with the receptionist is the visual experience of the space. Colours, textures and layout can tell a story, and it’s important for you to consider what impression you want to make when deciding on these elements.


For example, plants can have a calming effect on your staff and visitors, adding colour and warmth to your reception area. Greenery can also subtly infer that your business is good at taking care of things. Most of what we pick up from first impressions are subconscious, but it still has a huge impact.


Similarly, the use of lighting will have a huge effect on your visitor. For instance, lots of artificial lighting can be too clinical. Maximising natural lighting, by installing a skylight or larger windows, or even simply by rearranging your office furniture to compliment the lighting can make a real difference.



Offer a comforting space

One of the best ways to make people feel welcome is by helping them to feel comfortable, especially since they’ll likely use your reception as a waiting room.


Comfortable reception seating is therefore a must! Nobody wants to awkwardly stand around while they wait, and it’ll likely lead to that person feeling impatient.


Choose seating that is comfortable but supportive. A reception sofa that is very low down and too squishy can make sitting down and getting up difficult. You could even opt for ergonomic reception room chairs that support the back well, and show that you care about the health and wellbeing of your staff and visitors. Plus, a sturdy and supportive office reception chair will stand the test of time and keep your reception area furniture looking and feeling fresh and up-to-date for longer.


If space is limited modular reception seating could be the best option for your business.


Comfort isn’t just about seating. It’s also important to consider the ambience of the space. Keep an eye on the temperature to provide some relief from the elements outdoors. Make sure the room gets aired out to prevent smells, and keep any music to a low, background volume.



Build Brand Awareness

From the moment you set foot in the building, you should be able to get a sense of your company's brand - people shouldn’t have to worry that they’re in the wrong place.


Brand awareness is incredibly important, so displaying your logo in a clear, strategic place is essential. However, this is also the bare minimum, there’s a lot more you can do beyond the logo to make your brand’s presence felt.


Choose furniture that matches your brand’s colour scheme to help carry the language of your brand through to create a cohesive space. Mismatched and unrelated colours will make the space feel disorganised and overwhelming. Help the eye take in the room easier with consistent colours.


You could also have a read through your brand guidelines to help you choose furniture that matches your brand personality. For example, a tech company might try to convey intelligence and modernity through their space, so they might choose sleek surfaces and use furniture that integrates technology. A company with a young audience on the other hand might create a more playful atmosphere with bold colours and striking shapes.


You could also build brand awareness with strategically placed key messaging. Such as your slogan on a wall, pens or even coasters. You could also consider the objects in the space and ensure they align with your company messaging. Some choice industry books and magazines on the coffee table will send a clear message about your company and position yourself as an expert leader in your field. Displaying awards and press mentions can also show off your success and reinforce that you’re a knowledgeable, experienced company to work with.



Show Off Your Core Values

As a first point of contact for your company, your reception area should encompass ways to show your core values.


Is your business all about offering sustainable solutions? Then it’s important to set a good example with furniture made from sustainable materials. Or if you’re a healthcare provider, offering comfortable, ergonomic reception room chairs will help build trust with clients and staff and show that you care about wellbeing.


Beyond what your company sells, you can also think about other aspects of your core values and how your business presents itself to the world. Considering the connotations of colour and texture can help. Muted colours and natural surfaces such as wood can be seen as strong and dependable for instance. Or if your brand is all about collaboration and community, nods to this through how you arrange seating and the workspace can convey this.


Keep it consistent to avoid mixed messages - if your brand highlights the importance of customer service in their values but doesn’t carry that through to the visitor experience then this can make your brand seem untrustworthy.



Make Your Reception Accessible

Ensuring that your reception and the rest of your building is accessible is about making it possible for disabled people to also be able to enter and get around your building. In doing so, this can make the experience in your building not only easier for disabled people, but often also a more pleasant experience for everyone else too.


Offering an accessible space will show visitors that you care about supporting a diverse workforce and community in your business and make the right impression.


One super simple way you could make your office reception more accessible is by keeping your reception area clean and uncluttered, ensuring there’s enough space for everyone to move around easily without obstruction.


Here’s a quick list of more ways to make your reception accessible:

  • Clear signage to allow for easy navigation

  • Adding a ramp or elevator in place of/alongside stairs

  • Swap harsh fluorescent lighting or flickering lights out for softer lighting

  • Use acoustic furniture to dampen any overwhelming noise

  • Provide information in both written and audio formats

  • Add braille to doors and signage

  • Having a lowered reception desk


For more information about making your workplace more accessible head to Inclusive Employers


In much the same way that individuals assess a new acquaintance within moments, visitors to your office quickly form judgments based on its design and ambience. Additionally, they take into consideration the welfare, drive, and overall satisfaction of the employees who occupy the space on a daily basis. These snap judgments can greatly impact relationships, trust, and perception.


Hopefully this has given you an idea of how to change up your office reception to make the right first impression. Why not browse our full range of reception furniture to get some inspiration for your new space?


If you’d like help transforming your workspace, get in touch with a member of our team today.


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