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Office reception design is about lasting impressions as much as first impressions

Posted on June 3, 2015 by Charles Marks

First impressions count. According to researchers at the University of Ottawa, people make decisions about websites within a twentieth of a second of seeing them. That may seem a bit hasty, but the good news is that we take our time when we first meet other people. We make our mind up about them in one tenth of a second according to psychologists at Princeton University.

People also quickly make their minds up about a company based on its office reception design. Visitors and clients judge organisations not on the way they look but on the quality of an office fit-out or refurbishment. They will pick up on any discrepancies between how an organisation portrays itself and how it reflects this in its office design.

So it is essential to always create the right first impression with your workplace. Make sure the office reception design makes an immediate impact and conveys important messages about who you are. Use office furniture ideas in an interesting a constructive way. The classics always work well but so too do some lesser known pieces of contemporary office furniture so make sure you get good advice on what to specify from your chosen office interior designers or office fit-out companies.

It is important to ensure that the same messages are apparent throughout your office and that your staff understand what your workplace says about your business. This is not just about branding your office interior (although that is important) but also about reflecting your corporate values through intelligent office space planning and office interior design.  So if your business prides itself on an enlightened approach to the environment or an open working culture, that should be apparent in your workplace.

It’s important to remember that organisations are not just throwing their doors open to visitors nowadays, they’re throwing their arms open too. In amongst all the breathless talk about the future of office design that has been such a staple of the business press for well over a decade, few people really predicted the exact way in which companies would use an office refurbishment or office fit-out as a way of creating a base for their mobile staff and contractors let alone attracting and retaining customers by inviting them to work in their headquarters.

Although we were all aware of new office design ideas which reflected the new culture of flexible working nothing could really prepare us for what has actually been happening over the last few years, not least the exciting notion that a company could throw open the doors of its offices so that everybody could make themselves at home. And that this in turn would drive demand for a new form of office interior solution.

Part of the solution is technological. Nowadays people walk into buildings with their collection of devices and expect to get complete connectivity. In the space of just a few years we have begun to take free, universal WiFi connections for granted.

But such an approach also demands a response from the physical environment. The result is a new tranche of office space planning models which are used to offer a base from which literally anybody can work. They are used to produce a range of spaces that provide for everything anybody could want from an office fit-out, be that for private working, one-to-one meetings, larger meetings and conferences.

Office interior designers are also able to specify a new generation of contemporary office furniture which reflects these new demands. Because of the new role of the office as a flexible, public, social space, many of these products share characteristics with domestic and hospitality furniture. Their design is one of the dead give-aways about the exact way the world is changing.

A good provider of office interior solutions will work to understand your organisation so it is able to reflect these values in its approach to office fit-out. The people who visit your offices may gain a quick first impression from your reception, but it’s the overall office design that will leave them with a lasting one.

Main image: office reception design for Dewynters by Fresh Workspace