The office reception space is an often overlooked component in office design. From simply awkward to mysteriously absent, the design or presence of a reception area is regularly disregarded. To shed some light on how proper planning of this space can greatly benefit the efficiency and professional image of your business, I've put together the five most important design aspects of the office reception space and how to best use them.
1. Plan to have a reception area and a receptionist.
Not having a reception is mistake # 1. Have you ever had a meeting at an office where you've never been before and when you walked in you found yourself in the middle of all the employees with all of their work suddenly paused while they stared at you blankly. I have, and it makes a negative first impression. Plan to have a conspicuous reception area and staff it with a pleasant and informative individual who will keep your other employees from getting interrupted.
2. Where to put the reception area.
Place it at the entrance so that it's the first place a visitor will head. There's no point in having a reception area if visitors find it easier to interrupt other staff.
3. Lighting in the reception area.
Not just mistake # 3, but the most common mistake is lighting, and the most overlooked detail is lighting color. Have you ever walked into an office where the light makes everything look distasteful or sickly? Every bulb, whether fluorescent or incandescent, emits light which is measured on the Kelvin scale. Typical bulbs will be anywhere from 2500 – 7500 Kelvin, where 2500 is warm and yellow, and 7500 is cold and blue. A cold, blue light will make skin and even food look unpleasant so stick to between 3500-4500 Kelvin, which you'll find written on the bulb box.
4. Seating in the reception area.
This is very important to the office visitor, and how they perceive your business. This mistake takes two forms: 1) not having anywhere to sit, and 2) art chairs. If there is now to sit, your visitors will be left to either stand around or pace in your reception hall. Either option is uncomfortable and does not project a welcoming atmosphere. And by 'art chairs' I am referring a phenomenon most commonly seen in design offices and office designs created by those firms. Make sure your reception seating can actually be sat on and that it's comfortable and natural to sit in.
5. Open vs. closed reception desks.
If you're really worried that office visitors may attack your receptionist, then having a closed reception desk with a sliding window or slot is perfectly reasonable. Otherwise, it's mistake # 5. It tells your visitors that you assume they're undesirable, dangerous or otherwise untrustworthy. They're most commonly found in hospitals & police stations, which makes for a bad impression to your visitors.
The points above are just a framework of the most common office reception mistakes. Following these simple points will not only improve your employee's efficiency, but also the first impression visitors to your workplace form about your business. There are many other considerations that make for proper office design and the best possible way of getting a good return on your investment is to hire an experienced design professional.