The welcome area is a space that makes a first impression on visitors. The reception is the first thing they’ll see and they maybe waiting in the space until someone comes to meet them, so it’s a great opportunity to make the right impression and make your visitors feel welcome and comfortable.
This space is where visitors and staff learn about a company’s ethos, brand and culture – from the colours, furniture, lighting and signage. The reception says a lot about a company and if it’s not represented correctly, it can be seen as a missed opportunity, hence why it is important to create the right impression and help build a rapport.
In recent years, the role of the workplace has evolved. Once being thought of as a place, simply for work – as the name suggests, it is now be seen as a place for collaboration, communication and a sense of belonging. With the increase in flexible working and mobile technology, it is easy for workers to feel distant from the company and even colleagues. CEO’s want to help people ‘get back to the office’ and make it a destination again…
“We need to be working side-by-side. That is why it is critical that we are all present in our offices. Some of the best decisions and insights come from hallway and cafeteria discussions, meeting new people, and impromptu team meetings” Jackie Reses, Head of Human Resources at Yahoo.
Creating a welcoming reception can contribute to create a sense of belonging and identity with staff, which can influence and inspire an employee’s mindset and attitude for the day; reminding them they are part of something bigger.
Key ideas for creating a welcoming reception
- Less is more, don’t overkill with branding but subtle brand colours and object prompts about the culture and the ethos of the company e.g. a globe to indicate the journey your business has been on and landing at the destination you are at today.
- Create a sense of nature and homeliness by placing a few plants to create a calming and relaxed space. Try to let natural lighting in as when possible and use ambient lighting for the darker days.
- A reception can be quite loud and busy, whilst most people are usually signing in, checking emails or passing through talking to colleagues, consider reducing noise levels by installing a couple of high back chairs and acoustic stools or even totems.
- Everyone loves a good lounge seating, people want to be comfortable and feel relaxed while waiting and we are all guilty of checking our mobile devices when sat on our own. So why not kill two birds with one stone and consider integrated power, which will also allow visitors and colleagues to recharge while waiting in reception.
- Digital displays are a great way of communicating with staff and visitors – this could be welcoming messages, graphics or company information to make everyone feel welcome and informed.