The reception – the frontline of your company

The front desk or reception area in an office is the introduction to your company – the shop window. This is possibly the first impression your company will make on any visitor.

The reception area is expected to reflect the organisational culture of the company and according to Adam Wasilewski of WdesignLab, reception areas are the space that is mostly overlooked in the office design.

The points below are 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 have of your business and your workplace. 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.


Plan to have a reception area 

Not having a reception is mistake number one, says Wasilewski.  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.


Where to put the reception area

Place it at the entrance so that it is the first place a visitor will head. There is no point in having a reception area if visitors find it easier to interrupt other staff.


Lighting in the reception area

Not just mistake number three but the most common mistake is lighting, while the most overlooked detail is lighting colour. “Have you ever walked into an office where the light makes everything look distasteful or sickly?” 

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.

Seating in the reception area

This is very important to the office visitor, and how they perceive your business. This mistake takes two forms: not having anywhere to sit, and art chairs. 

If there is nowhere 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 is comfortable and natural to sit in.


Open vs. closed reception desks

If you are genuinely concerned 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 number five. It tells your visitors that you assume they are undesirable, dangerous or otherwise untrustworthy. They are most commonly found in hospitals and police stations – enough said! 

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