If you own an office building, or even just an office space, the first thing visitors will see when they walk through the door is your reception area. When they enter, they should feel welcomed and immediately get a good first impression of your business.

It’s not just the friendliness and helpfulness of the person behind the desk that’s important, but the desk itself and the surrounding space. This area plays a critical role in how you present your company to the public, so its design should be more than just an afterthought. Take some of the advice below to ensure that your reception space does your business justice.

Reflecting your brand

Just like the rest of your office, your reception and waiting area should show your brand’s personality. You need to think about the way in which you express who you are and what you do through your decor. As much as it’s important throughout your building, it is even more essential in this public place that anyone can walk into.

Some things you might think about are your brand colors and personality. Are you a young and casual brand, whose waiting area might have comfortable sofas and a games console? Or do you want to reflect your true professionalism with leather chairs and some carefully placed artwork?

One thing your reception should have is space for people to sit. If your receptionist needs to ask people to wait for an appointment or for someone to come down and get them, they don’t want to stand around. You should make sure you look for stylish seating, and not just sterile plastic waiting room chairs. They should be comfortable to sit on without being informal. The surrounding area needs to be pleasant to look at too. No one wants to sit staring at plain white walls.

Providing information and reading material

Some visitors could be waiting for a while, so providing some form of entertainment or something to occupy them is useful. Some businesses choose to have a TV, but the easiest method is to provide reading material. You can place things on a table, such as coffee-table books and magazines relevant to your company. It’s also a good idea to provide information about your services. You can use leaflet dispensers so that visitors can peruse literature about products you offer that they might be unaware of.

A Welcoming reception desk

Don’t forget the desk itself and the person behind it. As well as a desk that doesn’t make your visitors feel too cut off from your receptionist, your employee needs to be presentable too. You might even take a leaf from the books of some hotels, who are starting to bring receptionists out from behind the desk to present a more personable front. They use tablets to check guests in, so it doesn’t matter that they’re away from their computers.

Make sure you don’t neglect your reception area when you design your office. If you want to make a good first impression, you need to start there.

Image courtesy Michele Ursino (Flickr).

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