Office decorating tips

What kind of impression does your office give clients?

A smiling receptionist at an office.

What kind of first impression does your reception area give to clients? — Elenathewise/iStock/Thinkstock photo

First impressions last. In the work environment, this could be the difference to a lasting relationship with a new client—or the client taking their business elsewhere. Upon opening the door your clients should be able to know what your business brand is and feel like they will be treated warmly yet professionally.  Are you starting a new business and creating an atmosphere for the first time, or have you been in business for a number of years and want to spruce your  office up?  Either way, you will want to enter your office and look at it through a client’s eyes—does your office speak the company’s brand, is it welcoming and yet professional, is there a clean, clutter-free efficient workspace?

Here are a few tips that will help you create a clean, practical, efficient and welcoming area for clients to come into.

  1. Co-ordinate branding with your office scheme.  Have your logo as a focal point where customers will see it.  Make sure the logo is large and incorporate your logo colours into some of your decorating.  This doesn’t mean that if you have an orange logo all your walls and office furniture have to be orange. “If you have red in your logo,” said Josie Majury of Josie Majury Design in Fernie B.C., “maybe get some art with red in it.”
  2. Make a floor plan.  Do a sketch of the office to plan storage and seating, and make sure there is a good flow. If you are refreshing your office, look at the office furniture you already have and see how it should be arranged to create the best atmosphere.  If you are just starting up, a floor plan will help you decide on the size of furniture you will need to buy.
  3. Cut the clutter. Especially in reception areas where your clients will see the space, keep everything organized and clean. Make sure you have enough storage space, either filing cabinets or an actual storage room to keep whatever documents and files you need.  Take the time to tidy up every day so the clutter doesn’t get out of control.
  4. Take advantage of your advantages. Do you have natural light in your office?  Use it.  Put your desk near the window so you can work in natural light.  Use the space available to create a comfortable and practical layout for your workspace and for any clients that will be coming in.
  5. Add a splash of colour.  Even conservative offices can enjoy a little colour. Stay on the neutral end of the colour spectrum using a slight contrast as an accent colour to keep everything tasteful, welcoming and co-ordinated. Offices that are artsier—those belonging to photographers, designers or graphic artists—can add brighter colours and show more personality. Real estate offices may be able to add a few homey touches, such as a couple of comfortable easy chairs or even a fireplace.
  6. Art accessories. Put a few tasteful pieces of local art on your walls. Choose pieces that pop out the colour from your logo to co-ordinate your brand. Add plants and fresh flowers to give a cheerful feel to the office space.
  7. Trained professionals. Train your staff to create a professional environment for your clients.  “Show your personality with customer service,” said Majury. “Train employees to take a jacket and ask if (the client) wants coffee.”  Professional staff will go a long way in creating an inviting atmosphere for your business.
  8. Personal office space.  You can show more of your personal taste in your own office. “If you are a mountain biker, have a mountain biking painting up,” said Majury. “You can show your personality in a creative way.”  Don’t go crazy on the personal photos. Choose your favourite photo of your children or a hobby, get it blown up large and put it in a really nice frame. “Minimize the clutter and go with large accessories,” added Majury. “You don’t need to overdo it with 20 pictures of your kid—one is fine.”
  9. Keep your employees comfortable and happy.  When you are thinking of decorating the office, spend the money on buying comfortable chairs for your employees. Invest in standup desks if that is what they want. You can cut costs on large desks. With paperless offices, fewer drawers are needed so desks can be simple and fairly minimal, keeping costs down. Keeping your employees healthy and happy will go a long way in creating a warm and professional environment.

Put these tips to work in your office to create a comfortable and welcoming place where you, your employees and clients will feel happy to get down to the job of getting work done. 

 

 

Kimberly Shellborn

Kim is the editorial coordinator at Koocanusa Publications. She recently returned to the Kootenays after 15 years in Spain, where she taught English and got to know the food and wine regions of the country. When she’s not writing or taking photographs, she can be found showing her husband and two children all the backcountry trails that she longed for while in Europe. View all of Kimberly Shellborn’s articles

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