If you look through the eyes of a customer, what do they see first when they enter the doors of your building?
First impressions count. While the customer is ultimately interested in your product or service, your surroundings will tell them something about your company as well.
There are some simple steps you can take to improve customer-facing areas.
Colour schemes and furnishings
The general rule is – lighter colours make a room feel spacier; darker colours make it feel cosier. Your customers will notice if you get it wrong. A very large space with a white ceiling and walls can feel like a coldstore – even when the heating is blasting! At the other end of the scale, a small room with dark purple walls will probably feel oppressive and claustrophobic.
Cluttered work areas can give the impression that you plan poorly, you are overwhelmed by your workload, or that you are disorganised. You can avoid that by taking a minimalistic approach to furniture. Keep walkways wide and clear of obstacles. And whisk documents out of customer-facing areas before they have the chance to grow into ‘piles’.
Accessories have the ability to give a room character. You can create a ‘theme’ by adding items that are visually stimulating, such as vases of flowers and wall art. But be careful not to overdo it. Too much decoration can make a room feel just as cluttered as stacks of papers.
Let there be Light
Don’t forget to let the magic ingredient into your rooms – light. A dark room can create a feeling of tiredness and staleness. Is that how you want to portray your company? Remember the sun moves around through the day and too much light can be as uncomfortable as too little. You may need to create shading with blinds, clingfilm for windows, curtains, tints on the glass – or even an awning – for periods of the day at least.
Light’s natural companion is air. Try to ensure your spaces are reasonably well ventilated. You don’t want to catch your customer holding her breath as she tries to minimize her time in your office space!
Of course, you are busy. Of course, your main focus has to be on generating revenues. But make sure your environment is helping your efforts and not hindering them. Taking time to create the inviting and inspiring office environment that you would like to walk into yourself is often rewarded with repeat business.
Alice Lawson is a marketing and advertising graduate with a passion for business. She is currently working on behalf of Vertical Blinds Direct and specialises in design.