If you have ever seen pictures of Google’s offices or similarly sized corporations, you would have noticed the very distinctive look that they employ. Large companies offices like this often make use of a colour-coded pallet to match their brand and have their logo very prominent and the architecture of the space creates a great atmosphere and mood.
It’s not just a coincidence that these major brands pay so much attention to their office design. They know that your office design impacts the first impression that your clients make on you and your business.
However, you don’t have to be a corporate giant to learn these lessons on office design. In fact, it’s the smaller businesses and freelancers that stand to benefit the most from an effective office design.
Prestige Flooring have put together this handy guide to help you learn what your office design tells your clients about your business and how you can optimise your office space.
This may come as a surprise, but seeing happy employees will have a subconscious effect on any clients that enter your office. You might only have a small team, or it might just be yourself in the office, but having your staff prepared to receive guests and prepared to interact with them can go a long well to establishing a welcoming and positive feeling for clients.
Of course, you should be trying to keep your staff happy anyway, your office design and layout itself can go a long way to creating a healthy and happy work environment that can help stimulate happy employees.
Reception or welcome areas
Admittedly, if you are a freelancer or small operation a fully staffed reception might not be practical or even necessary. However, you will still want to have a dedicated space where clients can be received. This helps to convey professionalism to clients or guests and helps make the best first impression possible for your company.
A nice waiting area is also a nice touch, somewhere for clients or guests to sit comfortably whilst they wait. It’s also a good idea to have access to fresh water and a selection of hot drinks, to help with that welcoming feeling.
This one is slightly obvious, but a clean office will make a great impression on a client, or rather, an unclean office would make a terrible impression. Do your best to keep on top of any mess that might build up and provide an adequate amount of well-placed bins and recycling bins.
A tidy office will also go a long way to helping your team be productive. Working in a clutter and rubbish free environment is always going to be preferable to a messy one.
You would be surprised at how much of a difference an updated floor plan can make to your office space. Open plan offices have become increasingly popular with businesses, and cubicles being seen and old fashioned, private and unwelcoming. Open plan offices emit a feeling of vibrancy, energy and creativity.
If you work in a small business that has very small teams or teams of one, an open plan office can also help everyone feel involved and connected, which prevents loneliness and unhappy employees. Working in an open space with like-minded people can have a real impact on your productivity and happiness.
Decoration and furniture
Offices are often thought of as being dull or restrictive, but this doesn’t have to be the case. Making use of natural light, hanging some brand & values reflective art and making use of a colour palette of your branding can help brighten up your office and make a positive impression on your clients.
You would be surprised at how much of a difference taking advantage of natural light will have on your employees too. Working in a well lit and nicely decorated space can help productivity and employee mental health.
You can bring some life and vibrancy into your office by adding some plants. There are many ways that you can add plants to your office, such as hanging plants, regular potted plants or moss walls, that can double as acoustic baffling. Make sure they are well cared for though, as there is nothing that can send a more negative message than a plant which is beginning to wilt and die.
Similar to the office decor, plants can have a big effect on employees mental health and can help to create a much more enjoyable working environment for the whole team.
Be sure to use your business’s brand and values around your office. This can be achieved by putting your companies branding front and centre in your office space. This is a great way to show guests and clients that you have pride in your brand and business. Logos are designed to make a great first impression, after all.
Staff will also feel more involved and proud in a brand if it is displayed in the office, rather than blank white walls. Pride in a business can help to stimulate productivity and it is always wise to get your employees invested in their work. This article on how to brand your small business will give you some great tips on how to get started.
Dress codes have a reputation as being overly restrictive, which isn’t something anyone wants in their workplace. However, if your company has a clear but reasonable dress code, your staff will still be able to express themselves, but also present a consistent standard for your office that can keep your brand identity on track. Clients that visit your office will always notice what your employees are doing and what they are wearing can have an impact on that impression.
Be sure to explain to your staff that the dress code isn’t to restrict or control them, but rather to take advantage of this opportunity to explain your businesses brand mentality to guests in the office.
While your office design cannot replace the impact of your work and reputation, it can make a big impact on existing and potential clients that might visit your office. Using these tips, you can help to capitalise on this untapped resource to help your business to keep and win over clients.