Modern offices’ design often overlooks a key user group – their visitors. These might be clients, business partners, investors, media representatives, or potential job applicants.
Today, every company that’s at least a little progressive is aware that it can’t just offer its workers a desk, a chair, and a tiny kitchen with an electric kettle – that the upcoming millennial generation also demands pleasant, healthy, and inspiring offices with plenty of benefits.
But there’s a tendency to forget a second important group among the users of modern office complexes: their visitors. These might be clients, business partners, investors, media representatives, or potential job applicants.
And consider negotiations, for example – in the worst case, participants’ experiences on the way in can ruin how they turn out. Yet for many buildings, the entry process is still more like conquering a fortress than visiting a friend.
Do you want to impress with stark and elegant luxury like the new Bloomberg headquarters in London?
So how can you give your office’s visitors a better experience?
1. If it’s at all possible and you have free parking spots at your building, let your guests use them without having to ask. Here in Prague with its many “blue zones,” it will make their lives significantly easier.
2. One mission for every reception is to make a great first impression. Each company can decide for itself whether it wants to impress with stark and elegant luxury (like the new Bloomberg headquarters in London) or create a relaxed atmosphere (like what Salesforce does at its New York building).
In any case, the lobby should be memorable. For example one of the new World Trade Center buildings is “guarded” by a giant gummy-bear statue.
Or do you want to create a relaxed atmosphere like what Salesforce does at its New York building? Does it remind you more of a camping site with a statue of bear in the back? Photo by Josef Šachta
3. The receptionist is equally important. Today they’re no longer an annoyed “expert business card provider and parcel storer”. They’re now more like a hotel concierge. Innovative developers such as Skanska, HB Reavis, and Immofinanz are already testing this concept in practice.
4. The process for a visitor’s security registration should be as agreeable as possible. Ask yourself if this process is truly serving your company’s goals, and whether all of the data you demand is really needed. Several software companies, including e.g. Sharry Europe, are already offering complete solutions specially designed for modern receptions.
5. A visitor should be able to make their way to the elevators intuitively, without help from the receptionist. Individual companies should be marked near the floor selector. If a visitor card sets the floor automatically, this should be made completely clear to visitors.
6. All the matters in point 2 also apply for your company’s internal reception inside the building. In our experience there’s a frequent predicament here where a guest has to sit forever behind a glass door until the receptionist – who has been busy with some other duty – finally arrives. If the visitor has registered in the lobby, they should ideally already be expected at the next reception.
Think about the experience you’re providing for your office’s visitors. You just might be surprised.
Photo by yann maignan/Unsplash