A reception area is the area of any office or organisation that is used to meet and greet all visitors. Typically, visitors will be welcomed by a receptionist seated behind a reception desk and a waiting area with breakout seating or soft seating will be made available for people to wait until they are met by the person that they came to meet with.
It is also seen as the first chance to create a memorable impression, it is your wow factor and whoever walks into the space should immediately be able to look around and understand straight away what the company does, though branding and taking in visual information from the colours, furniture, lighting, and signage.
In general, the basic requirements for a reception area should all feature:
• A reception desk adapted to the needs of the organisation.
• A comfortable and ergonomic office chair for the receptionist or receptionists.
• Chairs for guests and visitors to use while waiting.
• A coffee table to hold books or magazines or to provide a surface for visitors purses, briefcases, or other personal belongings.
By including the above you will no doubt be on your way to creating a smart and functional reception area for your visitors. But because this is your first time to make that, all important, first impression, why stop there?
Lets start by having a look at how to turn a functional area into space that people really feel comfortable in.
The reception area should be welcoming for visitors and employees alike. Working practices have evolved over recent years and agile working means we should be able to work from many places within a building. If space allows, create a reception area where staff can work independently. This would provide a more calming, inclusive environment with a sense of belonging and identity serving as a reminder they are part of the companys bigger picture.
There are still many more factors to consider when creating a welcoming reception area, so let us also look at some of our suggestion and tips to make your reception area feel more like a destination, a great place to be, rather than a mundane waiting space.
An Accessible Reception Desk
As the first point of contact your clients will have with your company, the reception desk should be welcoming and clearly visible as soon as visitors enter the building. A large and stylish reception desk can make a that all important visual impact. Your statement area should ideally be designed so that the receptionist is at eyelevel with visitors upon their arrival.
Once you have decided on the style and finish (wood, gloss, corian glass or metal) of the reception desk it is worth making sure that disabled visitors and staff members are able to access the desk too. Usually this involves a lower desk section or a DDA (Disability Discrimination Act) compliant unit which allows for wheelchair users to sign in without having to reach up.
It is also important to consider the footprint of the reception desk in the available space. Will the desk be used by one or two receptionists? If used by two people could you consider a desk with a smaller depth (600mm instead of 800mm) to allow for movement and space behind the desk? Our most popular Avalon reception desk range which also is available in the shallower depth of 600mm with the option of having a DDA sections too.
Comfort is essential in waiting areas, so providing adequate seating for your clients and visitors should be a priority. Adding sofas or modular sofas will be a great way of ensuring your clients can relax happily while waiting and can also be a useful way of introducing branding and company colours to the area.
Reception areas can also be quite busy and noisy so adding furniture with acoustic properties will be of real benefit, for example high back sofas such as the Haven (below) Harc sofa and Andreas chairs can offer a good deal of privacy and acoustical protection.
Another aspect which will help your visitors feel more relaxed is to offer them accessible laptop and phone charging ports within the seating, or nearby. Dedicated business professionals move from one task to another while on the go and accommodating their tech needs will score big points with them.
Laptop tables are also a good idea so that visitors can work comfortably if they are going to be waiting longer than anticipated.
Company colours and branding
Making a clear, stylish statement that shows your clients that they are in the right place can be an excellent way of making visitors more comfortable. A well thought out and designed welcome sign in your company colours or artwork will add an element of visual interest for visitors and start ice breaker conversations.
It is your chance to tell your story and showcase your success, so a company historical timeline on the wall with milestone images could be a fun way to do this? Or it could be a chance to display industry awards and certifications. The Novus Steel Storage Units or are ideal units for this and come with planters to add some calming biophilia.
Lighting has a big influence on our wellbeing and emotions so it is important to get it right. A well-lit comfortable and friendly reception area builds trust and gives orientation. Reception areas have to have adequate lighting levels to give visitors time to adapt to the lighting on entering and leaving the building.
On a more technical level there are a number of illumination recommendation levels that should be adhered to measured in LUX (lux is a unit of illumination) with reception areas generally being 300 lux recommended by CIBSE Chartered Institute of Building Services Engineers.
The important aspect if lighting a reception area is to create a balance, too bright and you will give visitors (and reception staff) a blinding headache. Too dim and you will give off a cavernous vibe.
Plants and Moss Walls
By bringing a little bit of the outdoors inside you can improve visitor and employee wellbeing levels which will make your reception area more welcoming. Incorporating large potted plants by the entrance, complemented by smaller potted plants on shelves or on the reception counter itself is a great place to start for an instant natural feel.
Living walls have also been working their way in to reception areas and offices lately with architects and specifiers push for greener building and environmental credentials. Living walls also give staff the opportunity to look after plants, which is quite good for moral and wellbeing.
For those who may not want the maintenance of a living wall you can achieve the same effect by introducing moss wall panels instead. Moss wall panels known as Naturemoss is one of the most authentic, practical and affordable way to access the world of biophilic design.
Be mindful and keep the space minimal.
With these points taken onboard it is also important to not go overboard on plants or accessories because too much stuff in the reception area can look cluttered and reflect negatively on your brand. Remember less is more so make it simple but significant. Your guest or visitor just needs to feel calm and welcomed and not overstimulated. You do not need to stack the coffee table with books and magazine, just three or four good books will suffice.
We hope that this blog has been useful and will help you to create a welcoming reception area which represents your companys values and culture.
Generally, It pays to keep things simple, so by following some of these tips you should make your visitors, guests, and staff feel welcome in no time!
And finally, Office Reality have been designing reception desks and reception areas for a number of years and we know that it can be daunting task Give us a call If you if need some help. Our in house design team can visualise your space, using the latest in 3d technology, ahead of the procurement process.
Thanks for reading.