Unless your business operates online only, run by a single person or happen to be a top secret government office, you’re going to have visitors. Whether they’re customers, clients, investors, job candidates, suppliers, salespeople or a representative from HM Revenue Customs, they will have to walk through your work space.

The first thing guests will see, will be your reception area. Your space could have a palatial atrium, simple hallway, or a red carpet; whatever it may be, visitors will always have first impressions of your business; based on what they first encountered.

In terms of ‘visitor management systems’, it is essential to fashion a great first impression from visitors.

RECEPTION CHECKLIST

DESIGN

The interior design (furniture, layout, colours) should always coincide with your business’s ethics – focus on creating harmony. For example, if your business is based around traditional values, then your reception area shouldn’t resemble the interior of a museum or a playground.

SEATING

Unless your business can assure visitors that there will be no waiting, then it’s probably a wise choice to find a place for them to sit comfortably – it shows that you’re thoughtful. Providing books, magazines or tools for entertainment would also enhance visitor’s impression of the office. Remember tacky magazines resemble doctor’s waiting rooms, so think of new and creative ways to entertain. Also, importantly remember to provide enough seats for your visitors.

WAY FINDING & SIGNS

A clearly written and visible sign post of your business’s name couldn’t be more necessary. Visitors will need to know whether they are at the right place or not. There is nothing worse than the feeling that you aren’t. Always make sure your guests know the layout of your space – where the toilets, offices, board rooms are. From a safety aspect have signs in place for fire evacuation procedures, with exits clearly marked. If by any chance your office will need to evacuate, your visitor will know exactly what to do.

ACCESSIBILITY

Don’t forget to consider “easy access” in the layout of the office. You have a legal responsibly to welcome everyone into your space and by creating an “easy access” you’re allowing individuals with disabilities to enter also. Always keep in mind visitors in wheelchairs, it’s usually these disadvantaged individuals that can’t access most buildings.

WI­FI

Wi­Fi is essential, everyone is ‘connected’, almost all of the time. Providing visitors with a password for the Wi­Fi could be a wonderfully thoughtful tool to keep them entertained – giving them the opportunity to flick through emails. HEALTH &

SAFETY

It’s always a great idea to think of ways to check visitor in. Health & Safety regulations require you to keep a log of the visitors coming through that day – in case of a fire. The log will give you the ability to know who has come into the building. You could collect information through a visitors book or maybe even through a visitor management system. If you choose to use a visitors book, remember to figure out a system to protect the visitor’s information.

CLEANLINESS

Regardless if the space is old or new, it should always remain clean and the fresh. No One wants to walk in, and sit in a grimy place. It’s important to keep the floor swept or vacuumed, the surfaces dust free and rubbish emptied regularly.

HUMAN TOUCH

If your reception area is staffed, then it’s worthwhile letting your receptionist know what sort of greeting various visitors will require – “enthusiastic yet professional” is a great one to go by. To conclude, however you decide to personalise your reception area, it’s always important to remember that it must be welcoming, secure, professional and practical.

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