WHAT DOES YOUR OFFICE SAY ABOUT YOUR BUSINESS?
They say you only get one chance to make a first impression – and in business that could be the difference between winning or losing a new client.
Some figures suggest that up to 75% of lost business is based on first impressions. Though websites are increasingly acting as the virtual shop-front for your business, the traditional bricks-and-mortar office still acts a conduit for your company’s brand values and personality, as well as housing your all-important workforce.
When potential partners, existing clients and visitors step into your office space, what does it convey about your business?
- Think about the journey of a newcomer to your premises, be they a client on-site for a meeting or a potential new customer. Ensure your reception area is clear of clutter, parcels and paperwork to avoid looking disorganised. A welcoming atmosphere can be created with a seated waiting area and comfy soft furnishings, whilst the availability of free refreshments may earn you bonus points.
- Reception staff can be the voice of your business, often the first people visitors interact with. If you employ a receptionist, ensure they are courteous, friendly and fully trained in customer service techniques, and provide them with all the equipment they need to offer help if they are asked. If the reception area is unmanned, be sure to leave clear instructions and directions for visitors to avoid ambiguity and stress.
The Importance of Design
- Office furniture might not be the most exciting purchase your business ever makes, but a well thought-out space can make all the difference. Does your office suit your business? Do you want to appear friendly, informal and creative? Corporate and professional? Identify your business’s personality and choose seating, colours and wall art to match. Run-of-the-mill desks and chairs might be the most pocket-friendly option, but the most basic flat-pack desk can be offset with plants and soft furnishings.
- How much space do you have? Try to avoid cramming lots of furniture into a small room to avoid looking overcrowded as it may make your operations feel hectic. Equally, if you have a big empty floor space, the feelings of exposure and cold could leave an impression.
- Does your office space show off your corporate identity? Be proud of who you are – try displaying key moments in the business’s history on the walls, creatively print your brand values onto posters, or ask staff for their favourite motivational quotes. You could also invest in branded accessories, from pens and mugs to sofa cushions, to really put your stamp on the space.
- It might sound obvious, but untidy or downright dirty premises will give the wrong idea about your business and its priorities. Even if there are only a couple of you, employing a local cleaning service is an investment worth making. Engaging a clear desk policy, where staff lock documents away when not at their desk, not only makes the place look tidier but ensures safety, security and compliance measures are being met.
- Your staff are your greatest asset – make the most of them! A 2014 study looked at the idea that personalisation in the office allows employees to express who they are, and suggested staff may even use the opportunity to display thank-you notes which demonstrate their competency, training certificates, or pieces of their best work.
- Creating a fun environment can promote a friendlier, more familial work atmosphere. A happy, healthy workforce can boost productivity and performance, employee engagement and staff morale.
- Have you created a flexible workspace for the 21st century? Whether it’s updating old tech to newer models, adding moveable desks and screens for adaptable working, or creating unusual meeting zones with comfy, informal furnishings, getting creative with the workspace encourages new ideas, creative thinking and flexible working.
Above & Beyond
- Think about the little things that could make life better for staff and visitors. Spending a few extra pennies of the office budget on providing a coat rack will prevent staff from becoming annoyed at jackets trailing from the back of chairs – which can also pose a health and safety hazard.
- Similarly, providing plenty of mugs, lunchtime activities such as a ping pong table, and maybe even branded umbrellas to borrow when it rains, would all reflect well on your business’s generosity.
A key part of creating a safe office space is making sure your property and staff are fully protected. Talk to Howard Insurance about your Office Insurance today.