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We’ve all heard the saying first impressions count, which is especially important in business. When entering an office or workplace, whether you’re a client, employee, visitor or customer, one of the first things you will face will be the reception area. And although smaller office spaces may not have a reception, those that do set a standard of friendliness and comfort.

When designing and planning a reception area for your office, there will be several questions and concerns that pop up. For example, you might need to consider who will be using the space, how often and what it will be used for. Whether it’s primarily used for clients waiting for their meeting, just a check-in point for customers or even a break-out space for employees, the area must reflect the business whilst optimising comfort and function.

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The different uses of an office reception

As mentioned above, one of the key things to consider when planning a workplace reception area is what it is actually going to be used for, and this will depend on your business goals and the daily running of the company. For instance, a reception desk in one office may just be used for entry permissions whilst another might be used to hold meetings and interviews. Once you decide on the main purpose of the space, you can then explore more specific details such as sizing, furniture placements, technology usage, interior design and space planning. Here are just a few ways in which a reception area could be used in your office.

  • Welcome station for guests and visitors: in large offices specifically, guests and visitors need to know where they’re going or seek assistance if needed. That’s where the reception comes in. This reception type will typically have a receptionist or digital software for people to check in and ask any questions either as soon as they enter or even throughout the day.
  • A waiting area for guests, visitors and staff: there are a number of reasons as to why you might need a space for people to sit and wait before entering the main part of an office. For example, in an interview, a client or investor may use the reception area to wait and relax before having their meeting.
  • Meeting space or privacy zone: as reception areas are typically separate from the main office space, this makes them a great place to hold meetings or have private conversations away from the rest of the company.
  • A focal area for brand identity: combining any of the above with brand interiors, many companies use a reception area to really reflect their brand, demonstrating their values and beliefs whilst mastering that first impression.
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Things to consider when designing an office reception area

Here are some of the key aspects to consider when designing or investing in an office reception area.

Layout and space planning

When designing any space or room, the layout and space planning process will be at the forefront of the project, with spacing, ergonomics, sizing and the flow of the space impacting the overall planning process and design solutions. When designing a reception area, the layout of the space is crucial as it needs to be easily navigated and flow with the movement of people.

Signage and communication

Similar to the overall layout, a reception area must include signage and clear communication for those who are visiting the office externally to ensure they have sufficient navigation. Most offices will have a simple sign to point to the reception area itself but must also have signs to point people in the right direction beyond that point. These signs must include things such as toilets, exits and entrances, room numbers or departments.

Welcoming receptionists or technological support

With the main purpose of a reception area to be to greet and assist visitors, there must be some sort of support in place such as human interaction or interactive digital software. The more traditional aspect of a receptionist enables visitors to come face to face with a member of staff and experience optimal customer service and a welcoming atmosphere, something technology lacks. On the flip side, many businesses are opting for digital alternatives such as computer check-ins or scanners to improve efficiency.

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Security and privacy

In terms of security and privacy in reception, there are several different measures to consider. For example, there must be security in place in regard to accessing the wider building, whether that be fingerprint recognition, card readers or CCTV. Depending on how the reception is being used, there will also need to be privacy and data protection solutions in place to keep everyone’s information safe.

Branding and commercial interior design

Apart from the practicality element of an office, the interior design aspect is of course a huge contribution towards first impressions, brand identity and the overall feel of an office. When designing your reception area, it’s important to have a similar design scheme as the rest of the office including any branding such as logo design, colour themes, font work and graphics.

Read more through our commercial interior design guide.

Furniture choice and placement

If your reception area is being used as a waiting room or meeting space for staff, the furniture choice will play a big role in the comfort and aesthetic. Furniture not only needs to be comfortable and placed logically but will also need to be in line with any ergonomics and health and safety regulations.

Office design and refurbishments

If you want to transform your office into a creative space or add a reception area to an existing building, get in touch with the ACI team and we’ll work to design, plan and install your new space.

Our office design and refurbishment service covers the whole of the UK, focusing on offices and commercial spaces including education, retail, industrial and showrooms.

To enquire about our services, get in touch with a member of our team on 0115 939 7572 and we can advise you on the next steps.