Modern companies pay great attention to office design — and it isn’t just for bragging rights. Every workplace has a specific feel, and this ambiance will have a very real effect on how people engage with your business. While there are various goals that you can strive to achieve, one of the primary objectives should always be comfort. This should factor in how employees will feel in your space, but you cannot overlook the most important people to every business: clients.
You want to ensure that anyone who comes into your space is instantly at ease and will be happy to stay as long as it takes to close the next deal.
No amenity or design feature will save you if your pitch is weak. But by taking care to optimize the following four elements, you can make sure that all guests will be comfortable in your space.
1. Build by Design
Most workplaces are very bland. They, at best, feel like a personality-free hotel lobby. Though this approach is sure to offend nobody, it won’t inspire anyone either. So instead of playing it completely safe (and boring), try adding a bit of originality.
Using artwork or decor that reflect the local area is one great idea. Or, especially if you business warrants it, consider adding some photos, statues or other imagery that aligns with the products or services you provide. Perhaps best of all, add some plants to liven up the space. Even just a few of these elements can completely change the mood and make the location feel much more inviting.
2. See the Light
Lighting is one of the biggest factors in environmental design, but many people still continue to overlook its importance. In most offices, bland and oppressive fluorescent lighting still reigns supreme. While this is understandable (for cost control reasons anyway), you can significantly improve how people feel in your location by making a few alterations. Even if you just add a lamp or two in your individual office, rather than overhaul fixtures across an entire floor, this type of small lighting change can make clients feel more relaxed during meetings.
As with design and lighting, the furniture used in most workplaces makes them look like an Office Depot. Changing this up may add some marginal cost, but it will be well worth it if you can make visitors more comfortable. They will notice if you add elements that look better and actually make them want to sit back and put their feet up when they stop by. At the same time, you can reap great rewards by upgrading the desk chairs that your employees use. The slight uptick in expense will be made back almost instantly if you can increase overall productivity by even the tiniest amount.
4. Safety First
Though it is often overlooked, safety will always be key to comfort. If people are worried about their personal security, they cannot relax. It’s as simple as that. Though people may not explicitly note these elements, they will feel something is off when it isn’t evident that safety is a priority. This goes beyond simply having fire extinguishers and exit signs on display. Be sure to have clear, visible signs that the property is secure, from entry protocols and well-maintained facilities to a security camera system and security personnel if appropriate.
The Comfort Zone
Most workplaces feel the same. By standing out from the pack, you can make a big difference. There can be some risk in bucking the norm of boring and forgettable office environments, but adding an extra touch will usually result in guests and clients remembering your company and feeling more comfortable when they visit.
The best ways to make people feel relaxed are through subtle tweaks. Add a bit of personality with design elements, make some smart lighting choices, invest in good furniture and ensure that everyone feels safe from the moment they enter your space.