Your reception area creates an instant impression for visitors and sets the tone for their visit. Despite the obvious importance of this area one of the biggest challenges (or failures) I see in new office design is getting the reception desk right; or more specifically, getting the design of the reception desk right from the receptionist’s side.
Spend your money wisely
When you’re redesigning a workplace, the reception desk is often the most expensive piece of furniture in the entire office. It’s not unusual to spend something in the range of $5000 to $20,000 on this one item, and not unheard of for some organisations to spend much more (a government department was recently said to have spent $74,000 on a real ‘statement’ piece!).
If you’re planning on investing in a custom-made reception desk, it really makes sense to get the design right both for your visitors and for the people who are going to spend most of their working day sitting there. Most receptionists these days spend long periods of time on a computer on top of answering calls and greeting guests, so it’s essential that ergonomics is factored into their desk design.
What can go wrong with reception desks?
Lighting and materials
I recently saw a desk that was made from recycled materials. With a large piece of glass placed over the top it certainly looked stylish and the glass served the purpose of stopping items falling through the desktop slats very well. Unfortunately, the down lights that had been chosen to add ambience in the reception area reflected straight off the glass, shining directly back into the receptionist’s eyes.
All too often I see fixed reception desks built in at a height too high for even the tallest of receptionists. If people are using a computer, this is a real hazard for creating neck and shoulder tension.
Poorly positioned storage space
Storage space is often positioned so that it’s out of sight for visitors. While this looks great from the visitor’s perspective, it can leave the receptionist with an awkward lean as they bend down to pick out files and has the potential for back issues.
Make your investment count – a smile is priceless
All it takes to balance form and function when it comes to designing your reception area is forethought.
With some input on the ergonomics of the design – done in consultation with the end user – creating a beautiful looking reception desk with functional workspace can still be achieved for the same cost. In other words, make sure someone talks to the receptionist before any plans are drawn up.
If you’re intending to shift premises or revamp your reception area and would like some objective advice, get in touch. We’d love to help you get that balance just right and help put a smile on your receptionist’s face. Their comfort will help to provide a happy employee who is giving a genuinely warm greeting to the people walking through your door – and a great reception doesn’t come any better than that!