You don’t get a second chance at a first impression.
It’s a cliché, but it’s true. And in the business world, a poor first impression can mean lost deals and missed revenue.
We all know the business basics of how to make a good first impression: smile, perfect your handshake, make eye contact and use positive and confident body language.
But we don’t always consider the environment we choose for that first impression. For a company hosting a potential client, the office is a physical representation of the company’s culture and values. While clients ultimately want a company that can get a job done well, the company’s image ties into the client’s hiring decision.
Here’s how intelligent office design can help companies win business.
The Power of Strong Visuals
Consider the power of visual merchandising on purchase decisions. The same emotional principles apply to both consumer goods and business services.
A company’s service is their product, the client is the consumer and the office is the visual merchandising. A well-designed office is great packaging for your service and will trigger emotional connections that inspire purchases – or, in this case, the retention of a company by a potential client.
Your work environment’s aesthetic should be reflective of your brand. For example, if your company provides a creative service then an outspoken and exciting aesthetic might be the best fit. For a corporate company that deals with a more reserved clientele, then a clean, modern aesthetic might serve to convey that message.
Incorporating a Strategic Layout
Your office layout should be aligned with the message that you want to send to a prospective client.
There’s no set formula for office layout but it can affect the dynamic in the room. For instance, a personal office with a desk stationed between you and the client can show prestige, but it can also act as a barrier. A less formal arrangement can give the impression of an engaged and friendly company that values team spirit.
If the goal is to stimulate conversation – about designs or documents – a conference table is ideal. But be mindful of positioning. Sitting across the table from somebody can create a competitive atmosphere. Round tables create a more relaxed and informal atmosphere.
In fact, studies have shown that curved spaces and furniture evoke feelings of relaxation and hopefulness more than rectangular furniture does.
Furniture and Décor Selection
Furniture and décor aren’t just for functionality. Utilizing a consistent, thoughtful furniture and décor selection throughout the office is crucial. Too much can be overwhelming, too little can have the opposite effect. Modern, well-kept furniture, tasteful art pieces and decorative objects will create a comfortable place for your clients to visit.
The benefits of great furniture extend far beyond aesthetics – ergonomic furniture creating physical comfort for clients will create a positive association with your workplace and, in turn, your company.
Colour Selection is Crucial
Colour plays a big role in the way a space makes us feel. There are a number of proven ties between colours and the evocation of certain emotions and feelings. Given the tie between visual merchandising and purchase decisions, it’s important to pick a colour scheme that evokes the right emotions.
Determine which colours and styles that would be reflective of your industry. For example a bright pink office might not convey the professional image a financial institution wants to convey.
Here are a few colours, the feelings they’ve been known to evoke and scenarios in which they might create the right emotional to help secure business:
- Red is a great colour to stimulate alertness and action but you wouldn’t want to incorporate it into a waiting room. Red can create impatience – and the last thing you want for a first impression is an impatient client in a meeting in which you’re trying to close a deal. It’s also not ideal for a room in which you plan to conduct negotiations as it may cause irritation and aggression.
- Orange or yellow are earthy shades that feel warm, comforting and secure. They can offer an informal atmosphere that stimulates communication and socialization which can encourage laid-back and low-pressure conversation.
- Blue and green are the most commonly well-received colours by both men and women and are also known to be the most relaxing and stress-reducing. Blue has been associated with reliability which is why it’s often used in the logos of many famous brands – such as American Express, Facebook, Ford, Oreo, GM, Intel and many more.
Choosing the right colour scheme is integral but is also challenging to get right, which is why many organizations choose to opt for safer monochromatic options that can be sleek and effective.
Designing an office that evokes the right first impression doesn’t have to be costly, but it shouldn’t be overlooked – a well-designed office can actually help companies win business.