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Does Your Office Space Send the Right Message to Clients?

By: Erin Steiner

 

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Your business makes an impression even before clients or customers get through the front door. No, we’re not talking about your company’s website (though that is important). 

 
This time, we’re talking about the impression your offices make when someone arrives to meet with you. From the moment someone sees the outside of your office building they are forming an impression of you, your company, and what you have to offer them. What do you want that impression to be?
 
It doesn’t matter if you’re the best in your field. If your offices are run down, the paint on your building is peeling (or the building is covered in graffiti), the plants are dying, and the lobby has flickering lights and a funny smell, nobody is going to take you seriously. 
 
So how do you make sure your offices give people the best possible impression of your company?
 
Start with the Outside
 
Make sure that, if you have your own building, it is kept up nicely. Make sure the gutter guards are free of debris and don’t ever overflow. Make sure the paint stays fresh looking or, if you have siding, that it is clean. Keep up with the landscaping. Wash your parking lot and don’t let the lines fade. Wash your windows and doors. Keep your roof maintained so there won’t be any risk of leaks inside your offices.
 
Your Lobby
 
You might like the color, but that burnt sienna crunchy carpet is no longer in style—no matter what anybody tells you. If you have carpeting, make sure it is in a light neutral color (light beige preferably), low pile, and that you keep it vacuumed and spotless.
 
Any furniture included—sofas, chairs, etc.—needs to be in good condition. It’s okay to show some character. It’s okay to even include thrifted furniture if you’re going for a funky, Boho look, but it needs to be structurally sound. It should also be color coordinated.
 
Keep the area straightened up. If you have magazines on hand for people to read, keep them up to date (no 2002 National Geographics or 2004 TV Guides) and straightened up. 
 
The Bullpen/Your Offices
 
How you furnish your offices is up to you and is going to depend quite a lot on the type of clientele you want to attract and impress. Right now, glass and modern lines and bold splashes of color are very in, but perhaps you’re going after an older or old-money crowd. 
 
Whether you’re after a recent trendy look or an older, “richer” look or somewhere in between, it’s a good idea to create a uniform look with your “standard” furniture: desks, chairs, cubicle walls, etc. It’s okay to let your employees personalize their spaces (provided no inappropriate materials are posted), but the basic structure should be identical.
 
Neatness Matters
 
This is especially true if your offices are cubicle based or bullpen based. When you can’t hide a person’s messiness behind closed doors, it is best to keep it from developing in the first place. The last thing you want is a potential client to see piles of papers, trash, and clutter at every turn. Even if your employees are the smartest, savviest, and most productive in town, all a potential client will see is disorganization.
 
Remember: Impressions matter. You want your clients to be impressed with you from the moment they first lay eyes on your business.
Published: October 23, 2013
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