The lobby is often the first area of your business that clients and partners are going to see, so it’s important to make sure this lobby is capable of making an awesome first impression. It’s unlikely that anyone is going to spend millions of dollars with your company just because they like your lobby, but a professional, clean, welcoming lobby can be one piece of the puzzle that eventually secures your next deal.
It’s also a great way to demonstrate leadership and competence within your organization, making employees feel more pride in their workplace and eventually fostering greater brand loyalty.
The question is, what steps can you take to make your lobby more impressive?
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Open Up the Space
One option for some business owners is to open up the space. Walking into a lobby with high ceilings, plenty of room to move around, and relatively minimalistic design is going to make a much better impression than walking into a lobby that feels claustrophobic and limiting. Of course, you may be limited by the architecture of your current building, but there are steps you can take to create the illusion of more open space, should you choose to take them; for example, eliminating unnecessary walls and adding mirrors can make the space feel more open.
Give Visitors a Warm Welcome
Make sure all your visitors receive a warm welcome. The easiest way to accomplish this is to have a receptionist, a security guard, or some other designated professional authority available in the lobby to greet guests and provide them with any information they might need. This person needs to be educated and trained on how to properly welcome people and should have an indiscriminately cheery, professional demeanor.
Invest in a Fireplace
A fireplace instantly makes your lobby distinguished, warmer, and more inviting. Nothing makes you feel more at home in winter than walking into a warm building with a crackling fire; even in summer, a business with a fireplace in the lobby makes an unmistakable impression.
There are many different types of fireplaces available, using different types of fuel and offering very different aesthetics. If you’re willing to shop around, you should be able to find something perfect for your brand and the overall look and feel of your lobby.
Provide Directions and Information
Your receptionist should be able to provide information to any guest who asks for it, but it’s still a good idea to provide directions, instructions, and other information for any guests who might need it if the receptionist is unavailable or if they prefer to do things on their own. Prominent signs, an intuitive flow, and directional arrows on the floors and walls can all be helpful.
Apply Fresh Paint (With Calming Colors)
Colors can affect your mood, even if you don’t consciously notice any internal changes when looking at different colors. Consider adding more calming colors to your lobby to make it feel easier and more welcoming. Also, make sure the paint stays fresh since paint is cheap, and fresher paint can make the area look cleaner and newer.
Keep It Clean
Speaking of cleanliness, do whatever it takes to keep the area clean. Hire professional help and make sure they know to do regular checks throughout the day to pick up trash, sweep the floors, and address any issues that could lead to a worse impression of your brand.
Upgrade the Furniture
Not all of your guests are going to take advantage of the furniture in your lobby, but for those that do, it’s important to have the best furniture your brand can afford. The difference between a cheap, flimsy chair and a luxurious, nap-worthy chair is hard to put into words; a single seating experience could make the difference in how your lobby feels to a given guest.
Biophilia is a term that explains innate human fondness for nature. You can take advantage of natural human biophilia by including more elements of the natural world in your lobby. The simplest way to do this is to include more indoor plants, but you can also have more lavish trellises with active vines, beautiful displays of flowers, or even aquariums for guests to look at and enjoy.
Consider Creating an Employee Gathering Area
You can also consider making your lobby, at least partially, an employee gathering area. Adding a small cafe or a cafeteria to the lobby could make your workplace seem fuller and livelier, while simultaneously giving employees a chance to bond and enjoy themselves outside of their typical work environment.
There are no firm rules for what you can or can’t do in your business lobby, so feel free to exercise some creativity. Any effort you make to upgrade your lobby and make it more welcoming is bound to have an impact on your incoming guests.