The receptionist is the face and voice of the company. He or she is the first person guests (and clients!) see when they walk into the office, and the last person they see when they leave. No surprise, then, that companies tend to choose their receptionists for their social skills and presentation, as well as their work ethic.
But what about the reception furniture? Do companies spend as much time planning the equipment behind the receptionist as they do hiring for the job? If it's a smart company we're talking about, they do. Picking reception furniture is one of the most important aspects of office design. Here's what you need to figure out before you buy.
1. What's your style?
When figuring out which kind of reception furniture is right for you, you want to determine what sort of vibe your company intends to put out to clients. Are you a classic firm with solid, old school values? Maybe subdued wood is the material for you. Are you a cutting-edge design firm, up on all the current trends and forging the style of tomorrow? Something sleek and contemporary is probably more your speed.
Whichever style you choose, you'll want to make sure that the reception furniture you select is functional as well as attractive. And in order to do that, you need to ask yourself our next question.
2. What does your receptionist do every day?
Let's face it, the days of the single-function receptionist are largely behind us. Most companies can't afford to hire a cheery and ornamental person whose sole function is to greet guests.
In addition to being the first person visitors see when they enter your office, your receptionist might be the chief admin for the company. Or he might be the office party planner, in charge of organizing refreshments for guests and workers alike. Whatever your receptionist's job description, you'll want to make sure they're able to access the tools they need.
What does this mean? Smart planning. If your receptionist needs to access files, make sure she's near the filing cabinet. If he needs to prepare refreshments, make sure he can get to the kitchen.
Whatever your receptionist's other duties, make sure he or she can get out from behind the desk with relative ease. Nothing says awkward like guests waiting five minutes for the receptionist to climb down off their perch.
3. What's your budget?
Last, but definitely not least, you need to ask yourself how much money you want to spend. Anyone who's ever participated in an office redesign knows how quickly costs can mount up. Reception should set a tone for the rest of the company, but obviously you don't want your budget for reception furniture to be bigger than that of the CEO's office. (He gets so cranky when the receptionist has nicer things.)