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We all know that first impressions count, and even more so in business. Whether it's the first encounter with your sales team or customer contact centre, a visit to your website or walk into your reception area, each of these touch-points can make or break that first impression.

The reception area is where your company welcomes its clients, potential customers, prospective employees, investors and suppliers. It's essential that your office reception design reflects how you want each and every visitor to perceive you.

1.Functionality

The reception has the highest footfall within your office space so durable and long-lasting materials and finishes are a must. Specialist entrance surfaces that remove dirt and moisture from feet ensure floor coverings are adequately protected and maintenance costs are reduced.

One aspect of office reception design that's often overlooked is the requirement for this space to provide an impromptu meeting space. It's worth allowing some extra space around the desk for people to gather and not obstruct the entrance.

2. DDA compliant office furniture

In addition to layout, lighting and flooring, office furniture plays a key role in your office reception design and some would argue that the right type of furniture has the biggest impact on how your company is perceived by visitors.

The reception desk is an important part of your reception; new desks now need to be "Disability Discrimination Act 2005" (DDA) compliant. The reception area needs to be DDA friendly which means lower counter tops and wheelchair void in the reception desk (to allow wheelchair users to wheel right up to the lowered counter and sign in). All signage within the reception area needs to be at the correct height too.

Your reception desk can be both compliant and a stunning centrepiece of your reception. With stylish sweeping curves, beautiful colours, company branding and lighting, it will create an attractive focal point.

You need to provide adequate seating but single seats are better that sofas, especially 2-seater sofas as you'll usually find that they'll only be used by one person.

3. Branding

Your office reception area is the obvious choice for promoting your branding, but it goes further than that. Your office reception area should embody your organisational identity. Whether the message you are trying to communicate is creativity, transparency, innovation and or team work, your reception should reflect this.