The office lounge is often an overlooked part of the workplace because it simply is not where the work happens. This shouldn’t be the case, as these are the spaces that set the very first impression for clients coming into the office. An office lounge is the perfect opportunity not only to impress, but to express your company culture. Above all else, it should feel welcoming and it should always be neat, but there are some design tips and tricks to guarantee the perfect lounge space. The best way to do this is to positively engage all of their senses…
Seeing is Believing in Your Company
To engage a person’s sense of sight, the office lounge will have to be visually engaging. The office lounge is the best place in the office to add fun and creativity to the workspace. This is the place for casual conversation, as well as meet and greet. It shouldn’t be an extension of humdrum work-life, but should instead showcase your company’s culture.
|Color is the best way to begin. Studies in psychology show that bright colors lift mood positivity, meaning that a person will already be positively engaged in your company. Does your business logo have specific colors on it? This is the perfect place to show your company pride by showcasing them tastefully, or even by giving a wall a touch of modern decoration with the logo largely decaled on it. Want to really make it modern? Forgo color altogether, glass walls are wonderful design factors and are installed far more easily than many imagine.
|Ditch The Clichés. Nothing is less inspiring than an image of a beautiful sunset with an inspirational quote hung crookedly on the wall. While inspirational pictures are chosen with the best intentions, most people find them to be cliché and tell nothing about the company itself. In addition to using a company logo as decoration, as aforementioned, adding a fun item is like when a person wears a statement piece of jewelry—it ties in perfectly, but can’t help but being admired. Have fun with office art! Perhaps you have a light fixture made of recycled bottles, a collage made into a mural, or even a retro bicycle in the corner. Have fun and humanize the space!
Get Greens. There’s something about bringing the outdoors inside that people find comforting. Whatever it is, getting a houseplant or small tree (now that’s impressive!) instantly sends the right message to your clients. Well, so long as they’re maintained and not dying, that is…Consider air plants for a more modern look and minimal maintenance.
A Comforting Touch
Even if your space has an impressive design, a visitor can still be turned off by uncomfortable furniture. While the furniture should match the décor of the office lounge, it should also be comfortable because the entire point of an office lounge is to make a person coming into your workspace feel comfortable and at ease. Got ergonomic furniture? Even better! There are many furniture options to achieve the perfect balance of look and feel, and a lounge should always have the following:
Couch. A couch should be included in your office lounge because the space should be able to accommodate as many guests as possible or even coworkers who want to use the space to collaborate on ideas. Since this will likely be the biggest component of the space, besides the walls, the couch should definitely be chosen for both aesthetic and comfort. Many offices are choosing a modern, sleek look, but you can easily make this you statement piece by choosing a bold color or even a retro look.
Chairs. Again, an office lounge should be able to accommodate as many people as possible, but guests and visitors should also have the option of where they sit. Many people would feel uncomfortable if the only available space was to sit shoulder to shoulder with a stranger on a couch. The chairs can match the couch or take on a look of their own with different colors. Perhaps your chairs are red and modern or a total “Wow!” factor made from salvaged airplane metal. Once again, choose your pieces wisely and creatively, but make sure to do a sit-test before you buy. Remember, comfort is key.
Coffee Table. A coffee table, whether you choose a large one to go before a couch or a small one to sit at a chair’s side, is absolutely necessary. When clients come into your office, they may have items such as files or even a coffee that they won’t want to have in their hands while they wait. It is common courtesy to offer guests a drink of water or another beverage when they enter (more on the below), but it would then be extremely awkward if there was no where to put the drink down. To put it on the couch or chair arm could be a disastrous mess and to put the cup on the floor can be interpreted as insulting. A coffee table eliminates this awkward moment. It also is a place where the company can put out courtesy reading material for the guests’ entertainment if they have to wait for a longer period of time.
The Smell Of Success
Scent can do wonderful things when it comes to making a positive impression. It’s something no one thinks to look for in an office environment and yet it is immediately noticed when present. Investing in an air freshener or essential oil diffuser is an excellent way to engage this often overlooked sense. Smells can trigger memories, even subconsciously, and choosing the right scents can not only relax a guest, but put them in a positive frame of mind without them even realizing why.
We briefly mentioned before how offering beverages makes a good impression. Just as if someone were to come into your home, you should offer a glass of water to any visitor in the office. If your breakroom is well stocked, offering a complementary coffee or snack can help to set the right tone. The fact is that some people coming into your office may have had a long drive over and could use a pick-me-up before their important meeting or interview, or perhaps they were in a rush and didn’t get to eat breakfast. Offering food and drink to visitors is a simple gesture that costs little to nothing for a business and makes all the right impressions of hospitality.
Set The Right Tone
The last sense that can be played upon is hearing. Nothing says boring better than silence interrupted by a telephone ring from some corner of the office, and silence can also make a space seem intimidating to some people. The solution to this is easy. Like scent, certain sounds can put a person at ease. Unless it is the annoying drip of a leaky faucet, people are hardwired to positively response to the sound of water. Tiny fountains that can rest on coffee tables bring in the sounds of nature without the mess. Music can also be softly played. Depending on your company culture, perhaps the receptionist has a Pandora station playing a selection of alternative or smooth jazz music. Music puts people at ease and allows the guest to make a human connection to the place without interacting with anyone.
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