When buying a cake, the frosting design lures you in. Food for thought (no pun intended), an office can do the same thing for a business. With the push to move to the digital age, sometimes attention on the physical presence gets overlooked.
Here are ten things to think about when assessing an office:
1. An extension of the brand. Make sure each visitor gets positive brand impressions when sitting in a waiting room, conference rooms, bathrooms and offices. Do not just look inside, consider how the building’s exterior, grounds and parking lot look.
2. Location location location. Choose a building in a high-traffic area to increase awareness.
3. Strong signage. Large billboards are not always the most effective form of outdoor advertising. Sometimes it is a professionally produced sign in alignment with the overall brand. Make it easy to recognize from a distance and read when viewers get closer.
4. Decorations. Artwork, pictures, wall colors, plants, certificates, awards, trophies, etc. all can set a mood. Know what the firm’s founding principles and value proposition are, then decorate to match them. For example, if a pediatrician wants to be a trusted care provider and has a full bulletin board of holiday cards with pictures of toddlers that are patients in the waiting room, a prospective parent will feel reassured that they are in the right place.
5. Reading material. Make sure the right marketing collateral is available if a prospect wants to read more about your firm. This is a great opportunity to use impactful reprints of media appearances to gain credibility. Also, in the discovery phase, ask your clients what their hobbies are and know what they read. Putting out magazines, newspapers, coffee books, etc. that match your target market goes a long way to make a positive impression. Provide several choices, but avoid clutter.
6. Comfort. Use natural light to warm a room. Offer your visitors something (e.g. beverages, treats, etc.) that makes them feel at home. Consider using ergonomic chairs or cozy couches, especially if clients sit through long meetings.
7. Privacy and safety. Make your clients feel safe in your workplace. The parking lot should be well lit for early or late meetings. Set the surroundings so confidential conversations cannot be overheard. Make sure your clients know their files are locked up securely and that your electronic information is password protected, encrypted and backed up.
8. Conduct research. Ask a prospect, client or business partner what they think of your space. Their input is the most valuable. (Kind of like way back when I first met my wife… rest in peace bachelor pad.) Also, give staff members the opportunity to provide feedback. They spend more time in the office than anyone else.
9. Get a 3rd-party perspective. Sometimes an outsider is needed to provide a fresh prospective to help achieve larger business goals.
10. Invest in it. Set money aside in the marketing budget to perfect your office space. With each enhancement, the overall impression of the business will be improved.
In the end, let your clients and brand help you decide whether to go the old world traditional, modern or funky contemporary route. Once you have a game plan, evaluate your office using all the five senses: sight, hearing, touch, smell and taste.
If you need help doing an office assessment, Byrnes Consulting can help provide the honest truth and ideas for improvement.