First impressions count. In fact, you only need to count to 7 before one is fully formed. And just as a potential employee wouldn’t dream of showing up to an interview in their pyjamas, those posing the questions should look and act the part too. As they say, a job interview is a two-way process, with both parties out to impress each other. Like we said, those first few seconds count.

But even before interviewer and interviewee have exchanged their first awkward pleasantries (do I go in for a kiss on the cheek?), there’s opportunity to leave a lasting impact. Yep, this game of seduction starts in the waiting room, whether it’s for possible new members of staff or future clients and investors. With this in mind, here are 5 IDEAL steps to sprucing up your office reception area.

FENG SHUI FIX UP

Regardless of whether or not you’re convinced by the healing powers of thoughtfully arranged furniture, a little effort in the layout of your waiting room will certainly be noticed, subconsciously at the very least. We’re not saying this is some sort of subversive act, just a considered attempt at some order and balance.

Think carefully about the shape of your reception desk; oval is best for optimum chi energy flow. It also, more simply, has a welcoming, communal air fit for its function. The position of the receptionist is crucial too. He or she shouldn’t have their back to the door, and will ideally be as opened out to the room as possible. This also works in common sense terms. Never underestimate the power of a little declutter too; ‘tidy desk, tidy mind’ and all that. Finally, maximise the room’s natural light potential. That means no filing cabinets, fridges or desks blocking windows.

PLANT POWER

Having a reception room with no plants can be aesthetically boring and makes the space look plain. The air purifying qualities of houseplants, and their reassuring, natural scent, brings great energy to a room.

If the upkeep on actual plants is a pain, even adding a few artificial trees, faux flower arrangements, topiary or artificial tropical plants can give your waiting room a touch of the natural. You’d be surprised at the difference a couple of boxwood topiary trees can make to a room.

EASY ACCESS WIFI & PRODUCTIVE INFRASTRUCTURE

An open wifi, an obvious display of the internet password or one which requires registration to gain access, is a must in modern reception areas. No one likes actual, human contact, sadly, so make it easy for people to log on without having to ask. This promotes a connectivity and sense of community (ironically) which will impress company suitors. Having charging stations or perhaps even a couple of desktop macs for use while they waits is another way to provide productive infrastructure.

SHOW YOUR CREATIVE SIDE

Pictures and photographs can be a great way to inspire creativity and a feeling of wellness. Of course, choose your pieces wisely and don’t overdo it; clutter is the enemy of a good working culture. Something for guests to ponder while they await their fate, perhaps at the abstract end of the spectrum, is definitely a good move.

REFRESHMENT READY

Mouths can get a little parched when waiting for an important meeting or interview. A rumbling stomach, too, isn’t going to settle anyone’s nerves or steel their focus. A water dispenser, at the very least, is required. A vending machine grants a little autonomy to visitors, but looks unsightly in a room of minimalist high-function. Perhaps a small tray of healthy snacks and other beverages such as juices is the perfect compromise. This shows a company which cares for its clients and cadre. 

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Rachel is the beauty and fashion director at IDEAL. She loves trying new products and is an avid fan of London's fashion, from the high end to the high street.