It’s human nature to make snap decisions – about other people, about situations and about places. You’ll probably have heard that new visitors to your website take just a fraction of a second to decide whether they will stay longer or not: you have only a few moments to attract their attention.
The same is true of meeting someone for the first time. The ‘caveman’ instinct is to assess people quickly to decide whether they are safe or not. Right or wrong, whether in a personal or business context this can set the tone for future interactions.
When you invite people to your office for the first time, the same dynamic is at work. More than this, how your office is decorated and fitted out implicitly gives out messages about the kind of company you are and the type of people who work there. Office interior design is therefore far more important than simply looking good. It’s one of the first ways that people will take their cues about what really matters to your business.
Branding and Office Design
Corporate branding is important here: if you want to present a consistent message about your company, inside and outside the office, then you need to make sure that what’s in the building is aligned with what you project to customers. If it’s not, anyone who comes into your office – including employees, casual visitors and business clients – is going to receive mixed messages.
This has significant implications for your office design and fit out. If your brand emphasises customer service but there are no comfortable chairs for visitors to sit on while they wait, or no refreshments available, then they are going to suspect that your external brand is just for show and that its message is no more than a hollow effort to attract new customers.
Or if it communicates the virtues of freedom and choice but your employees are shut in dingy cubicles and there is no flexibility in where they work or the hours they are required in the office, there is once again a mismatch in perceptions.
Not only that, but your employees themselves will be your harshest critics. Social media and websites like Glassdoor allows people to post anonymous feedback about what it’s like to work at different companies: rest assured that if you’re not creating the right impression with your office fit out and the culture that goes with it, they will be the first to say so.
We have created a short eBook entitled Office Design Matters – if you are interested in finding out how you can create a productive, collaborative, creative workplace that staff love, click here to get your copy.