For customer-facing businesses who will regularly have clients on-site, it's vital to have a quality lobby or waiting room area in place. This is a location where visitors will be greeted and will get their first visual impression of a business, plus where they may spend a few minutes waiting in some situations.
At Urban 9-5, we're happy to provide a wide range of industrial furniture options that can be combined into a quality waiting room, from office seating options to rugs, lighting, storage and many others. What are the key elements that should be considered for any quality business waiting room? Here are several to keep in mind.
First and foremost, potential visitors to your business need to have comfortable seating available where they can either wait for their meeting appointment or spend time reading information if they are there early. This seating should combine quality construction and materials with comfort, visual appeal and practical versatility.
If you know there will be situations where multiple clients might be waiting at once, don't be cheap -- purchase several seating options that will accommodate a reasonable number of people. Better to have options and not need them than the opposite!
Another factor to consider is how clients will be directed when they arrive at your location. Will there be ample seating along a reception desk or in another area that allows for privacy? If there won't be, you may want to purchase a central "waiting area" display, which can usually be placed in an out-of-the-way location and still serve multiple purposes.
Additionally, many businesses need to have a spot for where guests can leave their coats or other belongings while they wait, so this could be another key piece of waiting room furniture you may want to consider.
You want your clients to be comfortable at all times while in your waiting room, and lighting plays a major role here. If your room is too bright, for instance, people may be uncomfortable and squint, which can make even the most courteous of staff seem rude if they're trying to read something.
On the other hand, if a space is too dimly lit -- especially in a business that provides products or services requiring people to fill out paperwork -- clients might end up with eyestrain. This is a simple element to have in mind when designing your waiting room, and one which won't be over-the-top expensive if you purchase quality lights.
And of course, lights play a big role in the aesthetic of the waiting room, which is important for how clients consider your business.
For many business types, the lobby area will also include a main desk where clients are greeted or directed. It provides a visual point of contact for your staff -- and an area where they can comfortably provide any information clients might need.
It's best to consider the functional needs of this desk when designing the waiting room itself so that everything fits properly. You'll also want to design a comfortable, durable surface that will handle any paperwork your staff is asked to handle, and should have a space for placing coffee mugs and other materials -- without these being in the way of your staff or clients.
For most businesses, this desk area isn't as significant as seating or lighting, but it does play an important role in client satisfaction and comfort.
Reading or Entertainment Material
If you know there are regular occasions where clients will spend significant time waiting in your lobby, you should take steps to keep them entertained. Magazines are perhaps the most common choice, and many businesses go with custom publications.
A more exciting option is to purchase a television or similar electronic device which will give them something to watch while they wait. This may depend on your business type -- you wouldn't want people watching a football game in an accounting office! But if you're providing product demos or offering entertainment services, this can be a great convenience for people. If you decide to go with a television, make sure it's mounted on the wall in an unobtrusive location and that the programming is appropriate for your business.
Art, Ambiance and Overall Appearance
One of the most important aspects of designing a waiting room (or any part of a lobby) is ensuring that its appearance is sharp. This is part of creating a comfortable, professional impression for your business -- and essential if you have workers dealing with clients one-on-one.
One option to consider here is artwork. Many businesses will try to make sure they have some items on the walls to help create an atmosphere that inspires and encourages clients. Be prepared to get creative here, as these pieces can be more difficult to acquire than you might think.
Also important here is general color scheme, which plays a major role in setting the tone for your business. The right colors can make a place seem bright and inviting -- or professional and polished. And remember that this is an area where you'll be laying out artwork, so keep anything which may have a glare or create other visual problems away from direct sunlight (such as windows). Our team will be happy to offer recommendations on common color schemes that tend to work for certain business types.
For more on how to design your business lobby or waiting room, or to learn about any of our rustic office furniture products or concepts, speak to the team at Urban 9-5 today.