15 March 2021

Top 5 things to consider for your office reception

With the return to the office imminent (albeit with different work practices for some) we wanted to offer some advice on how to create the ultimate sense of arrival with your office reception.

It is often said that when you meet people for the first time that you only have one chance to make a first impression. The same applies when welcoming people to your workplace, as it is crucial to make a great first impression.

Your reception area is the first message you send to anyone visiting your office. You want people to walk into a warm, welcoming atmosphere, but it should also have a wow factor. 

If your reception area is tired, dark and uninspiring it will convey that message about your organisation to the people that arrive. Alternatively, if your reception is fresh, light and interesting it can be used as a catalyst for a conversation before you get down to real business all while leaving clients, visitors, staff or potential employees with a positive first impression of your workplace.

Here we want to touch on our five key areas to focus on when designing your office reception area.


It is important that visitors know that they are walking into your workplace, but there are different ways to go about it. 

Applying brand to space is never as simple as flicking through your company style guide and picking a few colours. A brand is about the message, direction and vision of your organisation. Translating this into your reception and welcome space requires subtlety to make that instant connection.

Take these two approaches for example. 

Adidas have utilised a bold approach to branding for their Manchester office reception, implementing a large use of their logo, accompanied by some instantly recognisable faces of their brand.

Whereas MoneySuperMarket have opted for a more subtle use of their brand at their Ewloe headquarters. They have used their logo fairly small on the bottom of the reception desk and only use of their brand colours are on the screen behind the desk.

The experience

Consider the experience, what journey will people take on arrival to your workplace? 

Knowing where to go is their first challenge, so making it as easy to navigate as possible is a great place to start. What’s the first thing they see? Is it a reception desk, a concierge platform? Are they greeted with a face-to-face interaction or a piece of technology? What technology will you need? If your receptionist will be taking a lot of calls rather than having a lot of face to face interactions, the requirements will be different. 

Perhaps you want to go that one step further and have people arrive down a slide similar to Ticketmaster in London (below).


Lighting can often be forgotten when thinking about the design of your office reception, but it is very important to get it right.

When it comes to the lighting for your reception area, natural light is generally more welcoming and easier on the eyes than artificial light. At AJ Bell in Manchester (below), they have made the most of the building’s large windows to have their office reception flush with natural light.

Top 5 things to consider for your office reception

However not all spaces will have access to natural light. There’s no need to worry though, there have been plenty of advancements in light bulbs and it doesn’t have to feel like you’re in a doctors’ surgery.  If you’re in a dark space then lighting it with table lamps and wall fixtures will help create a warm, welcoming and relaxed atmosphere. 

At Capgemini’s London office, as they don’t have access to a large amount of natural light in their reception, they have used a gentle, more yellowing light to create a relaxed and welcoming atmosphere.

Appropriate furniture

Think about your furniture carefully. It needs to be stylish and reflect your brand, but it also needs to provide a comfortable place for visitors to sit and wait, catch a quick call or connect to technology. It’s important to get the balance right.

Whilst low seating might look good, it can be difficult to stand up from. Adding comfy sofas or cushioned chairs is a great way to ensure your visitors can relax happily while waiting, and can also be used as a way of adding in your company colours into the area – as long as it is done in a tasteful and cohesive way. Just look at Black’s Solicitors (below), we wouldn’t normally apply a bright yellow primarily in office space, but allowing for pops of colour gives their reception space contrast and direction.

Natural elements

Incorporating natural elements like biophilia into the office has been found to have a positive impact on both physical and mental wellbeing. When bringing plants into the reception area it helps visitors to relax while they are waiting and can be a great way to add an extra dimension to the space.

Bringing nature into the space can be as simple as placing some small potted plants on tables, or you can go bigger and incorporate a living wall into your reception area. These can be a great way to make a statement whilst bringing the benefits of biophilia in. It is important to get the right plants though.

Top 5 things to consider for your office reception

Choosing indoor plants that require little attention are beneficial as they will be more robust and have a longer shelf life. No one wants to be greeted by a dying Monstera plant.

A great example of utilising biophilia is from JTI‘s office amazingly plant filled workplace. Here you are surrounded by plants, helping to bring nature into the workplace.

Biophilia can also be applied with artificial plants. Take this (non)living wall at Kellogg’s in Manchester. We are unconsciously connected to nature and although it might not be as good as the real thing, artificial office plants provide the visual stimulation we seek whilst requiring very little maintenance to keep them.

Get in touch

We design everything with our clients’ end-user in mind because we believe it creates better customer and employee experiences.

Get in touch with our team to find out how we can support you here.

Related content

Would you like features like these direct to your inbox?

Sign up for our newsletter

    You will be able to opt-out of these emails at any time. By signing up, you understand that the information you provide is subject to Google’s privacy policy and terms.

    Download for free now