First impressions matter, and they stick with us. For businesses and organizations, the greatest first impression opportunity is the lobby—a space that provides an initial glimpse into who, what, and how work gets done. The lobby or welcome area is for everyone—from current and prospective employees to customers and stakeholders. The main entry space sets a tone for brand and culture while offering people a place to meet or wait.
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, workplaces are reopening—and safety, along with design and style, are top priorities. But how do you create a lobby area that is memorable, comfortable, and safe for all? Try a blend of these 6 tips:
- Calming Colors
Color is often used as punctuation, an identifier, or a wayfinding element, but now is the time to employ it to calm the eye and the spirit. Don’t underestimate the power of hues in setting a tone! If you have a stark, primary white space to work with, bringing in color can lessen the chance that somebody is going to feel the space is too sterile. If you have a fire engine red accent wall, re-color it with Sedona or Red Rock Canyon hues to make the wall feel more natural. As a result of the pandemic, people are reconnecting with the outdoors—and natural colors and elements can help create a soft, Zen-like entrance for any organization.
The overall cleanliness and cleanability of the workplace produce a feeling of safety and freshness. Most organizations are creating more robust cleaning schedules and procedures, but a fresh look can create that “wow, this place is well taken care of!” factor as people walk through the door. With an even greater awareness about the potential for our surroundings to be prime breeding grounds for communicable viruses or disease, clean, uncluttered furnishings and accents are ideal. Add or update lighting, incorporate plants, bring in durable rugs or stylish artwork, and opt for furniture with easy wipe-ability or bleach-cleanability.
- Fresh Paint
Paint is an inexpensive way to freshen up any space and make a big impact. Not only is paint a visual cue of a revitalized space, even the smell of fresh paint can evoke a sense of new and clean. Consider changing the entry area paint color—even if only temporarily.
Along with more neutral colors, look for textures that evoke the comforts of home with a nod toward environmental well-being and protection. Sustainable furniture and products have become more prominent in recent months. Consider incorporating eco-friendly materials in the lobby—and focus on quality over quantity.
- Bring the Outdoors In
Not surprisingly, there is an increasing demand for access to outdoor space at work. In many cases, simply adding elements of nature to the workplace, known as biophilic design, will hit the mark. Pulling in outdoor elements like plant and water features can give a lobby a healthy vibe and atmosphere—invigorating people with the energy to focus, engage, and collaborate.
- Dual Purpose
The lobby can be more than a waiting area for guests, it can be a gathering space for employees. One of the best ways to create an enhanced entry is to incorporate a coffee bar or café. If you haven’t done this in your office, think about it post-pandemic. Not every lobby has the space for a full coffee bar, but there is likely room for a coffee cart surrounded by stylish, comfortable seating. These built-in spaces offer a casual, comfortable, and homey place for people to wait, meet, or grab a mid-afternoon pick-me-up.
As employees return to the office and visitors again walk through your entry doors, a refreshed lobby can ensure they feel welcome and safe. Consider these 6 ways to enhance your lobby area for all.