Hospitality in the Office: How to Create a Welcoming & Work-Friendly Atmosphere by Jessica Hodges
As someone who’s worked in a variety of office settings, I can truly say that I appreciate certain simple comfort items that might be taken for granted – for example, one of life’s basic necessities, water. Yes, you heard me right – I’ve actually been in offices with no water cooler whatsoever. The office itself was in a prime New York location on a well-known university campus, but the daily inconvenience of picking up a bottled water made me miss the days of working in a well-heeled corporate environment. Spoiled? Perhaps. But in this day and age, most of us are accustomed to having at least the bare essentials when working in a place of business, whether it’s big or small, corporate or non-profit.
Believe it or not, your office’s décor, furnishings, supplies and amenities say quite a lot about your company. Anyone visiting will instantly deduct their own opinion about your business, as first impressions tend to leave their mark – for better or for worse. Create a lasting impression with an inviting reception area, and your guests will certainly take notice, whether you’ve provided a relaxing and attractive waiting area with a silk floral arrangement or a comfortable group of club chairs. Most importantly, though, is your employees’ well-being – it makes good business sense to furnish your workers with the necessities (and perhaps even a luxury item or two) they’ll need to feel comfortable and welcome. Let’s face it: we spend at least half of our lives at work, so wouldn’t you want to make your work space as conducive to productivity as possible? Simple elements, whether a framed piece of art or a grouping of plants, can instantly add refinement, style and a sense of beauty to otherwise bland and uninspired surroundings. Choosing the right office furnishings and creating a work-friendly atmosphere not only looks good, but will benefit your employees, customers and potential clients in the long run. Although not an exhaustive list, here are some general suggestions to get you started:
The best contacts and resources to help you get it done
KEEP IT GREEN, KEEP IT CLEAN
One of the most obvious ways to making your office an inviting and attractive place is by keeping it clean & uncluttered. However, there are other actions you can do to take it once step further, creating an eco-friendly atmosphere that’s sure to be appreciated by staff and guests alike. Potted plants are both attractive and useful decorative solutions – besides creating a warm and naturally cheerful atmosphere, plants and floral arrangements add vital oxygen to your office. By removing harmful pollutants from the air, plants improve indoor air quality & comfort levels by stabilizing humidity levels.
We recommend: Plants have also been proven to increase worker productivity and attendance as well as add to workplace satisfaction. You can purchase your own plants, but you may want to choose an interior landscaping company that will determine the best plants for your environment based on climate, décor, and so forth. In addition, they offer the convenience of maintenance, another factor to keep in mind (nothing is more depressing than a dead plant in your work space)! Another way to keep your air free of toxins, irritants and pollutants? Air purifiers. There are many different models available, so it’s important to consider these factors:
- Appropriate Room Size: Make sure the purifier can change the air several times an hour. Most manufacturers will provide consumers the appropriate room size that the air purifier can clean efficiently and effectively.
- Air Filtering Efficiency: Obviously, you want a purifier that effectively cleans the air.
- Air Purification Technology: Which of the five technologies does the unit use (HEPA, UV Lamp, Ionic, Ozone Generator or Carbon Filter)?
- Noise Level: You want this to be as low as possible, but realize some of the better air purifiers do make noise. Quieter doesn’t necessarily mean better.
- Cost of Replacement Parts: Find out what it costs to replace filters and other parts.
- Electricity Costs: Know how much it costs to run an electronic air cleaner.
- Warranty: Learn about the warranty available for the unit you are considering.
- Indicator Lights for Filter Changes: Some units have them. It’s not necessary, but is very convenient.
- Separate Filters: Does the unit have a pre-filter to increase HEPA filter efficiency?
- Size and Appearance: Some air purifiers are big and ugly; others are sleek and aesthetically pleasing, easily blending into your surroundings.
For more information on choosing the appropriate air purifier, visit eHow.com. Finally, if you’re going to create an eco-friendly atmosphere, why not support your efforts with products deserving of your new green environment? Choose environmentally-friendly cleaning items and biodegradable and recycled paper products to sustain your green office. There are many economical and smart products to choose from – use in public spaces such as break rooms, cafeterias and microwave/kitchenette areas, and if you work in a larger business, ask your janitorial service to switch to green products. Provide your employees with products such as Dymon Antimicrobial SCRUBS®, hand sanitizer wipes that will help to keep your office clean, safe and (nearly) germ-free!
ALL THE COMFORTS OF HOME
Now that your office is green & squeaky-clean, why not incorporate the little comforts of home that will make your employees and guests feel extra-special and appreciated? Follow these simple rules of thumb and watch your office transform from cold and corporate to warm and hospitable:
We recommend: Safety First! It’s always a good practice to keep a First Aid Kit in the office for emergencies; you may also want to keep one or more fire extinguishers handy.
Coffee, anyone? It’s always great to have coffee, tea, sugar, creamer, cutlery etc. and bottled water (or water coolers) on hand – whether you’re hosting an important client or supplying sustenance to your team, having the proper beverages and kitchen amenities will make anyone feel instantly more welcome. You might consider snacks and soda, too, if it’s within your company’s budget.
Restful Restroom: As anyone knows, it’s always nice to find a restroom clean and in good order, especially for the ladies. If you happen to have a restroom area within your office space (versus in a public area), you may want to provide feminine products, soaps, lotions and air freshener to ensure the comfort of your employees and guests.
Desk Décor: Pencil holders, organizational baskets, calendars, etc. add a personal and attractive touch, combining design with functionality . In addition, you may want to furnish your office with elegant desk lamps as a pleasant alternative to fluorescent lighting (which is also harsh on the eyes).
Framed Art: Add original paintings, prints and canvasses and instantly give your space a facelift! Artwork livens up any office, creating points of interest and breaking up monotony in your design scheme. Choose works that reflect your color scheme and your company’s vibe – go to (website for decoration tips ) for suggestions.There are many places you can purchase quality prints and artwork for your office – many offer artwork framed and ready to hang. Check out Best Art for a wide variety of office art You may also choose to support your local artists; visit Gallery 4222 for original paintings, sculptures, prints and other fine pieces from their vast and unique collection.
Tips & Tactics
Helpful advice for making the most of this Guide
- Visit Madelyn Simon & Associates, Inc. for all of your interior foliage needs – one of the top 25 full service horticultural companies in the U.S., they’ve been in business since 1979, serving the New York Metropolitan area. MS&A’s design team excels in creating custom designs for a diverse clientele including museums, corporate lobbies, executive offices, world famous tourist destinations, hotels, commercial plazas, public parks and private homes.