I have a lobby hobby. I enjoy seeking out and visiting well-designed office reception lobbies.
This fetish probably stemmed from my internship-hunting days back when I was in college. I visited a number of marketing and ad agency offices – and if there’s anybody who understands image and communication it’s these guys. More likely than not their lobbies were gorgeously and cleverly designed and decorated, and just as often the attention to physical space design was carried throughout the office. A lobby’s design, I came to recognize, revealed a great deal about the organizations that reside behind them. Such as:
The Welcome – A reception really doesn’t need more than a counter for the courier dude and a waiting chair for guests to be functional. But the good ones make you feel like you’ve arrived somewhere special, which is exactly how you should want guests to feel when they arrive at your place. It sets the tone for the discussions that follow and should actually trigger the first one you have. Does the space captivate guests’ attention and put a smile on the faces of those who work there and pass through it every day.
The Attitude – A lobby hints at how space is treated at the company and how seriously its leadership takes building a pleasant work environment. Is it colourful and playful or drab and boxy? Is it open or closed? What might their approach to ideas be?
The People – Is the lobby a hub of activity or a security checkpoint? Is the receptionist cheerful or simply punching a clock? Do staffers visit with the receptionist or condescendingly pass by her/him? Do they staff the front with a lifer, an intern, or just a doorbell?
The Pride – This one’s about experience. A lobby is an entranceway to an experience. Is work displyed proudly? Is this a place that conveys a confidence in what they do and how they do it? Perhaps most important: Is there any attention to detail?
The Budget – Do they value aesthetics and enjoyment? Do they appear miserly? Conversely, are they decadently wasteful? And if you get past the front, does the rest of the office live up to the first impression or is it hollow behind the facade?
This meandering preamble was stirred by seeing Alexander’s great collection of 10 seeeeeriously cool workplaces over at Chief Happiness Officer. The list moves beyond the lobby and looks at places that understand just how integral office design is to overall productivity, brand communication, employee happiness and retention, quality of work, and just plain good karma. In the same vein, check out Russell’s Creative Spaces lens for more cool pics and links.
(via Wishful Thinking)