Why Your Office Space Matters
When I visit a firm for the first time, I always take a good look around. In general, I would classify my first impressions as generally neutral to positive. But every once in a while, there’s an office space that leaves me with an exceedingly positive (or negative) feeling.
It should be said that I’m not one who is overly influenced by aesthetics, and first impressions are subjective. Still, I do believe that your office space matters. It can separate you from the crowd and just may help turn that prospect into a client.
Let’s start with an example of a fictitious office to illustrate all of the worst characteristics that I’ve seen over the years:
At first glance, I notice that the office—a converted house—has no landscaping and a small gravel driveway. Upon opening the rusty door, things don’t get better: there’s a stained 1980s-style carpet to greet me, along with a white cat that immediately starts rubbing against my black pants. The makeshift reception area appears to be missing a receptionist, while the low ceiling, dingy beige walls, and various bric-a-brac create a sense of claustrophobia. It’s clear that the office’s vintage furniture has passed its expiration date, and water running in the bathroom and kitchen can be heard throughout the house. Once I’m finally greeted by a human, the walk to the conference room reveals more frayed rugs and dirty curtains, along with an unappealing rim of dust around the baseboards and furniture.
This isn’t a real place, but this scenario isn’t as unusual as you might think. Why? When the erosion of your office environment is gradual, it can be hard to see—and you may not realize the effect it can have on clients, prospects, and staff. But research shows that it takes just seven seconds to form a first impression, and a bad first impression can be extremely hard to change.
Now it’s time to consider the opposite end of the spectrum. Let’s take a look at two (real) firms that have taken their office space to the next level and used it to communicate their vision.