1. Use your reception as another marketing opportunity
Create a bold and innovative environment from which to display your work and reflect your values. While it is important to make clients feel special when they are with you, be mindful that an opulent display may make clients feel that you are not being as careful with your money as you are with theirs. Clients notice the smallest of things. As Malcom Gladwell writes in Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking, ‘snap judgements are, first of all, enormously quick: they rely on the thinnest slices of experience’
2. What are you doing about hospitality?
Think about how visitors are treated when they arrive. Whatever the size of your business, there are ways of making the reception not just welcoming but also engaging. Use art and design to inspire conversation amongst visiting clients as well as to boost morale among employees. Encourage reception staff to smile and offer tea, coffee or even something a bit more interesting: goji berry juice, perhaps?
3. Forget the conference room
When the time for Pirelli's 2011 investor conference came around, the company wanted to do something a a bit different. Location was everything, so we mixed the elegance of the traditional Italian sophistication with a gritty East London venue in order to both emphasise Pirelli’s success and inspire attendees in a non-traditional business environment. Don't just stick to staid, boring conference rooms or meeting areas when making company announcements: choose somewhere new and interesting that will wow your stakeholders.
To use your environment as an opportunity to boost your business, create a mixture of open and quieter spaces from which to brainstorm. This not only benefits your staff but shows visitors that you take a holistic view of the creative process.
5. Engaging environments
The way people behave and think is heavily determined by the environment in which they work. Real engagement and change often happens outside of where it is intended – in corridors or cafes. But even if you can't go to a local independent cafe to talk through ideas, you can recreate the look and feel in the office. All it takes is a decent coffee machine, a bookshelf and some comfy seating.
6. Story telling
Use immersive techniques to bring your brand story to life. Think about what stimulus you can add into the working environment that compliments the brand. Interactive noticeboards encouraging staff to post notes on 'the best thing that happened to me today', putting the best of your firm's recent pieces of work on the walls, as well as the usual awards and certificates can show that your company is dynamic and thriving.
7. Colour me happy
Consider a splash of colour in your workplace to bring out the best in your staff. Many companies stick to an extremely conservative palette but studies have shown that red can be an energising colour, turquoise is good for HR rooms as they promote stability and calm, while brown can help staff to form close bonds. If this all sounds a bit 'tree-hugging hippie', at least consider going for a creative green.
8. Embrace technology
Nothing says 'stuck in the past' like having an ancient fax machine on display. Instead, show off your latest technological tools by having your work portfolio on a big screen with interactive options, let visitors play on the Wii while they wait, and have guest wi-fi available in your company HQ.
9. Share your space
Is your office slightly too spacious? Invite freelancers or other, non-competitive companies to take up residence in your office. Not only could this bring in another revenue stream (if you choose to charge) but you could also forge new and interesting connections with your newfound friends.
10. Create a sustainable working environment
Make sure you have plenty of recycling points around your office and, if you use certain ecologically sound products or solutions, sing about them. If you run a cycle scheme, don't shy away from having your bicycle stands on display - you could even choose a funky design. Sustainability has become an ever-greater business driver as companies increasingly choose to work with ethical, green businesses.