Design an Office that Sells

Posted by — February 13, 2005

By John Brian LoshFebruary 14, 2005 - As real estate professionals, we spend much of our time at work focusing on the various aesthetic qualities of the homes we represent. But have you ever considered the look and feel of your own office? A well-designed office not only encourages employees to be more productive, it can also inspire trust and a feeling of partnership in clients. Studies show individuals often make lasting value judgments of places and people in the first 10 seconds of contact. Following are five tips for office décor that I have implemented in my own office in Seattle.

1. Get creative with color. If possible, paint at least some of the walls a color other than white. A fresh coat of paint is the least expensive and most noticeable way to change the feel of a room. Adding some color to your office might even help you close a sale; scientists say that color plays an important role in marketing. Blue lends a feeling of quality and trust, whereas red makes people want to act now and green makes people want to spend money. Avoid yellow, which tends to get attention better than any other color but is hard on the eyes.

2. Make your conference room a reflection of your company. Big decisions are made in the conference room--it’s the place where you collaborate with your team and the centerpiece of the office. As such, the conference room should make a statement about the type of homes your company sells. For example, if you deal in luxury real estate, invest in quality furnishings and artwork; if country homes are your business, design the conference room with a bit of farmhouse flair.

3. Breathe life into the office with living plants. Plants add vibrancy to an office and help prevent a stale atmosphere. The most popular office plants include rubber plants, spider plants and palms. Avoid artificial plants at all costs; few things look and feel tackier than fake plants. Be sure to care for your plants property so they don’t die; dead plants won’t inspire confidence in clients.

4. Create a comfortable reception area for clients and guests. Perching on a hard chair isn’t relaxing. Invest in some nice, comfortable pieces of furniture. Also stock the reception area with plenty of current magazines and make sure it is kept tidy. Try this ultimate reception area test: pretend you are a client and spend 30 minutes waiting. Then ask yourself, “Does the reception area paint a positive or a negative image of my company?”

5. Use the right type of light. Most offices have fluorescent lights, which give off a barely perceptible flicker. People who are sensitive to that flicker will have a problem with it. Ophthalmologists recommend incandescent lighting as the best lighting for an office. Fluorescent lighting is good to wash a large area in light, but provides very poor task lighting. If your office has fluorescent lighting, consider disabling some of the tubes and adding some interesting floor and desk lamps.

Updating your office with these tips in mind will not only help improve employee productivity, it can also help increase business and aid in creating lasting relationships with clients.  For more information about this article, e-mail jen@luxuryrealestate.com.

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