Take a moment to really look at your space the way a customer or potential buyer would. What do you see? Is it neat? Is it bland? Does it have a “look” (other than serviceable)? Is it inviting? What does it say to the person who walks in your door?

We all react to spaces, even if we don’t realize it at the time. We evaluate the business and, by extension, its products, based on that impression. We tend to believe that the attractive, well designed business is better because the attractive business is thoughtfully arranged, well cared for and up-to-date. Details matter.

When we live in an environment every day we become inured to the clutter in a corner, the messy inboxes, the stacks of unfiled paper. We don’t notice the walls need painting and the color scheme has unintentionally segued to dirty beige and gray. We just don’t see it. But others do.

Consider your first time at a restaurant.  The one with functional, wipe clean tables, florescent lighting and ‘work” table in the corner covered with paper has a different ambiance than the same space with white table cloths and hand blown light fixtures.  What do you anticipate about the product in each of those scenarios? What do you anticipate about the pricing?

Now apply that to your own business.

For instance, back in the day many businesses of all kinds created a large counter across the space. The customer stayed on one side of the counter and employees on the other. If you have one of these barriers consider how well it actually works for you. If you have thousands of small auto parts and six employees servicing lines of people, maybe you need it. But if you have two employees taking print orders wouldn’t your customers feel better served if they were offered a chair next to a table or desk?

Look at the arrangement of your space. Is it the best it could be? Is it attractive? Is it functional for both customers and employees? Forget the old imperatives of how each kind of business arranged its space and consider configurations which will work for your customers, serve your employees and make best use of the space you have.

Next consider the walls, the color scheme, the artwork, the lighting. Is it fresh and attractive? Or is it faded and dirty with a side of old calendars and children’s drawings? Perhaps you want to reconsider the 25 year old florescent lights and opt for something with longer lasting bulbs and a kinder light.

The fact that you have a business-to-business company does not excuse you from creating an inviting workspace. Even the buyers of custom bended tubes and truck parts deserve to feel sufficiently valued to have good lighting and clean, bright environments.

Take a look at workspace design on line. If all this seems too much to deal with, you might want to talk with an interior designer who specializes in work environments, either in a design firm or someone who works at Staples or another purveyor of office equipment. You may just be too close to the problem.

 

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