How to Create a Welcoming Reception Area

Little boy playing in a kid's designated area of a waiting room

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In its most basic form, a reception area is a section of your office space that is used to greet all visitors and to provide a waiting area for them until they are met by the person that they came to meet with.

The size of the reception area that you create will be in direct proportion to both the type and size of your business. The sophistication and associated cost of building a stylish reception area, versus a basic one will depend in large part on what happens in the business. All reception areas have several furnishings and components in common:

  • Receptionist desk/station
  • A comfortable and ergonomically appropriate chair for the receptionist
  • Chairs for guests to use while waiting
  • A table to hold literature or magazines or to provide a surface for visitors for their purses, their briefcases, or other personal belongings while waiting

The Elements of a Welcoming Reception Area

A typical medical office reception area will have many chairs to accommodate the possibility that there will be several patients waiting to be seen by the healthcare provider. If the medical office is seeing disabled patients or patients with special needs, there should be attention to details of the width of doors and ease with which patients in wheelchairs can access the reception area safely and independently. The height of the counter where the individual with special needs will be attended to is also important particularly if the patient is in a wheelchair.

Many medical office reception areas are also usually equipped with a restroom which is close by, to allow ease of access to this area. The same preparations should be considered for the restroom as for the reception area when disabled or special needs patients are expected.

If the medical office caters to children, such as a pediatrician’s office, there should be some form of suitable child decorations and play items for young patients to use while waiting to be seen. Children that are cranky because they are ill will require many distractions to keep them busy and to get their mind off the fear of being treated by a pediatric medical or dental doctor.

If the Reception Area Is Also a Retail Location

If the office that is visited is also a retail location, there will likely be the need for a retail display, or several, depending on the size of the business. In this case, it is best to consider how to outfit the reception area to make it conducive for visitors to be tempted to purchase products.

A reception area with retail products to sell is typically a health and wellness business such as a barber, a beauty salon, or a spa. Lastly, and importantly, when building a reception area, one of the considerations that are necessary is to determine whether or not cameras may be required in this area.

Particularly if there is a retail display area, it is highly recommended that there be a camera or two that would be aimed at both the retail areas as well as the receptionist. There are many effective, low-cost camera solutions that allow for DVR, or digital video recording from cameras that are placed throughout the business, including in the reception area.

Final Consideration

If the business that you are opening is a franchise, then it is a good idea to use what the franchisor is recommending as a guide for building their reception area. One of the advantages of buying a franchise is the ability to harness the years of experience that the franchisor has in creating structures that will enable a business to succeed.