Reception Desks - Because First Impressions Make The Difference

Reception desks are available in such a wide array of styles, colors, finishes, sizes, materials and, of course, prices that it's difficult to make a final decision. Here are a few tips to help you choose the reception desk that will best fulfill your needs.

The first thing to think about is exactly what it is that your receptionist will be doing at her desk. Some receptionists only need to answer phones and direct customers or clients to wherever they need to go. If that's the case, then while your receptionist needs to have elbow room, you don't need to invest in a large piece of furniture in order to enable her to work comfortably and efficiently. Others do light paperwork like paying bills or filing invoices, which means that she'll need sufficient writing space as well as room for a computer and keyboard. And yet others need to write letters, type reports and take care of various administrative responsibilities, not to mention medical receptionists who need to take care of a host of tasks beyond standard receptionists' duties. For that, your receptionist will need to have enough working and storage space to keep all her projects organized.

No matter what your receptionist does, however, you do need to provide the minimum basics, which is ample space for a telephone, notepad, office supplies and writing materials, not to mention someplace for her to store her personal belongings.

The second thing to think about is your clients, and how they will utilize the reception desk. If it is only to ask where Mr. Smith's office is located, then they don't need to linger by the desk. If, however, your office is one in which clients will need to fill out paperwork or write out checks, then be sure to have a transaction counter that will give them space to do so. Do you have clients or customers who are or might be wheelchair bound? If the answer is yes, then in addition to the raised transaction counter you will need to provide a lower writing space in order to accommodate them.

Now that you've assessed your receptionist's needs, you're ready to look at actual desks. If your office is already furnished, make sure to take your décor into account when you purchase a reception desk. You don't want it to clash with everything else in the room. If your furniture is traditional or old world in style, don't buy a sleek, modern-looking glass and steel reception desk, no matter how great you think it looks. The reverse is true as well. If your office is furnished with contemporary lounge chairs and modern-style end tables, it's not wise to invest in a heavy, solid wood, 18th century English style reception desk, even though it may be stunning.

Once style is determined, you have to make a realistic assessment of how much space you have for your reception desk. There are any number of options out there that can be added to make your desk super-efficient even when space is at a premium. Hutches, extra drawers, pedestals, and under-hutch mini-cubbies can all help make the most out of the space you have. If you have enough area but not enough space for a long desk, consider an L-shaped desk, which are available with both left and right returns. And if you have a enough space and your receptionist has a large number of responsibilities, consider a U-shaped desk for the ultimate in office space.

You're finally ready to purchase the desk that fulfills all of your requirements? Hold on just one second before you hand over the credit card. The last thing you need to keep in mind is your receptionist's need for privacy and security. If she will be dealing with sensitive or confidential documents, make sure that at least one desk drawer can be locked securely. Are you a corporate executive who leaves the office frequently for meetings while your receptionist stays alone to hold down the fort? Perhaps it would be worthwhile to install an emergency alert button, especially if customers know that she may have substantial amounts of checks or cash in her desk. If she feels more comfortable working when customers can't see everything she's doing, you would do well to invest in a hutch that separates her from your clients.

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