May 16 2013
How to create a warm and welcoming office environment

By Jessica Toms

Jessica, the Centre's Office Manager, has been photographing the ever evolving Centre to show you our venue and talk about how some of these simple touches could be applied at your own offices.

My role at the Centre is to make sure that the office runs smoothly, that all of our equipment works and to keep the Centre looking fresh and up-to-date. The most important aspect of my role is to ensure that, in a short time, our delegates have a positive experience whilst at the Centre. An experience that leaves a good impression and one that will encourage them to return and recommend us to their friends and colleagues. If something is not quite right I want to know, that way I can improve on how things are being done.

When I started at the Centre the main thing that struck me was the bright branding: from the website and the bubbly staff, right through to our published books. However, the Centre's training suite wasn't quite as colourful. So last year, with the support of the Centre team, I set out to really work on the Centre as a venue. To make it as welcoming and bright as possible I had to take a hard look at everything, from our tea to the furniture, to ensure it matched our bright, unique branding.

For some of our delegates training courses can feel quite daunting, therefore, we want to do all we can to make our customers feel welcome, safe and comfortable and have everything on hand they could possibly need whilst with us.

The training rooms
Our training rooms are comfortable and light.

We hung our TVs on the wall to make more space, painted a bright feature wall in the Centre's green brand colour and invested in new, brightly-coloured, wider chairs. We even put our housekeeping notices in bright, colourful frames to keep everything neat and modern. Delegates sit in the rooms all day so it was important that we made the rooms bright and spacious.

To give our learners the best experience I always make sure that the tables are set so each delegate has plenty of room and no one feels cramped. We never run courses with more than 12 delegates to ensure each delegate has enough room and lots of trainer attention.

I have added retro sweeties to the training rooms. Not only are these a great talking point but they help keep people's energy levels up. We also provide fresh fruit and fruit juice for anyone who wants a natural sugar rush!

The lunch area
At the Centre we let you pick your own lunch and, if it is not on the menu, we will do our best to find you what you want. We cater for everyone's needs and we believe this way food will not go to waste.

I improved our lunch area by investing in bright chairs, coloured bar stools and breakfast tables. We've also invested in some lovely art prints to make the lunch area feel more like a coffee shop.

I always make sure we are stocked up on the latest magazines and papers and we also have a library with lots of books for delegates to source information from. So, whether you want to have a gossip with other participants, read up on some management theory or just browse a magazine, we've got all angles covered!

Break out area
We used a space at the back of the reception corridor to create a cool break out area. We bought a comfy, bright sofa and a large coffee table so delegates can use this area for group work. We also personalised a funky room divider with pictures of our training and the Centre team and added a chalk board where you will find fun quotes about learning. If you are lucky, you will find a bowl of our sweeties too!

Extra touches
I like to think that we go the extra mile at the Centre - from the training rooms right down to the toilets.
Our loos are stocked up with everything you may need, such as body spray and body butter, and are always kept clean. We think it's the small things like this that really make a difference to our delegates.

Our 'famous afternoon ice cream break' always goes down well with delegates (I like to keep our ice-cream freezer stocked up with all the latest brands and retro ice creams and lollies) and we also make sure there are plenty of yummy cakes, biscuits, fruit and sweets on offer throughout the day.

These little changes, in any working environment, can make a huge difference to your business. A welcoming reception and waiting area is the first thing your customers will see so it is so important to get this right.

At the Centre we think we have this just right.

Jessica Toms is responsible for all aspects of office management at the Centre. She is very approachable and friendly and is always on hand to help out with tasks around the Centre.

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