Office lobbies serve as the first impression of your company's culture by visitors, clients, and employees.
Public Space: The area that is freely accessed by the public. This is typically the lobby area staffed by reception or security and where visitors sign in.
Private Space: The area or areas of the office which is only accessible by employees or authorized visitors.
Tip #1 Position the reception desk between the entrance doors and the doors separating the private space.
The position of the desk is important to the overall perception of visitors and those unfamiliar with the building. There is a psychological affect in human accessing a building. We naturally choose the easiest path to our destination. By placing an obstacle directly in front of our objective it subconsciously forces everyone to walk up to the front desk where visitor check-in can be completed. If the desk is positioned off to the side those unfamiliar with the building may simply walk past it.
Tip #2 Physically separate the private space by partitions and doors secured by locking measures.
Ideally, the company would have an electronic access control system using ID badges to open the doors. This prevents anyone without an ID badge from accessing the private space within the office. Another option could be a keypad or cipher lock set.
Tip #3 Don't forget your receptionist, consider placing a monitored panic button that is linked to 9-1-1
Since the lobby is considered public space and can be freely accessed in many businesses the receptionist is unfortunately in a compromised position. In the event a disgruntled former employee, spouse, client, etc. comes into the building the receptionist will most likely be caught alone attempting to deal with someone who may be angry and displaying violent behavior.
Bonus Tip #1 Deescalation Training
They should also be trained in deescalation to prevent the situation from getting out of control. This will also keep the individual busy until someone from management, security, or law enforcement can arrive.
Bonus Tip #2 Proper Signage
Another item I feel many businesses fail to utilize is signage. We are directed by signs every day while driving to let us know where we can go and where we can't. The use of proper signage delineates the travel and sets and expectation of behavior for visitors and employees.
This is hardly an exhaustive list, but some of the least expensive options to modify your design in new construction or renovations.