The waiting room is an element present in many companies and establishments. Caring for the design of these spaces, both in terms of decor and the behavior of employees, is crucial to transmit a positive message about how we value our customers.

A few days ago I entered into the building of a Public Administration agency. At the reception there were three people. One of them checked my name and asked me to go to the waiting room. As I had arrived early, I had to wait a while, which gave me the opportunity to appreciate the decoration of that room: design chairs around a little round table with a lamp.

Suddenly, I became aware of the vast difference between that waiting room and some other rooms I had been, especially those of the Public Administration. What made them different was, above all, how I felt. The waiting rooms clearly transmitted the different valuations about customers.

The room where I was said: “I care about my customers, I want them to feel welcome and have a good opinion of me.” Some other rooms say: “I don’t care about my customers, they are a nuisance and I want them to leave here soon.”

The second kind of waiting rooms are often characterized by being “decorated” with poor-quality furniture and plastic seats crammed together, making the customer feel like livestock.

We must therefore be very careful in deciding how to design our waiting rooms because it not only says who we are but what opinion we hold about our customers.

Back to my story, I was lost in my thoughts about waiting rooms design, when something brought me back to the real world. It was the voices of the three people at the reception. They were speaking aloud about internal affairs and then they began to talk about other personal issues.

What a pity! So exquisite decoration marred by a simple conversation. Those professionals talking about private matters, even if it was about their job, made people who were waiting feel as if we were invisible. It was somewhat similar to that embarrassment that you feel when hearing someone else keeping a phone conversation aloud.

Those employees whose working place is at the reception or near the waiting room should, as a rule, avoid private conversations in front of customers, as it gives a very negative image of informality.

The design of a space should consider, in addition to the furnishings and decor, the behavior of employees.

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