Create an office space that fills this forensic accountant’s clients with the confidence that she has everything under control. As clients most likely are in a stressful situation when they visit, this small office must put them at ease and instill a sense of calm. The decor must convey friendly professionalism, efficiency, strong leadership, an atmosphere of trust and a willingness to help.
What Has to Stay
The door, window’s city decals, green carpet, built-in desk and table, window shades, and butterscotch colour on the east wall.
- A muted pink paint colour transforms the green carpet from dated to contemporary and compliments the butterscotch wall. The black built-ins, chair, file cabinet, and window shades ensure the pink looks sophisticated rather than feminine. Pink is calming, soothing, and nurturing – perfect for a forensic accountant’s office!
- Move the accountant’s work surface to the east wall to free up the desk for client meetings and to help her focus when she’s working alone.
- Add storage containers/drawers to hide away clutter and replace the big white printer with a smaller black to clean up the look and make better use of space.
- A happy, relaxed artwork gives clients a place rest their gaze – botanical and semi-abstract in soothing colours that play beautifully with the green, pink and butterscotch colours.
- Add plants – plants reduce heart rate and stress.
- A tall lamp provides needed task light on the client desk and draws the eye to it, rather than beyond the windows to the unattractive view.
- Good support and comfort are mandatory for client chairs. In a nostalgic botanical print, they’re friendly and inviting. The curves play off the round-ended table and fit easily into this small space.
A place to hang jackets and handbags keeps the area tidy. An opportunity for a quick check in the mirror is always welcome when sitting down across from clients and accountants.
Instill confidence by displaying accounting diplomas – behind the clients or directly in front of them are not options in this restricted layout. Along the wall below the windows balances out the room, making a visual statement and reassures the clients.
- Create reflected and varied lighting by purposefully directing ceiling lights and adding a table lamp and work lamp. Keeping window shades down, but open hides the unattractive view, yet provides all-important daylight and textured light for a comforting effect. Glare is mitigated and the lighting is now functional and makes this small office feel much more spacious.
This office is now a calming, yet uplifting space for both clients and accountant. The overall effect of these design updates is a grounding feeling of connectedness and assuredness. It inspires trust and confidence. My client is now delighted to work in this office, rather than dreading it, as she did before the transformation. With each client meeting, she sees how the power of colour, light, shape and orderliness is transforming her clients’ mood to one of ease, enabling her to better guide them.
To create a welcoming, confidence-inspiring office to meet your clients, look at it all from your client’s perspective – walk in like a client and sit in the client’s chair.
- 1. Is there a place for your client to put their jacket and handbag/computer bag? Provide something handy, stable, and noticeable.
- 2. Is a light shining in their eyes or glaring off of the surface in front of them? Adjust the lighting.
- 3. Can they see your wastebasket, your handbag, jacket, stack of paperwork, or your coffee cup and half-eaten sandwich? Put it all out of sight in decorative boxes or drawers. No one should have to look at any of that.
- 4. Is the chair comfortable and clean? Will a person of size feel supported and at ease? Provide chairs that are comfortable for anyone – wide seats, sturdy legs, and no arms
- 5. Is there something attractive and captivating for your client to look at as they form their thoughts or wait while you look up something? Place attractive and compelling artwork directly in their line of sight. Display your awards, diplomas, and certificates – show them that you’ve got the qualifications to take care of them.
- 6. Are there elements of nature in your office? Have a plant. People light plants. If lack of light makes keeping a plant difficult, have another plant at home, so you can give them sunlight rotation.
- 7. Is there a window? If not, bring in the outdoors with an artwork featuring a landscape and a daylight temperature bulb in a light-scattering fixture (one that creates a pattern of light on surfaces). This will feel like dappled sunlight through the trees and who doesn’t enjoy that uplifting feeling?
- 8. Can your client see something in your office that you identify with, that personalizes the space, and makes you happy? They should be able to. It can be a conversation starter and even if your client doesn’t comment, they’ve seen it and it gives them an avenue of connection with you.