How to Encourage Collaboration With Clients at the Office
When you have visiting clients or partners, it’s important to ensure that your office is set up to help facilitate productive discussions and collaboration. The balance is in making your clients feel at home in your space while also protecting your data and infrastructure.
Here are a few ways to ensure better collaboration and a productive work environment for clients when they’re in your office:
Create a wireless access point specifically for guests. Visitors will likely want access to your Wi-Fi network for their laptops and tablets. Set up a separate, password-protected guest Wi-Fi network that will let him or her get online while keeping your company’s sensitive data private and protected. While you may have full trust in your clients, you don’t know what level of protection their devices have against outside threats. Small businesses reported their highest number of attacks last year – almost double those from 2012, according to Symantec. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
Maintain fast Internet speeds. You don’t want your clients to have trouble getting online in your office, or to deal with slow-loading pages or online tools. It’s critical to ensure that your network speeds are ultra-fast – and that goes for the aforementioned guest network as well. If clients can’t be as productive as possible, they may be less inclined to visit in the future. And it can reflect on the perceived efficiencies of your business.
Keep collaborative documents in the cloud. Are there pertinent documents your clients should have access to? Keep these readily available using a cloud service so visitors can easily refer to them while working in your office and with members of your team. Having these in the cloud means clients can easily access the content back at their home base, too.
Have extra tablets and computers on hand. In the event of a late night meeting, unplanned visit, or an impromptu strategy or work session, have a small selection of devices ready for your visitors. It’s a good idea to have tablets or computers available, with restricted access, that visiting clients or partners can use to be more productive if they’ve only brought along a small-screened smartphone.
Offer charging stations. Offer your clients a place or means to charge smartphones, tablets, or computers. They’ll appreciate being able to leave with a fully charged device, particularly if they aren’t headed back to the office (or hotel) right away.
Ensure proper conferencing is available. Have audio or video conferencing systems in your collaborative workspace or meeting rooms in case your visitors want to bring someone else into the conversation. That might be a third party such as an agency, consultant or other associates, or simply colleagues or partners who can weigh in on a topic of discussion, but couldn’t make the meeting in person.
The bottom line
Just like when you invite guests to your home, you want your office to feel welcoming to clients and partners. And by facilitating a collaborative environment, it reinforces that you all work as a team.
When you make the experience of working with your business easy and accommodating, your clients will have a greater appreciation for your company, and will enjoy doing business with you now and into the future.
What are some ways that you make clients or visitors feel welcome and productive in your office? Let us know in the comments, below.