What does your lobby say about your company? And how would you guess US and UK perceptions differ?

by Brianna Crandall — December 21, 2018 — Proxyclick’s annual Office Worker Bugbears Survey 2018 of 2,000 office workers in the United States (US) and United Kingdom (UK) reveals that a poor experience in a corporate lobby affects a person’s perception of the overall business. Highlights of the study are listed below; read further to find out which of the issues can be addressed by facilities managers (FMs).

Proxyclick asserts that visitors can feel the culture the moment they walk through the door to your office. Two out of every five people claim their perception of a company or brand has been negatively affected by their experience in the corporate lobby or reception area. That’s a potential 40 percent of customers left with a bad impression.

Reception area experiences

The reasons given for a less-than-pleasant experience are:

  • Receptionist was unhelpful/unfriendly — 71.4%
  • I didn’t receive a warm welcome — 58.7%
  • Lack of seating / uncomfortable seating — 42.0%
  • Poor toilet facilities — 28.2%
  • Lackluster décor — 27.3%
  • Lobby difficult to navigate — 22.0%
  • Lack of refreshment facilities — 19.6%
  • Poor Wi-Fi experience (difficulty logging in / slow signal, etc.) — 18.7%
  • Other — 3.2%
  • N/A / I don’t know / nothing in particular — 2.0%

The situation is worse in the US, where 47.5% of people have had a poor experience in a corporate lobby, while 29.3% felt the same in the UK. Unhelpful receptionists were the top reasons in both countries but were less of an issue for the UK respondents, who were also concerned about lackluster décor. Wi-Fi was better in the UK than in US lobbies, but the US had better refreshment facilities.

Women tended to have a worse experience than men in reception areas, with 76% saying that receptionists were unfriendly compared to 64.1% of men; and 59.1% complaining that they didn’t receive a warm welcome — whereas 45.0% of men said the same.

At the same time, 42.2% of people have had their name misspelled on a visitor name badge, which also affected their perception of the company and caused embarrassment.

A poor experience at reception can make people late for meetings, with 22.5% of people saying that the amount of time it took to check in at the front desk made them late. The reasons for the delay include:

  • There was a queue at the reception desk — 59.6%
  • The receptionist could not make contact with my meeting host — 48.5%
  • Too many forms to fill in — 47.2%
  • There was no record of my meeting in receptionist’s calendar / reception hadn’t been notified — 26.8%
  • Other — 2.8%
  • N/A / I can’t remember / I don’t know — 1.7%

These experiences led 68.6% of respondents to agree they would be happy to try faster check-in using an iPad or digital device.

Corporate visitors in the UK were less likely to be late to meetings because of a poor experience at reception (18.2% compared to 26.9% in the US); this frustration meant that US visitors were far more likely than their UK counterparts to opt for a faster check-in using an iPad or digital device — 79.4% compared to 58.8%.

Visitor data and security

With confidential visitor data being recorded at the front desk, it’s concerning that 62% of people have confessed to looking at the list on a paper visitor logbook to see who’s signed in before them. This might explain why a third of people feel uncomfortable about providing personal data during check-in. Just over a third (35%) feel nervous about the idea of signing in via fingerprint, facial recognition, voice recognition software — with the main reasons being a feeling that it’s unnecessary for the level of their visit.

Other reasons include:

  • This feels unnecessary for the level of visit I am undertaking — 85.3%
  • I don’t want that personal data stored by the company — 73.2%
  • I feel strongly about data privacy — 52.0%
  • Makes me feel like a criminal — 26.3%
  • The process could take too much time — 11.0%
  • I’m not sure if it’s safe for my health — 3.9%
  • Other — 0.8%
  • N/A / I don’t know / nothing in particular — 2.6%

US visitors seem to be nosier than their UK colleagues: 69.7% confessed to looking at the list on a paper visitor logbook to see who’s signed in before them, whereas 54% of UK visitors had done that. And perhaps because of that, US visitors were more nervous about sharing personal information at check-in, but both groups were equally concerned about signing in via fingerprint, facial recognition or voice recognition software.

Women are more likely than men to check out the names of previous visitors (65.4% admitted to having done that compared to 56.4% of men). But at the same time, women are more concerned than men about providing biometric information about themselves at check-in; 41.0% would not be happy to provide this, compared to 26.0% of men.

Beyond the issue of natural curiosity vs. polite discretion, at the legal level, Proxyclick points out that businesses that continue to use paper logbooks with previous sign-ins visible are in breach of GDPR — the European data privacy legislation that came into force this year.

Desired improvements

When asked what would improve people’s experience in a corporate lobby, free drinks and friendlier receptionists came out top.

  • Self-serve refreshments — 50.1%
  • Friendly front-of-house staff — 49.5%
  • Free Wi-Fi — 47.0%
  • Laptop/electrical charging points — 29.6%
  • Complimentary newspaper — 18.8%
  • Workspace area — 17.3%
  • Other — 0.6%
  • N/A / I don’t know / nothing in particular — 10.3%

Most visitors are under-prepared for their visit, with very few receiving advanced information about their meeting location and facilities. When asked if they had been sent information prior to their visit to another office, the most common instruction was:

  • Details/contacts for the meeting host — 53.8%
  • A calendar request for your meeting — 52.8%
  • Parking details — 45.9%
  • Transport options — 30.3%
  • Request for photo I.D. on day of your meeting — 23.6%
  • Catering requirements, e.g., your desired beverage — 18.7%
  • Wi-Fi details — 15.4%
  • None of the above — 11.1%


In the summer of 2018, Proxyclick, the creator of a next-generation visitor management iPad app, commissioned global research firm OnePoll to interview 2,000 office workers in the US and Europe about their experiences in the corporate lobbies and reception areas of companies they visit. The results were analyzed by built environment communications specialists Magenta Associates and launched by Proxyclick in the autumn.

The 2,000 respondents were equally spread across the US and Europe: 50% US and 50% Europe. The respondents were 38% male and 62% female, and were spread equally across age ranges.

For those interested in improving the lobby experience of their visitors, Proxyclick offers a free research white paper on The Integrated Visitor Experience.