Find the best visitors chair for my office

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Looking for a visitor chair for your office? There are a number of chairs available in varying price categories, that are suitable for any visitor to your office, reception area, meeting room, or breakout area. Once you have decided on the aesthetic attributes, be sure to consider the other 10 important factors before making your decision.

Types of Visitor Chair

1. Traditional 4-Legged or Sleighbase Armchair

The Activ 4-legged and sleighbase visitor chairs are
complementary to the Activ Executive and Task chairs.

Typically, this type of chair is sold as a set together with an Executive chair….all of them having the same look and feel. The visitor chairs can also be used around a meeting or boardroom table.

2. An Operator or Task Chair for your Visitor

Task chairs are definitely an option when your visitors may have to use their laptop or take notes.

The ability to adjust the chair correctly makes your visitors more comfortable and focused during the meeting.  

3. Soft seating for visitors

This type of seating has really taken off in the last couple of years. By breaking the traditional unexciting office look, interior designers are mixing traditional office furniture with softer domestic seating. This trend has added ‘life’ to the office environment and provides a huge selection of options in multiple shapes, sizes and configurations.  

4. Canteen Chairs

When price is important, consider using plastic canteen-type chairs for visitors to your office.

The styles are endless and can be available with or without upholstery. In many cases, these chairs can be stacked when not required, thereby taking up very little space.

5. Reception Seating

All the above chairs can also be used in your reception area….it is simply a function of the look and feel you want to present to your customers.

Recently, social-distancing has resulted in a trend away from traditional bench seating. There are of course many alternatives depending on the space available.

Once you have an idea of the style of office visitor chair or reception seating you need, the following 10 factors will help you make an informed decision. If nothing else, they will assist you in deciding what you don’t want!

10 Factors to consider before buying a Visitor Chair

1. Who are your visitors?

Defining who your visitors are is a good first step in determining what type of visitor chair or reception seating you require. For example:

  • In terms of the company or workplace hierarchy, are your visitors more senior than yourself? In such a case, upholstered visitor chairs may be better than plastic moulded seating.
  • Are your visitors colleagues or subordinates? Will a simple upholstered or un-upholstered chair be suitable?
  • In a factory or production environment, are your visitors in factory overalls? Do you need a chair that can be easily cleaned and is robust and durable?
  • Are your visitors children? If so, do you really want a chair that spins and rolls around? Is height adjustability important so that they will sit at the correct height?

2. Where are your meetings held?

If you are meeting at your desk where your guests don’t need a work surface, the visitor chairs can be slightly lower than your desk. Meeting around a conference table is a different scenario. Here you often require a working surface and all the chairs should be higher, and preferably height adjustable.

3. How long are your meetings?

If you want your meetings wrapped up quickly, then don’t get soft and luxurious visitor chairs!

Rather look for something plain, simple and firm that says, “Let us get this meeting over in the shortest possible time”, and not, “Welcome, enjoy your stay!”

4. How much space do you have available?

If space is at a premium, look for chairs that are smaller in structure, swivel and preferably with castors. This makes the chair easier to move around your office and for your visitors to move in and out from the table.

5. What type of floor do you have?

  • Tiles, Wood or Vinyl:
    With a tiled, wooden or vinyl floor, the noise factor should be considered. If you decide on a task chair with castors, ensure the chair is fitted with soft PU castors. This will reduce the noise and allow the chair to roll and not ‘skid’ across the floor surface. Alternatively, use a 4-legged or sleighbase chair and ensure protective glides are fitted to the bottom of the 4-legs or sleighbase.
  • Carpet:
    A thick piled carpet is not ideal for a chair on wheels because it restricts maneuverability. Preferably use a 4-legged or sleighbase chair.
sleighbase visitor chair fitted with clides
Glides on a sleighbase visitor chair will allow the chair to move easily while also protecting the floor.

6. How large are your typical visitors and what style of chair should you provide?

Welcoming a visitor who feels uncomfortable sitting on the chair provided is not a good way to start a meeting. Conversely, having large chairs for small people or children, can make them uncomfortable as they either have to sit on the edge of the seat so that their feet touch the floor, or if they sit back in the chair, they cannot bend their knees.

7. How high should your visitor chairs be?

The visitor chair will more than likely go together with a desk or table. If there is no table involved, then the height of the chair is not an issue. As a rule of thumb, the height of the chair seat should be between 25-30cm lower than the top of the desk. Task chairs are height adjustable, so set the height to accommodate your visitors.

8. What look & feel do you want to create?

Soft seating promotes more of a relaxed atmosphere and breaks the traditional boring office look. By adding a more designer or domestic feel, you can create a bit of exhilaration to your environment. Depending on the design of the chair and office, it will allow people to engage and chat more easily. This is especially the case in breakout areas where the purpose is to keep people in the office and allow interaction on a less formal basis. The use of soft seating in an office.

9. What type of upholstery do you prefer?

Fabric selection is vast and can sometimes be confusing. When choosing a fabric consider the following:

  • Cleanliness:
    Leather, leather look or vinyl upholstery is usually easier to clean than fabric.
  • Health & Safety:
    With the advent of Covid-19, anti-viral fabrics have come to the fore together with Anti-Bacterial fabrics suitable for office and reception environments.  
  • Design:
    The choice of fabrics is vast. Printed options that can include anything from flowers to cartoons to family pictures. Prints are ideal in an environment where you would like your visitor to take notice of the fabric, for example a children’s waiting area. Depending on the quality of the fabric, a plastic covering can add longevity to the upholstery.  

10. What is your budget for visitor chairs?

Lastly, everything has a price tag, including an office visitor chair! Consider the above factors and match your requirements to what’s available. Cheap plastic chairs are available for under R100, whereas a more luxurious office visitor chair or leather couch can have a price tag of many thousands of Rand.

The great thing about visitor chairs is that because they are not used constantly, they can be moved around, so you can start off with “cheap” temporary seating and replace these when necessary.

Conclusion

Finding the right visitor or reception chair for your environment may seem like a lot of hard work, but the reward is enormous. The correct chairs bring a real sense of style and design into your workplace and will leave a lasting impression on your customers and visitors.

Visit our showroom or Contact us for more information.


Author: John Karle
Director at Karo Manufacturing (Pty) Ltd
8 July 2021

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