First Impressions Count

The phrase, ‘you never get a second chance to make a first impression’ has been attributed to Oscar Wilde, although it seems no one actually heard him say it. This does not lessen its validity however, and first impressions in your workplace are as important as they are in your personal life.

In 2016, one thousand people took part in a survey conducted by Censuswide and answered questions about first impressions. The research revealed that nearly three quarters of  adults make a judgement within just one minute of meeting someone. The top three things people notice about a person are clothing, body language and facial features. 36% of adults in the UK trust a person to do a better job when they are smartly dressed.


The results make it clear that people form opinions based on a number of key factors. Here’s a quick guide to how you can make sure your workplace impresses in a positive way on a first visit.

Workplace appearance

 No matter what type of workplace you have, whether it’s a factory, office or shop, the physical environment and layout should be in good shape. If walls or floors are grimy or in need of fresh paint, they will drag down the appearance of the workplace and may be off-putting to visitors. If carpets are threadbare and shabby, they could be a safety hazard as well as unappealing. Redecorate and upgrade when you need to and make the most of today’s sophisticated industrial cleaning equipment to ensure your workplace is clean and welcoming.

Encourage employees

Make sure there is a policy in your workplace about keeping surfaces and workstations clean and clear of debris. There are plenty of decent bins available for internal and external use that will help encourage your staff members to be tidy and diligent about recycling waste appropriately.

The individuals you employ in certain areas are particularly important when it comes to good first impressions. Body language, facial expressions and etiquette matter in all employees, especially those in roles such as:

  • Reception
  • Sales
  • Telephone responses
  • Social media responses/chat rooms.

Key roles

The first point of contact for many people is the reception area and employees in this position should dress smartly, speak clearly and politely and offer a welcoming smile. Survey respondents said they felt more confident and professional if they were dressed appropriately for their role, and visitors will notice this, often within just one minute of being at reception.

Your sales team have the important job of meeting customer needs as well as attracting new business. Good sales staff are personable and polite. They should be good listeners rather than inclined to talk over existing and potential new clients.

Telephone operators and employees dealing with social media are often in the position of dealing with problems or complaints as well as general enquiries. For this reason, they should be thoroughly trained in all aspects of their job, including how to deal with difficult or unhappy customers in a calm, professional way. Again, etiquette is important and even if they encounter aggressive behaviour, they should not retaliate.

Disclaimer: The information provided through Legislation Watch is for general guidance only and is not legal advice. Legislation Watch is not a substitute for Health and Safety consultancy. You should seek independent advice about any legal matter.

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