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What Is the First Impression of Your Office?

What Is the First Impression of Your Office?

Julie Parrine CPS/CPA

First impressions count!

Part of an administrative professional’s unwritten job title is to professionally project and promote the corporate brand and image to the public. As administrative professionals, we do that by how we greet our guests and how we maintain our desk and accompanying office areas where we work.

Walk in the front door of your office and look around to see what you can actually see from the doorway of your office. Do this daily! Things that you can see, customers or clients visiting your office can see, too.

Is confidential information exposed on desktops or countertops?

Do you or your cube mates have things sticking up above the top of your cubes in awkward or cluttered ways?

Does it feel clean, warm, friendly, inviting, and professional?

Are empty boxes cluttering open areas?

Are pending shipments clogging main traffic flow areas?

Are the lights on?

Are coats hanging off of chairs and cube walls (instead of in closets or neatly on hangers)?

These are just a few of the things to be aware of. When we are in the same environment each day, it’s easy to overlook things that may stick out — like a dead plant — to someone new who walks into your office for the first time.

Once you review the asthetics of the office, do an assessment of the human side.

How are your guests, visitors, customers, or potential clients greeted when they enter your office?

Is everyone greeted with eye contact in the same professional, warm, genuine manner?

Do some people get more attention and respect than others?

It’s easy to get involved in what’s going on and completely tune out the flow of traffic around us at times. However, if you are the person sitting at the desk who is the first face your visitors see when they enter your office, then you make the first impression. When they enter your office, they should be greeted in a warm, genuine, and professional manner. It doesn’t have to be lengthy or involved, but it does need to acknowledge the person with respect and professionalism.

For employees or contractors who frequently visit your office throughout the day or week, it’s easy to let them pass without even noticing sometimes. But the greeting or acknowledgment they receive as they pass by your desk may set the tone for the rest of their day. So flash them a big smile and help make it a great one!

Here is the standard checklist of items that I have used to train new admins and to evaluate if my office is meeting professional expectations:

When appropriate, Receptionist/Admin stands to greet visitors.

Greeting is friendly, with eye contact, and a smile in their voice.

Acknowledge visitors entrance into the office even if the Admin is on the phone (smile, nod, hold up your hand to indicate you’ll be with them in a minute, etc).

Person at the desk is professionally groomed.

Countertops are clean and pile-free.

Waiting area clean and clutter-free.

Empty boxes and cartons aren’t stacked in open areas.

Mail bins or incoming/outgoing mail areas clearly labeled. (You don’t want people to get in the habit of digging around on your desk to find thing especially if they are external couriers or contractors that you regularly work with to exchange packages, information, etc.)

Plants are alive and well kept (dead sections removed)/ floral bouquets are fresh — not wilted or droopy.

Ask someone you know to “secret shop” your office for you and evaluate you and/or your team on these things.

First impressions are made in a split second and can last for a lifetime. Make your first impression a positively professional one!

Julie Perrine CPS/CAP
Qualified Myers-Briggs Administrator

Original blog post “What is the FIRST IMPRESSION of your office?”

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