A Checklist to Make Your Office Stand Out

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In July 2015, Dan Richards shared information on appropriate dress for client and prospect meetings. He stated that "what you wear will not only affect the way you are perceived by others, but also the way you think about yourself."

Earlier in my career, I was in the fashion industry and am still a certified image consultant. I wholeheartedly agree with Dan. Teresa Riccobuono

Although personal appearance is what is most often thought of when discussing first impressions, how your office looks matters just as much.

I visit many advisor offices each year and have put together a checklist and guide for evaluating and improving office appearance.

Someone who has worked in your office for some time has likely become immune to the surroundings, so ask someone who is new to the office to go through the following checklist. If this is not possible, ask a spouse or someone who has a discerning eye.

Things to look out for:

  • dust
  • cobwebs
  • dirty windows
  • dirty, broken or bent window blinds
  • dying plants – there are terrific fake plants available
  • piles of paperwork
  • smudged desktops or mirrors
  • post-it notes around computer and/or along reception area counter ledges
  • crooked pictures
  • crumbs, lint or stains on carpet
  • beat up furniture
  • dirty or torn chairs
  • too many trinkets or knickknacks
  • coffee cups with rings on the inside
  • old candy – especially if it is stuck together or discolored
  • outdated magazines
  • handwritten, torn or outdated signage
  • smells (food, cleaning products)
  • noise – don’t forget about the hold music and other noise associated with the office – when are the gardeners and garbage trucks on site?
  • old whiteboard – can no longer be cleaned, dried out pens
  • what is playing on the television -- not market update news I hope
  • dirty, dark, smelly bathroom (see below)
  • garbage cans – overflowing, food, ugly plastic bag liners (full of air)
  • writing pads that have scraps of paper at the top where sheets were not torn off cleanly
  • pens with another company’s logo
  • landscaping (this may or may not be something you have control over)