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June 2022

Make an (unforgettable) first impression

Written by Nathalie Leblond
Workplace Hygiene, Environment and Green Hygiene

The reception area is usually the first thing you see when entering an office. And as psychologists are quick to tell us, first impressions not only matter, they last. Here’s how to ensure that your reception area makes a positive first impression by harnessing the power of plans and office hygiene together.

Judging something on first impressions isn’t a myth – it’s scientifically proven. Research from psychologists at Princeton University revealed that it takes us just one-tenth of a second to form first impressions of strangers' faces and that these first impressions aren't easily changed once made.

We believe that the answer to this lies in combining some old knowledge, and some new findings

  1. Biophilia: our innate tendency to seek connections with nature, which is a concept that's been around since the 1970's, and
  2. Rentokil Initial's 2021 global hygiene research: which shone a light on changing expectations of a hygienic workplace. 

Let me elaborate on how these two pieces of information are not only related but can ensure that you make a great first impression.

Plants in the office biophilic design principles for your office from your hygiene specialist Initial

Incorporating biophilic design principles – tapping into humans’ innate need to connect with nature – could be part of the answer to fostering memorable first impressions. Simply put, the biophilia hypothesis tells us what we already know: connecting with nature makes us happier and healthier.

So why not utilise this innate affinity for nature by incorporating plants (an aesthetically pleasing addition) to any entrance or reception area?

Incorporating large potted plants at the entrance, combined with smaller plants on the reception desk, is a great place to start for an instantly natural feel.

How to become an employer of choice by making hygiene second nature

Attractive hand sanitizer Sanigreen unit

But let's take that one step further... imagine if we could combine our need to connect with nature with changing expectations from employees and consumers regarding visible hygiene.

In September 2021 Rentokil Initial released a new hygiene report, The Global Hygiene Reset, examining the Coronavirus pandemic’s influence on people’s behaviour, expectations, and attitudes towards hygiene.

We surveyed 20,000 people across 20 countries - including South Africa - to build a global perspective. Unsurprisingly, we found that hygiene concerns have been increased by the pandemic, with 71% of respondents concerned about whether a venue has adequate measures in place to stop the spread of germs, and 84% of respondents feeling that it’s important that employers prioritise creating safe and hygienic environments.

Biophilia meets hygiene

So why not make a great first impression by addressing those hygiene concerns immediately, as employees, visitors, or guests enter your reception? And why not do it by combining the beauty and benefits of a living plant with the functionality of a hand sanitiser?

Our Sanigreen plant stand hand sanitiser unit provides visible reassurance that hygiene protocols are being taken seriously while feeding our need for a connection with nature.

First Impressions, best impressions

The reception area is the face of the office, so it’s important to ensure it represents the company’s values and feels welcoming.  By incorporating biophilic design elements and people's need for more visible hygiene protocols and assurances, you'll be sure to create positive and lasting first impressions of your business.

Read more on the benefits of indoor plants and how they can help with first impressions.

benefits of indoor plants for the healthcare and nursing sector

Nathalie Leblond

Nathalie Leblond

I joined Rentokil Initial South Africa in 2004 as the PA to the MD, and after 6 months maternity leave I re-joined the Company in 2009 as the Marketing Co-ordinator for Rentokil. I'm now the Marketing Communication Manager for Rentokil Initial. I'm still terrified of cockroaches (Americana's only!) but the rest of the creepy crawlies we deal with don't really bug me (see what I did there?), so I guess I'm in the right industry! I am passionate about what we do here at Rentokil Initial and also write for our Hygiene Blog, which can be found at blog.initial.co.za, and our Ambius blog - https://www.ambius.co.za/blog. Life outside of Rentokil Initial mostly revolves around my daughter, who has just turned twelve, and my husband (who is a bit older). I love living in Cape Town and wouldn't trade living here for anywhere else in the world.

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