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Dress the part: Appearances, impressions on the jobsite

First impressions are important in almost every industry. The first impression on the jobsite, however, is one that seems to get overlooked. Displaying the wrong appearance at a jobsite can negatively affect you and your company's reputation, hurt the chances of any referral business, and even be dangerous to those working on the site.

"The image of one’s company in the field is as important as that of your offices," Luis Jauregui, president, Jauregui Architecture Interiors Construction, Austin, Texas. "Staff appearance, starting with your receptionist, professionals and especially field personnel including superintendents and subcontractors is one the most telling signs of a company’s corporate image.

"Providing company shirts is a good start. I have encountered situations that are challenging in the field, such as people telling me they need to look dirty and in disarray so that clients see that they have been working hard. I think some of these people just like to look that way and I think it is a challenge to change them. The only alternative is to replace them even when they are good workers," Jauregui says. "Good grooming including facial hair and trimmed hair can be also a problem and difficult to address. The construction industry is notorious for this and the only solution is to hire the right people to be in line with the image that you want to project."

Arthur Lander, superintendent, Fred Berglund and Sons Construction, Chicago, offers a list of tips for giving the appropriate jobsite image:

  • Limited jewelry. Not only does excessive/flashy jewelry not convey a professional image, they also can pose a safety hazard.
  • Watch your language at all times. No offensive or derogatory comments, cuss words, etc., especially when working in an area directly adjacent to the public.
  • No shirts with offensive slogans, alcohol and tobacco slogans. No clothing with an excessive amount of holes or cut offs. And make sure you cannot see your undergarments.
  • This should go without saying, but maintaining proper safety gear is a must for a professional image. Proper work boots, hard hats, safety glasses, and OSHA regulations should be followed at all times on a jobsite, even if builders are just passing through the worksite. This is not only a safety precaution but it shows owners you are taking your job and the regulations of your trade seriously.
  • With such manual labor, hygiene is looser than most professions but make sure it is in alignment with being able to execute your job successfully. If your work requires you to wear respirators, you can’t get a tight fit with excessive facial hair. Make sure if you have long hair, it is pulled back and not obstructing your view or in danger of getting caught in tools.
  • No smoking or chewing tobacco.
  • Take breaks in designated break areas. Any garbage or trash from food and breaks should be removed from the jobsite immediately to maintain a professional image for the entire company. Not only is this important for professionalism, but garbage can also lead to pests and vermin.
  • Housekeeping in general is very crucial; be especially sensitive of the times of operation of the establishment. When remodeling, it should be as if you weren’t even there (handrails wiped down, etc.) and dirt and debris should not be tracked where customers have exposure to it.
  • Be cognizant of the public, users and staff. Always be polite and courteous. This reflects both on you as a professional and the company you are a part of.
  • This last one is a tip not so much for the jobsite specifically, but to shed the most professional light possible on yourself; it is important to always expand your education and qualifications. The more things you are certified in like OSHA certification courses, CPR training, etc., the more a competent professional you become. You are then able to be given more responsibility because of your training.

What are your tips for a good jobsite appearance? Share them below.