The infamous office cubicle celebrated its 50th anniversary this April and if you are like most workers that occupy square footage in a “cube farm”, it is a love-hate relationship, with one end of that scale probably tipping a little heavier for the majority. Originally designed in 1964 by American, Robert Propst, the cubicle was intended to maximize space, improve work-flow and productivity and empower people. Considering you probably spend considerable time in your work space every week, for better or worse it has become your home away from home. Since most employees (unless you are one of the lucky few) don’t get to make the decisions about their furniture or the office décor you may not feel particularly inspired by your work environment. Don’t let the bigger picture bring you down, small changes can be made in your individual work area to improve your mood, keep you inspired and even increase your productivity!
Lighting: Most offices are equipped with artificial fluorescent lighting (proven to cause some of that 3pm sleepiness) and not everyone is lucky enough to have a window seat to take in some of those much needed UV rays and your daily dose of Vitamin D. Since lighting and temperature are some of the biggest influences on productivity and mood, the latter being more difficult to alter, spot lighting can be used to improve upon the current fixtures. If your company has provided you with task lighting either mounted underneath an overhead storage unit or a freestanding desk light, you are headed in the right direction. If you prefer something with a little more ambiance, bringing in a small accent lamp can add some personality to your space while brightening things up a bit. You can even add a full spectrum bulb to give you that feeling of working in sunlight.
Comfort: As ergonomics become a more prevalent discussion in the work place and a necessity for today’s workers, the task chairs provided to employees often have a plethora of adjustments and features to help you get comfortable and down to business. Because you are going to sit in your chair for a great deal of your working day, it is important that you have a chair that will be supportive to your body and conducive to the way you sit and work. If your feel that your current seating solution is not appropriate and the company is not able to accommodate you with an alternate option, you can always do a little shopping on your own. Comfort for 8 hours a day is well worth the additional investment!
Color: Many experts feel that color has a definite impact on a person’s mood. The color of an office’s walls, floors, and furniture creates an overall office environment that directly influences how workers perform. Since your boss would probably frown on you taking a break to do refresh the paint on the office walls, think creatively to bring your favorite colors into your work space. If you have tack-able space (or can dig up some of those removable hooks) you can easily transform your cubicle walls with postcards, posters or colorful artwork. Color can also be added through personal effects and accessories, a little pop of your favorite shade will make a big difference in your day.
Accessories: One of the most obvious ways to personalize your work space is accessorizing with personal mementos. These individual effects are a great reminder of why you spend all those hours grueling away at your desk. For those of you who can’t bring your pets to work (we tried this out in a recent blog) a photo of the smile of your pooch’s face is the next best thing and is guaranteed to bring a smile to yours. Family photos or kid’s artwork can be displayed in funky frames to make it feel more like home. Make your work space your own and you just might not mind spending quite so much time there.
Greenery: Last but not least, add the unique energy of living plants, bringing the outdoors in. There are cubicle-friendly plants available, just do your research to make sure the office lighting conditions will be conducive for the type of greenery you have selected. If you don’t have a green thumb (don’t worry, neither do I), opt for an ultra-low maintenance plant, make a tabletop biosphere or just fake it! You can get great realistic looking fake plants which will still brighten up your work area with none of the maintenance.
If you find that a drab color scheme or other uninviting features are affecting your ability to perform at your best, taking your cube from cookie cutter to comfortable and customized is a must. Just make sure you check with your manager first on what changes will be acceptable before you go overboard, and keep in mind you are decorating a work space, not trying to relive your college dorm room days!Back to List of Posts