Spruce Up Your Home Office
Three grey walls. A filing tray or two. A busted stapler. A swivel chair whose seat adjustment is shot. These are your tools. Your home office may have been an afterthought but don’t despair. We know just the spice to take your space from technically acceptable to downright delectable!
As we move away from our more rigid professional environments based on production and industry homeward where the optimal work place is mostly our decision, many may be lost as to how to achieve their place of perfection. More and more, people are working remotely in ill prepared home offices. Obviously, this is bad news for those CEOs who would prefer their employees chained to their desks, regardless of the strain this puts on their productivity.
The bottom line is that cubicles are basically the Dementors of the corporate wasteland, and their use is declining accordingly as a result. They strip us of our autonomy and reinforce the irreconcilable fact that we are all just cogs in a wheel spiraling further and further out of our control. This feeling spawns a lot of anxiety and loneliness, which has a negative impact on our work – both in quantity and quality. For those of us who are still shackled to the albatross that is the cubicle, however, there are ways to overcome the impedimentary monotony of these antiquated work spaces. The trick is to make your space work for you rather than the inverse.
Around most offices, the quality of your chair is usually a direct corollary of your seniority. Rookies get the worst chair, and as more senior team members quit or get canned, these newbs slowly start to move up the ladder in the chair department. What we are suggesting is that you take the silver lining opportunity working from home has given us. If your chair sucks, you don’t have to grin and bear it. Buy a chair online and ask if your company might be willing to split the cost of a new one. It doesn’t need to be $1,000 to be an improvement!
In Living Color
Probably the most depressing aspect of any cubicle is the gray nothingness that surrounds you. These dull walls have swallowed up the imagination of many an idealistic young soul and will continue to do just that until we recognize the importance of color on our mood and creative output. Fix this by simply cutting out a measure of foam that matches the dimensions of one of your nearby walls and attach decorative paper or fabric with adhesive or staples. Now you have vibrant surroundings that can be used as a pin board. It’s also easily replaceable if your color preferences change with the seasons. Hang pictures and artwork to your heart’s content to complement your awesome new hue. If it’s not visible on your teams Skype call, feel free to make it what you want!
The Good Earth
The wellness benefits of keeping flowers and plants indoors are well documented. They improve air quality, decrease stress, and improve productivity. They also make your space more comfortable and thus, more of a haven for quality, creative work. Some people turn their office space into veritable gardens – hanging plants, forest dioramas, garden gnomes. You get the picture. And while it’s definitely fun to go full Ferngully on your area, you don’t have to be a professional landscaper to make your work space feel more organic. A simple perennial or two (hostas, hibiscus, azaleas, etc.) can do wonders for your cubicle and keep you in touch with your natural habitat!
Munch on Munchies
Like pretty much any other human activity, food can only help the situation. Low blood sugar is distracting and hampers optimal brain activity, so as long as you keep things in moderation, snack on! The smartest and easiest way to do this is to prepare a week’s worth of snacks on Sunday evenings and then keep them at your desk or in a clearly marked container in the refrigerator. Hard boiled eggs, homemade trail mix, fresh green smoothies, and fruit kabobs are all easy to make, and eat, which is exactly what you want when snacking at work. Also, a bag of M&M’s or Sour Patch Kids aren’t going to kill you as long as you practice a little self control. Eat a little; work a lot. This is one of the biggest benefits to working from home, those leftovers don’t seem so bad when you can reheat them in the oven!
The point of all this is that cubicles are usually about as horrible as we are lazy. This is your chance to make your office what you want. So if you’re sick of trudging along through each and every day, put in a little effort. Increase your physical comfort, add some visual stimulation, buy a plant or two, and pack some tasty snacks, and you’ll see dividends for just a little effort. If you’re headed back to the office, take your home office with you! Once you’ve perfected your environment, there’s no sense in wasting that effort, plus you can fill that space with a new roommate.