Monday, October 18, 2010

Shosh's 3 Favorite Tips For a Happy Office

Today I spent my morning with Eve Tannery and the super smashing team at the WFMZ-TV station.  If you missed it click here to see the 2 part video. I have been looking forward to sharing my take on creating a happy office.  In todays business world, we can spend as much time if not more, in our office, as we do in our home.  And it doesn't matter whether you commute out side of your home or down the hallway in your fuzzy slippers, the office environment can really impact the value and volume of work you do.  An inviting and personal office creates a desire to be at that office and a functional one lets your mind concentrate on the task at hand.  

And for all the employers out there, studies show that a well designed office is one of the easiest and cost effective ways to retain workers and make them more productive.

My Secret- As shameful as it is, below is an an example of a very unhappy office, my office way back in the day, before I became an Interior Decorator. I could have been the leader of the Dysfunctional Office Association. I suffered from stock piling, lack of order, and blahness. 
I worked in NYC at a beautiful building in midtown in a nice sized office, but it became so unorganized, so chaotic from paperwork build up, using the wrong office organizers and situating furniture wrong.  I lost so much work time just trying to find what I needed to get moving on my projects.  And I literally drove me out-And it was such a shame because look at the beautiful view of Park Ave.

Time to break bad habits! I want to share my three favorite ways to create a Happy Office:
Tip #1 – Reinforce your Brand
Tip #2 – Don’t Think Horizontally; Think Vertically
Tip #3. – Express Yourself

Tip #1 – Reinforce your Brand
You know that saying ‘dress for the job you want not the job you have’?  Same goes for your office.  Your office should be the face of your company demonstrating the spirit of your work.  The color, comfort and style will motivate you and anyone visiting your office. 

Here is an example of Reinforcing the Brand using an office I just redesigned for the Associate Head of the Cherry Blossom Montessori School in Flagtown NJ to reinforce their brand.    This was the office before.
This office works hard as a place to do important work in, and as a gathering space for meetings with multiple parents and staff.  A wall of windows showcase the office to the open hallway.

To Reinforce the brand of the school I wanted to create a warm welcoming environment that showcased what the school is; where everyone who looks in and enters the office feels relaxed, welcome and connected to the school.

  To achieve this we chose relaxing colors on the wall and added a new carpet. Re-arrange the furniture and choosing pieces that functionally worked better, was key.  The back wall that looks into the open hallway is now filled with a growing gallery of fun student memories.  

Here is another view of the office before:
The position of the desk does not allow any privacy for the person working in this office because it faces a large group of windows that look out into the hallway. This can  really be distracting for anyone.
The furniture was old and not as stable as it used to be so we replaced it and repositioned it to give more privacy.  We added a few touches that again, reinforce that welcoming friendly environment. 

TIP #2 – Don’t Think Horizontally; Think Vertically
The more desk space you have the more you put on it.  So to keep organized and uncluttered, utilize wall storage so everything is put up and away without crowding your working area. This is also a smart tip for small offices.  Bookcases, wall shelves, filing cabinets and wall mounted file organizers are great space savers.  Another great space saver is converting a closet into a mini home office. 
I was hired to create a hard working office out of this basement space.  Part of my plan included turning this closet into more useful space.
By adding cabinets, shelves and a counter top for more working space including a fax machine, right in the closet, we have a clean desktop.  Yeah for vertical space!

TIP #3 – Express Yourself
Add personal touches that inspire you; show off your achievements-Trophies and awards, photos of and by your children, an artful chair, colorful artwork.   By infusing into your office, a bit of you, you form that connection with it and look forward to being there.  This also tells visitors that you are well rounded.  

Speaking of well rounded, I love circles (they are a symbol of infinity and have no sharp edges which is soothing to me).  So I expressed myself on one wall in my home office  using another love of mine, turquoise.  Its a fun place for me to work and get inspired, and of course, I get a lot of comments about. 
Here’s the story behind it-My friend Tracy came over with the biggest pizza I had ever seen.  We were joking about all the things we could do with the box.

That night I was in my home office staring at my wall and like deciding to go to blonde, I just leaped into it.  To see step by step instructions click here. I cut it into a giant circle and traced it over and over again on my wall.  And painted it.  It was actually very therapeutic. 

To sum up, you are a rock star and your office should represent how you rock!!!

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