According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of hours the average American worker spent at the office in 2016 was 8.3 hours. That’s a significant portion of one’s day to be away from home and family. So, when we are at work, why not make it a great space to be in? Make it your space. There’s nothing wrong with bringing a small touch of personal style to your office space. Some people may argue that it is unprofessional but I disagree. There are days I may spend up to 10 or 12 hours in my office space. On those days I appreciate some of my own style being reflected around me. It reminds me of my purpose and reminds me of what is waiting for me at home.
I am certainly not suggesting you display your bachelorette pictures or pictures of you downing a few adult beverages at your last concert. That would be too personal and probably cross that line of professionalism. What I am saying is that some personalization is important for several reasons. First, so that people to understand that you are human too. You have a life outside of work, interests outside of work, and you are more than what’s enclosed in that office. Second, it allows you to bring your why to work- everyday. Third, especially for me, it is a way I can incorporate a calm ambiance in the midst of any stressful day. Here are a few ways I achieved this.
We all know the harsh reality of office lighting. It can be extremely bright and unforgiving. Vivian Giang recently wrote a piece on the color of lighting and how if effects productivity. It discusses how warm lighting may be more comforting and relaxing. Under harsh office lights, I often found myself with headaches instead of being more productive as noted in the article. The bright lighting was everywhere- there was no escape. I read about the benefits of salt lamps and decided to purchase one for myself. While I cannot attest to the flow of positive ions (one of the benefits of a salt lamp), I can attest to the fact that this lamp gave off the most beautiful amber glow. It is the calm in the storm of my day and often becomes a conversation piece as many comment on how beautiful it is. Although this cannot be the only source of light in your office space, it certainly can be the most beautiful!
Just as artwork is an expression of the artist, it is also an expression of the person who chooses to display and cherish it. Although I love inspirational quotes and scenery, what I really love to hang are framed artwork from my kids. To the right are a few pieces I have hung up over the years. Here are the stories:
My son was studying Picasso in kindergarten- many years ago. He happened to bring this one home and I fell in love with it. The frame was one that I happened upon at my parents house. My Dad had made it for something many years prior my Son’s rendition of Waterlilies. Back then, Michaels wasn’t really a thing so I just bought a white foam board, cut out the middle and attached the painting to the backside of it. Close up, you definitely can tell my cut lines weren’t straight but every piece of it was hand made.
My daughter’s art piece stemmed from a Girl Scout project. Birch trees are just so beautiful with their white bark. However, where I live, the snow does quite a number on them and they usually do end up being as bent over as the one’s in my daughter’s picture. With this picture, my husband made the frame. He took the time to plane, cut, stain, and create the gorgeous frame this picture sits in.
Every-time I look at these, it helps me get through my day. I remember the stories that go along with each of the pieces.
Essential Oil Diffuser
I have often heard that certain scents can emit different emotions and feelings. When looking for houses, I watched a lot of HGTV. I often heard them discuss burning cookie scented candles or baking bread during open houses. This way, the buyers walk into a warm, comforting, and subliminally homey place. Well, this same concept can be transferred to your office space too. While I do not promote baking bread or cookies in your office (although it would make you popular) unless you are a baker, it would probably be frowned upon. What I am saying is that bringing certain scents in the form of essential oils and a diffuser can help you personalize your office space. It can make it more inviting and relaxing not to mention all of the other benefits touted.
What I and many others have found is that the essential oils can change according to the needs of my day. If I am busy with a project, I may want to focus. So I will use citrus based scents like orange or lemon. If I am feeling overwhelmed and stressed, I may reach for the lavender. This scent is well known to relax- think baby wash. On hand, I keep a collection of blends that will help me create a calming atmosphere or an atmosphere that will energize me and anyone I am working with. While the various benefits of essential oils are not the point of this post, it is certainly another tool to help you personalize your office space without being too over the top.
Another way to also add some personalization is to incorporate some greenery into your space. Let’s face it, offices can often be a cold place. I don’t mean temperature cold but feeling wise. Harsh lighting, bland walls, etc.. Having some type of plant can help bring some of the outdoors in and warm up your space. Personally, I like small, fake plants. Ones that look realistic. For me, I find that live plants are very difficult to maintain- even in my home. Vacations, long weekends, work travel, and just plain forgetting to water a live plant can kill it easily. Your once beautiful plant can quickly turn dry and brittle. That does not help enhance your office at all. I find a few statement pieces get the trick done without alot of effort.
As you can see, it doesn’t take a lot of effort to bring just a little bit of personalization to your office space. It is possible to bring in the personality and still maintain a professional vibe to your work area. There are many other ideas but these are just a few of my go to items. Office supplies also comes to mind but that will be a separate blog post- actually that would potentially be several posts!
So tell me how you bring your personality into your space?
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