Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Decorating Your Office Space

Decorating an office space can be a delicate balancing act. On the one hand you want your office space to be inviting and pleasant for both employees and visitors, while on the other hand it must remain professional in look and feel.Here are some helpful tips on how to make your office space a pleasant and productive physical environment:
Color Your World. When painting office walls, try to pick a color that reflects the spirit of your business. If you work in a traditionally conservative industry such as banking or legal services, you're better off choosing a neutral color such as light green, beige, or a shade of white. If your business is traditionally staffed by more creative types such as designers or artists, feel free to go for walls with more visual pizzazz. Whichever tone you choose, be sure to use high-quality paint that will last for a long time, as repainting an office space can be a disruptive event.
  Deck the Walls. Bare walls can give an office a dull, unlived-in feel, and that energy can affect the mood of your staff. Warm up your workspace by adding some tasteful framed photos, prints, or paintings to your walls. One creative idea is to invite local artists to display their artwork on your walls. It's a win-win situation — they get exposure for their work while you get free office decor.

Make Your Office a Green ZoneAdding a few plants and indoor trees to your office setup will make your employees feel less cut off from the outside world, especially in offices located in very urban areas. When shopping for plants, read their identifying tags to determine what kind of light each needs, and make sure they will thrive on the amount of light available in your workspace. There are also many corporate plant services that will "rent" office plants and take over their care and watering onsite. Check out What Does a Plant Service Do? for a good overview to these types of businesses.

  • Furnish with Care. Office furniture plays a large role in how an office space looks and feels. As furnishing a large space can be very expensive, most businesses tend to rent or lease their office furniture. Unfortunately, the majority of office furnishings available tend to be very bland and conservative looking. One important rule of thumb is to try to maintain the same style of furniture throughout the office. Mismatched tables and chairs tend to make any space look rather cheap and thrown together. As with wall color, try to go for a style in furnishings that reflects the energy of your industry. Check out Seven Tips for Saving Money on Office Furniture for good advice on how to make your space look great without breaking the bank.
  • Control the Clutter. It's been said that with a clear desk comes a clear mind. Keep that in mind when arranging your desktop. A framed photograph of a loved one, a telephone, and a computer should suffice. If there are office supplies you don't use on a constant basis, tuck them away in a drawer. A chaotic physical environment will soon give way to a chaotic energy in the workplace, and this is rarely good for productivity or progress.
  • Feng Shui: An Ancient Practice for the Modern Age
  • Feng shui, Chinese for "wind and water," is the traditional Chinese practice of harmoniously organizing and arranging space. Its concepts have slowly filtered into the business world over the past few years, with some of the core guidelines being:
  • Never sit with your back to the door. When visitors arrive, you don't want the back of your head to be the first thing that they encounter. Instead, arrange your desk so that it faces the door; doing so sends a message of power and strength. 
  • Light your space well. If there are fluorescent lights in your office, turn them off and bring in lamps, then find a nice balance between the light the lamps provide and the natural sunlight.
  • Create a sense of openness. Avoid a cluttered physical space by placing with only the necessary furnishings (your desk and some chairs) in the center of the room. Place all other furniture, such as bookshelves, filing cabinets, and sofas, against the walls.
For more on using feng shui techniques in a professional setting, check out The Feng Shui Office and The Ancient Art of Feng Shui.

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