If you’re anything like 40 million other Americans, odds are you work in a cubicle or an office smaller than the bathroom in your first 5th floor walk up apartment. Your work space is cramped and you might not know it – but it’s affecting your work performance. According to a report by the New Yorker, a 2011 review of studies examining the effects of various types of office environments found that open offices have a negative impacts on worker when it comes to focus, productivity, creativity and job satisfaction. Also, employees in open offices often also experience higher stress levels and less concentration that those who have standard offices.
So, how do you battle the cubicle crush? Below are three tips on how to transform your work space into a productive and safe zone.
Depending on where you work there will be different regulations on the adjustments you are allowed to make so please consult with your corporate policy guide before making any radical decisions!
1. The walls are closing in! After long hours and dozens of employees buzzing around your open work space, you can start feeling like the walls are closing in. In order to make your space more comfortable start by covering the largest surface areas –the floor and wall! Consider purchasing a small area rug. If your chair rolls, look at bamboo or roll up rugs that are thinner and still allow mobility. If your walls allow for tacks, then simply drape some fabric around the corners. If not, then make a few foam boards of your favorite photographs. You can easily turn any photo into a poster board or painting, which can be hung on the wall.
2. Smile! Bringing some of our prized possessions to work is a great way to add a human touch to your work space. When I worked at ABC Television, I bought myself a water jug that had a photo of my husband and me on vacation. It was a photo that was taken while we were having fun on the beach. So, every time I was having a rough day, I would just take a tea break and stare at my mug and remember some good times. This would allow me to take some perspective and realize that, most of the time, getting upset just wasn’t worth the energy. Photos are also a great conversation started if you are new to the company or often have co-workers or clients stopping by your space.
3. Show me the green! No, I don’t mean dollars. Go to your local gardening store and pick yourself a plant. It doesn’t matter if it’s a potato vine, orchid or cactus. Having something living in a sterile environment makes all the difference. Also, it gives you a routine and keeps you on point. Watering my plant every Monday was the first thing I did every week and it helped me stay organized and on top of my other tasks.
Even though making your work space different takes courage to stand out among your peers, ultimately you will be making a space where you feel more comfortable and productive. Make it fun, and create a Cubicle Challenge on your floor and challenge your co-workers to follow the trend.