Want to be More Successful? Fix Your Office

The stories of businesses launching in garages and on kitchen tables are legends.  Yet if you go back and look at those famous garages and tables, you won’t see a mess of dirty dishes and oil cans. You see dedicated spaces devoted to work.

The aesthetics of your workplace matters.

Years ago, when I was a newly married twenty something, my husband and I were shopping for a dining set.  It was what you did back then.  As if somehow matching chairs were proof you were actual adults.

Standing in the furniture store contemplating the large (for us) purchase I spied a beautiful office

I sighed, ”That’s gorgeous, I wish I could have something like that.”  At the time, I was an outside sales rep with a home office in the bonus room above our garage.  My desk was cheap particleboard, my chair was old and uncomfortable, and I had nothing on the walls except a few sales awards.

No one ever saw it but me, why bother making it anything other than bare basics?

My husband, who was not thrilled with spending big money on a dining room said, “You spend more time in your home office than we’ll ever spend in the dining room.  Why don’t you buy it?”

In that moment I realized, he was right.  I spent at least 2 hours a day in my office, and I hated the way it looked!  Just walking into it sent a signal, this is a crummy place for an unimportant person.

I bought the fancy desk setup on the spot.  I then hung art on the walls and bought beautiful desk accessories.  I may have been working alone, but I had the nicest blue wooden file trays you’ll ever see.

Not surprisingly, my office attitude changed immediately. Every time I walked into my space, I felt special.  The year after I decorated my office I was the sales rep of the year.

When you’re bootstrapping it up, furnishings may seem like a frivolous luxury.  And if you work in an endless sea of gray cubes, you may not realize how your environment impacts your attitude.

Humans are visual creatures.  What we see affects how we feel, and how we feel impacts how we behave.  Whether you have a dedicated room, a cube, or a tiny shelf in the corner of your apartment, what you see when you go to work matters.

Walk into a beautiful light-filled restaurant; your posture and mood improve before you even hit the maitre’d. .  Now walk into a dumpy fast food place, you feel icky the moment you cross the threshold.

If you want to improve at work, look at your own space.  What does it tell you about the person who works there?  Does it say, this work matters?  Or no one cares?

Everyone deserves an inspiring workspace.  You don’t have to spend a fortune or have a big space.  Pinterest is filled with inexpensive hacks. You can carve half a closet, or at the very least give yourself a beautiful screensaver and nice journal to use when you sit at your kitchen counter.  If it improves your performance by 1%, it’s worth it.

It doesn’t matter if no one else sees it.  You see it!  The message you get from your workspace informs the way you operate. You deserve to feel great.