Wednesday, July 19, 2017
A multigenerational workplace is a tricky subject – it’s a big task to accommodate everyone’s different values, goals, and work habits. I read this article recently, and although it’s geared specifically to legal practice, it’s so applicable to other office working environments.
So – as I’m making the transition from classroom to office, and from a workplace with mostly young people in their 20s & 30s to a workplace with an older average age, I’m finding my own generational values and goals are pretty transparent. Especially when it comes to the environment that helps me work best.
When I first got this job offer, I immediately hopped into my college graduating class’s Facebook group and asked my fellow Scotties for advice: How do I work in an office all day?! How can I make my sterile office environment feel more welcoming and calm? As always, they gave great advice: from getting lamps to offset the fluorescent lights to using lots of pops of color to incorporating “homey” accents like plants and family photos.
I’m happy to report that I successfully incorporated their advice, added some of my own elements, and my office really has become a calm haven where I can focus and work really efficiently.
And so – some of my decorating/office life tips:
- Pick Color Scheme: The color scheme I chose was black, white, and gold, with pops of green and blue. It was a perfect, simple theme for finding black frames at Goodwill, some gold accents from around my house, other little pops of color like my green tea mug and some colorful coasters a friend made. These colors matched my personal style (I mean…our wedding colors were “neutrals and naturals”), so entering my office immediately makes me feel like it’s mine.
- Frame Some Stuff: I finally framed my diplomas and my Phi Beta Kappa certificate, so I can rep my alma mater – plus, it helps me to look just a little more official when I have visitors. I also framed a couple of family photos and made some Dayton-themed graphics for a gallery wall (I found a set of 5 matching frames at Goodwill – yes!). I also finally have a perfect place to display a portrait that a family friend had commissioned of me holding my viola. What better place to display it than my office in the Dayton Performing Arts Alliance?
- Make Your Body Happy: A comfy chair, a gel wrist rest for my keyboard, and a salt lamp are all ways that I’m trying to keep my body happy while sitting in front of a computer for most of the day. My most ridiculous/best purchase was a pair of blue-light blocking glasses. They have a slight orange tint and they’re not prescription, so if I’m not working directly at my computer, I just take them off. They’ve worked wonders for helping my eyes not to get as tired and improving my sleep after I’ve been looking at a screen for hours and hours. And although this isn’t exactly office decoration, my watch reminds every hour to stand up and do some stretches, which is a good break when I’m losing track of time.
- Get Some Better Lighting: Fluorescent lights immediately make a room feel sterile and they do not promote the calm feeling I wanted to have in my office. We found some lamps on Craigslist and Target and now I don’t even have to turn on the fluorescent lights in my office. I know it’s not doable for everyone’s office situation, but it was certainly a game-changer for me.
- Organize the Heck Out of Everything: I’m naturally an over-organizer, so in my first week on the job whenever I had extra time, I would clean out drawers, rearrange files, and just generally make things more usable for my work style. It helped to spend that time at the beginning organizing, because now I mostly know where everything’s located, and stuff I use frequently is within grabbing distance.
- Yes, I Have Some Fidgets: I have a glitter jar and a fidget spinner and although it’s completely ridiculous, when I’m stuck on something or need a little mental break I bust them out. I feel absurd (and like a traitor to every one of my teacher friends), but it’s nice to have some tools to take a little brain break.
What advice do you have for working in an office environment?