Ever thought of making your cold, dreary cubicle more homey? Now obviously, unless you have a very free-spirited boss, there’s only so much you’re going to be able to do to change it; also, you don’t want to make it too much like home or else you’ll start to have difficulty keeping your home and work life separate. However, just because they need to be separate and different doesn’t mean "office" has to have connotations like cold, dull or boring.
See Also: Five Gadgets to Organise Your Workspace
Here are six, easy tips to make your office more homey.
1. Change the Lighting
Fluorescent lights don’t have dimmers, and you probably can’t ask for the light above you not to be turned on so you can provide your own lighting, but just because you’re forced to have those harsh overhead lights doesn’t mean they’re your only option. First, the more natural light you can get, the better: try to move closer to the window, turn to face it, or put up the blind.
Assuming you have the space, what you can control is whether or not you have a lamp or personal light source. Whether it’s small Christmas tree lights strung around the walls of your cubicle, a regular bedside lamp, or a statement lamp, it will make a change from the mind-numbing fluorescence and be a potential conversation starter with passers-by.
Additionally, if you’re that person who always seems to be much hotter or colder than everyone else and you swear they’re trying to sweat/freeze you out of a job, take matters into your own hands with your own small portable heater or fan.
2. Be Organized
Whether you keep everything in its place or only put things away when your parents are coming over, do you not love that feeling of everything being tidy and knowing just where to find something when you need it? Don’t lie, you know you do.
So, given how great it feels when your home is organized, why not bring that feeling to the office? Get out of the habit of leaving papers everywhere - I know a messy desk gives the illusion of being busy, but a tidy desk is one that won’t put you in a panic when you’re asked for a document that’s... somewhere. Go and get some nice binders, organizers and notebooks that will make the place colourful as well as tidy.
Think of the walls in your house. Are they blank? No. They have some form of art, whether it’s by an actual artist, your child, or in the form of vacation and family pictures. Bring those home comforts into the office, but remember that in this case less is more; don’t go as far as plastering every inch of your cubicle walls, but have a few meaningful pieces such as family, friends, pets or your favourite motivational quotes. Even just a small frame on your desk can add a touch of personalization that can help to reduce your stress.
Pictures aren’t your only option, either; why have a boring wall calendar when you could have one with pictures of your favourite thing, or even better, a fun perpetual calendar that’s both pretty and interactive? Get yourself some pen holders and other accessories in your favourite colours, a fun desk blotter and change your desktop background to something nice. Why not put some googly eyes on your phone or computer? Whatever you do, remember that the most important thing is to avoid facing the wall wherever possible; it will not only make you feel better, but we often feel safer if we can see what’s going on around us.
If you get along with your colleagues, why not recruit them to help? You could create a fun little game of drawing pictures on post-its and leaving them on the walls of each other’s cubicles when they’re not looking, or it could be your new morning ritual that effectively changes things up every day.
What do you do at home when you suddenly decide you want some chocolate or something to snack on? You get up and get it. The office equivalent to your candy store is a candy drawer. You’ll be able to satisfy your sweet tooth and avoid the negative mood that comes from not being able to have something nice when you want it; of course, you’ll also want to avoid eating so much you get a sugar high and then an even worse mood.
I doubt people come to your house for your candy (unless it’s Halloween. Or you make it yourself), but a bowl of candy on your desk can be a great way to encourage people to come over to you and socialize in the office.
If you aren’t the candy type, then have a collection of healthy snack bars. And if you’re bringing in snacks, why stop there? Bring in a favourite mug, a decorative water bottle or a nice tea cup. Stop hating work because it means listening to everyone else’s music and have some of your own, whether it’s through the computer to drown theirs out or with headphones and your own device.
5. Flowers (or Plants)
Stop and smell the roses! Bring a touch of nature and freshness into your office space with some colourful flowers that look as good as they smell, and get a chic vase to put them in. Alternatively, if you have no interest in having to actually look after them, get either a plastic plant or something else that requires as little attention as possible.
If you’re feeling particularly crafty (or bored), you can make your own flowers with just nice coloured cards, scissors, and something to put them in or attach them to the wall.
6. Consider the Aesthetics
You need to make your cubicle “look good”. A mat under the desk could bring in some colour, or a mat under your chair could stop it from rolling around if you’re one of those few people who don’t like them doing that. If you can change your chair, get a comfortable but functional one and accessorize it with a small cushion or pillow; get a throw blanket to combat the early morning chill and consider draperies if you have any say over your part of the office wall.
The best way to make your office feel like home is by bringing in the small comforts that make your office a happy place. Find out how far you’re allowed to go with your decoration and then take full advantage of it; it’ll be something to work on and tweak any time you happen to have no work to do.
Naturally, depending on your space and your allowances, there will only be so much you’re able to do. However, when it comes to office space and other similar formal spaces, we often get into a mindset of confusing limited options, for no options. Just because you don’t have a private office doesn’t mean you can’t decorate your cubicle, and just because you don’t have a cubicle doesn’t mean you can’t put something under your mouse or chair, on your computer, or right next to you.
What have you done to make your office space more homey? Do you have any other suggestions? Let us know in the comments section below.