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Office decor

What does your office say about you?

Posted on Friday, November 11th, 2016 | Flexible Offices

It offers incredible views over Central Park from 25 floors up. Its walls are dominated by framed awards, magazine covers (eg Playboy, Variety, Time), and photographs of its occupant shaking hands with notable historical figures such as former US President Ronald Reagan. There is a wealth of framed photographs of friends and family, too.

Scattered on a couch are unique items of US sporting memorabilia, such as Superbowl helmets, signed American footballs, a championship belt from former boxing heavyweight world champion Mike Tyson, and the huge sports shoe of Basketball legend Shaquille O’Neal.

Conscious decorating

As Larry Buhl reports in his piece, “Everything in your office sends a message, whether you want it to or not.” He quotes several experts who tell him, for example, that having too many photographs of your hobbies could encourage others to believe you’re a daydreamer who’d rather be elsewhere. Photographs of things rather than people might suggest that you’re introverted and not too welcoming when it comes to visitors.

According to Buhl, having degree and awards certificates decorating your office wall means you demand respect, while no personal artefacts or photographs could mean you’re not planning to stay too long. He offers several ‘conscious decorating’ tips: err on the conservative side, avoid controversial items, follow industry norms, and carefully consider how desks are arranged, because they can unintentionally act as barriers.

Messy or tidy desk?

One of history’s great modern thinkers, Albert Einstein, said: “If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, of what, then, is an empty desk a sign?” According to the piece What’s Your Office Style?, a barren workspace can show that someone is a little dull or overly organised.

Too many Post-It Notes on a computer screen can be a sign that someone is feeling slightly overwhelmed or that their working style is somewhat chaotic. They’re not necessarily disorganised, though. If they were they’d have no Post-It Notes, we’re told.

Placing a bowl of sweets in your office or on your desk is “like putting down a welcome mat. It’s a clear indication of an extrovert. Comfortable, welcoming chairs have the same effect.”

Advice for owners and managers

Writing for, persuasiveness coach Sharí Alexander offers advice to business owners and senior managers. “As the boss, your office isn’t just an extension of you; it’s an extension of your company,” she explains. “A message is sent and received the moment someone walks in. Take a good look and see if it supports your intentions, is aligned with your mission, and sets the tone you want for your guests,” she recommends.

Making over your office: top ten tips

  1. Make sure your visitors’ first impression is a good one
  2. Add colour to evoke your brand and inject personality
  3. Hang some well-chosen images on your walls
  4. Green your office with productivity-boosting plants
  5. Plan how to make best use of the space
  6. Wage an ongoing war on clutter and mess
  7. Make best use of natural light
  8. Don’t neglect comfort – looks aren’t everything
  9. Be creative – offices don’t have to be dull and uninspiring
  10. Involve your staff – make it fun