10/8/2018

Little Known Ways to Personalize Your Space

One of the many benefits of a virtual office solution such as Davinci Virtual Offices is access to a portfolio of physical spaces that can be booked on demand without a long-term commitment. 

While many solopreneurs and small businesses take advantage of offices by the day and meeting rooms by the hour, in today’s agile work environment, some teams and individuals find they need to be on site for an extended period. 

In those circumstances, personalizing the space will not only help you feel more at home in what may be an unfamiliar, somewhat sterile setting, but can also improve your productivity and wellbeing.  

Creating human-centered work space can help you do your best work. When people are comfortable in their space, they’re more likely to feel good mentally and physically as they work, according to Sally Augustin, an environmental design psychologist. Color, scent and even the way you arrange your office space can impact on how you feel. 

One approach to personalization is to expand the concept of personal space from a single desk to the entire office, according to Connie Huang, strategist at brightspot strategy in New York, a consulting firm that focuses on improving student engagement. “It’s a way to empower people with control over their environment,” she explained.  

Creating a Member Photo Wall, as seen in many coworking communities, is an example of an expansion strategy, Huang suggests. Community managers are typically charged with keeping up the wall, which in addition to photos, may include business cards, fun facts, and even pet photos.  

A few well-curated elements can also make a big impact.  

Display something that reminds you of home.

Travel souvenirshobby gear, client gifts or sports paraphernalia can also serve as a conversation starter with coworkers who might pass by your workspace. Gaining a sense of community is another way to feel at home in your space. 

Bring the outdoors in.

The benefits natural light on workplace well-being are well-documented. If possible, choose a workspace with a window or a glass-walled interior setting that showcases outdoor vistas. 

Live plants provide a triple-whammy. Not only do they create a more pleasing aesthetic, Forbes reports they can lower stress, boost spirits and promote well-being and performance. A 2010 study showed significant drops in tension, anxiety, depression, anger and fatigue when plants were added throughout the workspace 

Plants are also an inexpensive, highly portable way to add a touch of drama. It’s a favorite design strategy employed by maximalism devotee Joe McGuinness at his Iconic Offices in Dublin.

Create a room with a view.

Views of nature also improve wellness. If your window does not have the green belt view you crave, you can easily create your own outdoor vista with a digitally printed adhesive beach-scene mural (or mountains or fields if that’s your preference) If you want to spur some creative thinking, go with the pastoral meadow scene, suggests Augustin, since seeing green has been linked to more creative thinking. 

Even non-living objects of nature, such as wood-grained furniture have restorative properties. A jar of stones or shells you collected on your last beach vacation may not only trigger a fond memory, but also keep you in touch with nature. 

Find your focus.

Scent can have a powerful effect on concentration, according to Augustin. Eucalyptus oil has rejuvenating powers for mental exhaustion and sluggishness. It also stimulates mental activity and alertness by increasing the blood flow to the brain. Peppermint, rosemary and lavender have also been shown to help improve concentration. 

Slip into something more comfortable.

Working in a climate where you may traipse through snow, mud or rain on a regular basis? Do what Angel Meakins Kwiatkowski does at Cohere Coworking: keep a set of slippers on hand to change out of wet boots. 

What originated as a solution to minimize frequent mopping of wet floors on snowy Colorado days emerged as a favorite member amenity, delivering a sense of homey comfort on miserable days.  

Show some hospitality.

If you’ve ever sent your kid out on the first day of school with a bag of treats to share, you already know this one. A well-placed candy jar signals you want people to stop by and say hello, which is the first step toward connecting with your fellow coworkers. Harvard Business Review reported that socializing and making friends at work makes you seven times more likely to be engaged in your work. 

Be forewarned. Not every coworker may take to your expression of personality. But even if the Boston-based executive in the office next door takes umbrage at your Yankee cap, it’s all good. It wouldn’t be the first friendship that started with a little trash talk.

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