It continues to amaze me how much work environment really does impact your mood, motivation and essentially your engagement at work. This week I was extremely fortunate to get a beautiful massive bunch of flowers given to me. They were sitting out on the kitchen table when I suddenly realised I should totally move them to my office (especially since the bunch was so big I could keep some in the lounge and some in my office). It spurned me on for a little office clean up, tidied up my files, wiped down the counter and boy does it feel good. Just walking in this room lifts my spirits.
I have to say that it wasn’t always this way. I spent several years working in a tiny room under our house, it was cold, dark, messy and dingy. I used to wear a beanie, scarf and fingerless gloves to work. Not surprisingly i wasn’t feeling my most engaged during this time.
So when I had the opportunity to create my own office space, I relished in the light bright space I was able to create. I’m still waiting for the perfect chair to sit in the corner (for when I am pondering very important strategies), and more shelving etc etc. But when I walk into this room I feel a great sense of joy and empowerment. My space.
And you don’t have to have your own office space to create the same feeling. Years ago I worked in an office environment that my team had affectionately called “the prison”. Now, I’m not sure exactly how much affection was in that term really…because it was pretty horrid. Someone had complained about the light from outside (that would be the sun!) on their computer screens. The wise office management team thought an appropriate solution was to cover the entire window in brown paper. Yep…it’s true…the WHOLE floor to ceiling window. Unfortunately, they also insisted the paper had to stay until a more permanent shading system was implemented….which incidentally was literally YEARS later. Although it was pretty horrid, I was still surprised when this came up as a top issue in one of our employee engagement surveys. But really, why was I surprised that my employees were uninspired, when I’d given them an uninspiring work space to work with?! So after a bit of creative thinking and a couple of late night stints (complete with pizza and a lot of laughter) we covered that brown paper with branded posters, hung fish from the ceiling (yes fish…it’s a long story…) and painted our cubicle poles. So whilst it was may still have been a tad dark, the enthusiasm and colour of our teams still radiated through.
In a few weeks time my real office (not my beautiful chillin home office space) are moving to a new location and launching a new office design, where no one gets an allocated desk and the space is split into different work related sections..like a “collaboration” space and quiet space. I expect this may be a challenge for some people. I wonder what spirit this new space will evoke in those teams? I love this little experiment and might have to sneak into the office a few times in the next month and see how it feels.
In the meantime, I’m blissfully happy in my little work sanctuary, where I can smell the roses…literally….