If you are like the majority of Americans, you spend at least some of your time in an office setting. Some people appreciate the fluorescent lighting and constant gurgle of the water cooler, but most workers tend to feel anxious and unhappy about spending hour after hour in a cubicle. Originally, the cubicle design was intended to be liberating and customizable for workers, but the workspaces shrank as corporate greed grew. Now, most workers estimate that their cubicle is smaller than their home bathroom. Naturally, this is a recipe for employee discontent. Fortunately, there are ways to feng shui your office so that it feels more like your personal sanctuary than a confining cage.
Add some life
Simply putting a plant on your desk can make a huge difference in your mood at work. Watching your plant grow will give you a sense of satisfaction and hope, and tending to it will also give you something to do when you simply need a break from your computer screen. Some plants that do well in office settings are succulents, snake plants, pothos, and Gerber daisies. An added bonus: many indoor plants filter out toxins in the air and provide you with fresh, healthy oxygen!
Psychologists speculate that many workers are dissatisfied with their cubicles because humans inherently crave the outdoors. Existing in a stark, inorganic environment for eight to ten hours a day decreases productivity and morale. Getting a glimpse of nature, even just a small flower on your desk, can increase your work performance and boost your mood. If you have particularly lenient management, consider adding a fish or other small (low-maintenance) animal to your space.
Change up the lighting
Nothing affects your work performance more than poor lighting. Those fluorescent bulbs are terrible for remaining alert while at work and they create a drab, sickly color palette. If possible, switch your overhead lighting to incandescent bulbs. If that isn’t an option, then supplement your insufficient lighting by adding string lights on the walls (Christmas lights create a fun atmosphere) or a small desk lamp with an incandescent bulb. Just by creating a well-lit workspace, you will become more efficient and less stressed, meaning you won’t feel as drained by the end of the day.
Make use of large surfaces
Staring at a computer screen all day is awful, but what’s worse is turning away and having nothing to refresh your eyes other than a dreary, gray cubicle wall. Use this large area, as well as the floor, to add some custom flair to your space. A small area rug will add a pop of color and a homey feel to your cubicle or office. Use the walls to hang artwork, notes from the kids, or family photos so that you have something nice to look at when you take a break from your busy-work. You can even cover up that ugly gray with colored fabric to create a sort of wallpapered style.
Create white noise
One of the stressful things about working in a small space is the presence of noisy neighbors and incessant phone ringing. If office sounds get on your nerves, add some white noise to your workspace with a desktop water fountain, a white noise machine, or a small fan. Peaceful sounds will reduce your stress levels and almost make you feel like you’re not even at work.
It’s easy to get bored at work, especially when your tasks are menial and tedious. Tap into your goofy side and add some fun conversation starters to your workspace. Hang your favorite comic strips on the wall, invest in a whimsical calendar, or take this advice and add googly eyes to all of your desk items. Whatever it takes to bring a smile to your face.
Keep an eye on the entrance
Feng Shui experts suggest that making your entrance/exit visible will relieve some of the tension of working in a small space. Shift your computer and chair so that the doorway of your cubicle or office is always within eyesight. If that simply isn’t possible, then place a small mirror or other reflective surface in your workspace so that you can see when someone is approaching or walking by.
For the same reason we become anxious in inorganic environments, we also tend to get stressed when we cannot anticipate someone walking up behind us. Humans have evolved to be hyper-aware of their surroundings and safety, so keeping an eye on the entrance to your workspace can make a huge difference in your comfort at work.
Feng Shui Your Office
It may not be as good as working from the beach, but your cubicle doesn’t have to be a miserable work prison. By simply adding some flair and personality, you can transform a dull gray box into your home away from home.