What does the word “office mean to you?
Is it just space you’re occupying while you wait for something better to come along … or until it’s time to retire?
Is it just a place to go each day, put in the required hours, do the necessary work, head out at quitting time, and pick up a check on payday?
Or is it your home away from home? A very personal space filled with memories, laughter, and co-workers who seem like family? A place with a feeling of community?
The time you spend at your office is one of the biggest investments you will make during your lifetime. Whether you are in a corner office with a fantastic view or among a labyrinth of cubicles offering little privacy, your office should be more than four walls and a desk. It should be a place that seeps into your heart, a place that becomes your home away from home.
Whatever your space, you will be happier, more content, and (perhaps) more productive if you make your office a place that reflects your personality and a place you enjoy being. How do you do that?
Here are some suggestions:
Personal Items: Fill your office with meaningful items that make you smile or bring back great memories. While you must be careful not to clutter your space, you should display your awards and framed certificates. You could add significant pictures of your spouse, children or grandchildren — or your last vacation.
Collections: Do you have a nice collection of water globes or paperweights you’ve picked up at conventions? Or a collection of medals you received at races you ran? Or maybe several mugs you purchased to remind you of a happy event? Display them with pride and smile when you see them.
Plants: Adding a bit of green to your office can work wonders to lighten your mood and (I’ve heard) have a positive impact on memory retention, focus, accuracy and concentration. They promote a more relaxed atmosphere. You say you don’t have a green thumb? Choose something easy to grow (an ivy, a cactus, a terrarium, a Fairy Garden) and do the best you can. Or find a co-worker with a green thumb who’s willing to help.
Participate: Is your department participating in a fundraiser for a worthy cause such as a walk for breast cancer, doing a pro bono project, or dressing up for an office-wide costume contest? Don’t be left out! When you participate in office activities, you build relationships and get to know your co-workers better. AND you’ll have fun. Orange County Paralegal Association President Vicky LaCelle, ACP, posted this picture on Facebook of her fellow workers in the Legal Department that won the Beckman Coulter Halloween costume contest! BEST TEAM – “Legal Holidays”. (Beckman Coulter Inc., is an American company that makes biomedical laboratory instruments.)
Celebrate: Is someone in your office having a special birthday, expecting a baby, getting married, retiring? Join in to make it a big deal! This builds camaraderie and friendships. You’ll be happier and feel more at home when you take part in the fun. An example is this picture of Sandy Lavender whose Clark Hill co-workers recently celebrated her birthday. They decorated her office, brought in a cake, and pulled other stunts to make it a day she won’t forget. While I’m stressing celebrations, please don’t ignore the office holiday party. Go, even if you are hesitant. Your absence will be noticed.
Your Challenge: If your office isn’t already your home away from home, a special place where you spend nearly one-third of your life, think about the steps you might take to change that. By adding things that reflect your personality and make you happy, a bit of greenery to improve the atmosphere, participating in office activities and celebrations, you’ll soon find your office is a place where you belong and where you want to be.
© 2015 Vicki Voisin, Inc. Do you want to use this article in your newsletter, ezine or Web site? You can, so long as you include this entire blurb with it:
Vicki Voisin, “The Paralegal Mentor”, delivers simple strategies for paralegals and other professionals to create success and satisfaction by setting goals and determining the direction they will take their careers. Vicki spotlights resources, organizational tips, ethics issues, and other areas of continuing education to help paralegals and others reach their full potential. She is the co-author of The Professional Paralegal: A Guide to Finding a Job and Career Success. Vicki publishes Paralegal Strategies, a weekly e-newsletter for paralegals, and hosts The Paralegal Voice, a monthly podcast produced by Legal Talk Network.
More information is available at paralegalmentor.com where subscribers receive Vicki’s 151 Tips for Your Career Success.