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     Sensational Offices Please All The Senses

Whether your office is in your home or elsewhere it can be a place where you ENJOY spending time. Beyond having a job that you love there are other ways of making your work space a place where you really want to hang out. Here are a few of the things that you may consider as you organize your workplace.

There is nothing more frustrating (and more likely to make you avoid your office) than feeling as though your one work surface is overwhelmed with too many tasks. Try breaking your space into CENTERS -- each specifically designated for a particular daily activity. An example of this would be:
  • mail station
  • computer station
  • design table
  • sorting area
As you are planning for these different areas, keep in mind that you will want the tasks to FLOW -- and the best way to accomplish this is to arrange your work stations according to your natural rhythms and SCHEDULE. If you begin most of your days at the computer, then move on to opening mail later in the morning; perhaps you will want to place these stations near or beside one another. Also keep in mind which tools or SUPPLIES you will need to complete each task -- stock these areas appropriately.

Each task requires different lighting -- you need different light for reading than you do working at the computer. So consider how your LIGHTING needs relate to your daily ACTIVITIES as you set up your office. Some ideas are:
  • desk top task lights
  • over all space light
  • gentle mood light (may need a meditation time)
  • portable lights for close or precise work
Lighting your work space properly for the task at hand will certainly cause you less frustration. Being able to dim or eliminate overhead lights and confine your work to the glow of a desk lamp during times of intense concentration will often make it easier for you to FOCUS on a particular job. When you face a particularly hard chore you can turn off all the electric lights, light a few CANDLES or oil lamps and spend some time in quiet (or silent) meditation before pushing on to the hands-on portion of your activity.

The typical arrangement of office furniture is not always the best. In fact, sometimes it can be downright INCONVENIENT. Placing your desk in a typical "executive" fashion in the middle of the room may actually cause you to be less productive, as you will spend a lot of time having to walk around the desk to get to other items in your office. So keep these suggestions in mind as you work on furniture layout:
  • put the largest piece farthest from the entry to create space
  • find the focal point and place seating facing the "view"
  • furniture placed at an angle often yields more space
And no matter how well your furniture or work spaces function, if they are not visually PLEASING, you (and more importantly, your clients/guests) may not want to spend time in the room. If need be, treat your office to a complete makeover. Using the furniture you already own begin to place it in ways that delight the eye. If you can't soften your hard pieces (such as a desk or filing cabinet) with soft furniture (like a love-seat or stuffed chair) then you may consider placing large leafy plants or soft wall sculptures in the room to take away from the rigidity of the typical office furnishings.

Which sounds like a more welcoming environment in which to work -- an office that smells like flowers or vanilla, or one that smells like yesterday's lunch (eaten in haste at your desk as you crammed to try and get a few more things done)? Your sense of SMELL is stronger than any other sense - and will greatly affect your mood while at work. Try:
  • blossoming plants
  • scented room sprays
  • aromatic candles
  • oil placed in or on "scent rings" perched atop light bulbs
Can you smell the apple pie coming out of the oven? How about the wonderful candle shop you were in at the mall last week? While some scents take us back to our youth, like a trip to Grandma's house, others just make us want to drink in the scent for the full pleasure of it. "Stopping to smell the roses" has many connotations. The truth is we are greatly affected by the scents and odors we encounter -- and you will be gratified each time you walk into your office and breathe deeply of its inviting aroma.

Various parts of your day may call for different types of sound in order to create the necessary MOOD. Remembering that sound can stimulate or soothe, be sure to choose the appropriate method to meet your different needs. You might consider:
  • a stereo system with various music choices
  • a chiming clock
  • a music box
  • a small electric fan
In the way that Mr. Disney used sound at his theme parks to soothe or excite his visitors; you can accomplish the same task. Think in terms of what mood you want to create for various tasks that you need to accomplish, then incorporate the appropriate "noise makers" into your office. If you won't be disturbing others, you may choose to rock the office as you roll out the clutter. Perhaps you need to focus on an upcoming speaking engagement -- then you might need the WHITE NOISE of an oscillating fan to block the world out. If winding the key and listening to the sounds from your lovely music box will calm you after a heated discussion then by all means start turning. And sometimes SILENCE is the only answer for really thinking something through. If that is the case you may want to turn off the computer, take the battery out of the clock and close the door.

An office that FUNCTIONS well is pleasing. An office that PLEASES all the senses is more likely to function well.


Copyright 2002 Yvonne Root

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