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What Does Your Office Space Say About Your Work?

Your workspace says a lot about you – and it should say a lot to you. Better mind the message.

A colleague walked into my office the other day and busted out laughing.

“Can I borrow that?” he asked, pointing to a sign posted directly opposite my door that reads: “Be Nice OR Leave.”

He plopped down in the one chair I have for visitors and exhaled.

“It’s always so neat in here,” he said, scanning the tiny room. “It looks so much bigger and brighter than it did before,” as in, before it was mine. “It’s so you!”

Whether he meant it as a compliment or not (I’m giving him the benefit of the doubt, especially given my “Be Nice” sign), it’s true. My office is me. Who else would it be?

The “Be Nice” sign and the attempt at order and calm are not by accident. Neither are the size and placement of my computer, the angle of my phone or the way my desk faces away from the window so I’ll be less inclined to get distracted. I choose with continual care the books on my shelves, the photos I display and the sweets contained in the mug I keep on my desk. Absolutely everything has been selected and placed with intention. Not because I’m a control freak (although some might say…) but because it’s not just some random room that I come to for a random reason, so my office shouldn’t be randomly thrown together—and neither should yours.

We put so much time into our homes, or our bedrooms—which we’re encouraged to make into sanctuaries, havens in which to awaken and return at the end of the day. But what about the room (or cubicle/nook/counter/corner/desk/laptop) at which we spend most of our waking hours all week long? Shouldn’t that be a sanctuary of sorts, too? Shouldn’t your office (whatever form it takes and however large, small, or even portable it is) get at least as much attention as the space in which you spend most of your time asleep?

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