April 15, 2013 • communication maven

Funny how a fake potted orchid can change the whole workspace atmosphere.

It may seem superficial to spend time thinking about “feng shui” or the mood you create in your office, but it’s an important consideration not only for the employees but for clients and visitors to your place of business. My new fake flower is probably not an office must-have,  but the basics of a work environment will at minimum include the right tools for the job and somewhere to put personal belongings (essential to an employee feeling welcome and free to work with ownership).

Now, I understand the concept of “organized chaos” and sometimes my desk is covered with stacks of paperwork laid out in order of priority. But for appearance and sanity purposes, every item should have its proper place. Paper trays and pencil holders are pretty non-negotiable in my book. Use of color can be a tactic to help with organization. This could come in handy for file folders, sticky notes, highlighting, or even labels in Gmail. Not only does it make things easier to sort and find later, but it’s also visually pleasing.

The other recent addition to my desk is a jar of candy- something else that may seem trivial but has been a great way to offer a treat for co-workers and visitors (like the delivery person). An insignificant piece of chocolate opens chances for conversation and building relationships. And while not everyone prefers to display family photos at work, having some representation of home life, hobbies, or interests personalizes the space and can be another conversation starter.

Hopefully you give some thought to this sometimes overlooked area of communication (non-verbal, which can lead to verbal). It’s true, I might care a little more about this than some people- I’m a visual person and work better in an environment where organization and beauty give opportunity for concentration and inspiration. Hence my excitement in finding that artificial orchid hiding out in a closet, just waiting to liven up my desk… as much as a non-living object can. That’s probably anti-feng shui in principle, but at least it’s pretty.