Tips to Lighten Your Cubicle Mood
Cold and impersonal; this is how the office cubicle has been regarded and films like “Office Space” have taken it even further. They depict it as being pedestrian, intrusive and confining. It doesn’t have to be that way though. Creating your own sanctuary is possible and you don’t have to spend a lot of money – just apply a little ingenuity and organization.
Here are a few ideas to help you get started:
Get rid of clutter: Just like clearing clutter at home; taking a little time to remove stacks of papers, staplers, lunch wrappers and other things that crowd your work space will work wonders for your mood and for your attitude.
Create folders: You can take those stacks of papers and put them in folders labeled “Currently Working On,” “Completed Items,” “Need to File.” You’ll be amazed at how this will clear your cubicle workspace and provide a little peace.
Organize: Whether it’s a in and out box or a filing cabinet, purchase an organizational system for your cubicle. Find everything on your desktop a home. It’s okay to leave personal items on your desktop as long as they are not crowding your workspace.
End of Day Cleanup: Many offices have a policy called the “clean desk.” Employees are required to secure and clear their desks by the end of each day. Even if your company doesn’t require this, it might be a good idea to take it on yourself. Not only does it give you a sense of accomplishment at the end of the day, it’s a great start to the morning and sets a better tone for your workday.
Lighting: This is one factor in a cubicle environment that can have a big impact on your mood. You can add a little ambiance to the harsh fluorescents that constantly shine down on you by adding something as simple as a small lamp near your workspace. Just make sure it is low wattage (40 watts) and that it shines on your work and not in your eyes. Some cubicle dwellers add little fairy lights on a chord to their cubes. They are particularly festive during the holiday months.
Change of scenery: Create a little movement in your cubicle. Add a little fish tank or something like a lava lamp (you can still buy them, just be cautious in a conservative workplace). Make sure to choose colors and lighting for the tank that create a soothing work environment. You can always request to move cubicles that will place you closer to a window or to natural light.
Make it homey: It’s okay to bring things from home; just make sure they aren’t going to add to the clutter. Picture frames with family members or pets and a few knick knacks will help your mood after a long day of being in your cube. Just remember the golden rule – less is more.
Add greenery: The cubicle environment can often be sterile so adding a plant or two (if you have room) will help lighten things up. Make sure to choose plants that are low maintenance.
Throw on some warmth: One complaint from women regarding cubicles is that they get cold. Bring your favorite small throw blanket from home. It will make your space more enviting.
Bring the outdoors inside: Putting up a poster or photo of your last vacation or one that you want to take on your cubicle wall will give you that extra incentive to push on through your work week.
Inspire yourself: Do you have a favorite phrase or image that motivates you or inspires you? Put it up in your cubicle. Not only will it give you that extra boost but you might inspire someone else!
Add a little peace: When it comes to adding things that make sound to your cubicle, make sure that you aren’t disturbing your neighbors and that you get the “okay” from your supervisor. Here are a few things you can add:
- A small water fountain that can be placed on a shelf. Some fountains are small enough to fit in the palm of your hand. This can provide a restful sound.
- Sounds of the ocean or running water from a CD can help you deal with the stresses of the day. If you think your coworkers will be annoyed by the sound, bring some headphones to work.
- Add a little white noise like a small fan to your cubicle. This will help lessen the outside noises around your cube.
Bring your kitchen to work: Okay – not everything! Just a few items like a coffee cup and a plate or bowl. These will help you feel more at home and it will help with the environment by cutting down on office disposables.
Candy always helps: Bring a little candy dish and place it in your cubicle. Keep it filled with your fave afternoon treats – your coworkers will love it too!
Bring on the fun: Adding humorous items to your cubicle will help you pass the day. There are calendars that you can purchase that have funny phrases or pictures of animals doing silly things. Make sure that your humor fits in with the office environment and that it does not offend anyone.