If you’re a white-collar worker, chances are good that at some point, you’ll end up working in a “cube farm.” Cubicles can be so dull, so impersonal, contributing to the sinking feeling that you’re just another cog in the corporate machine. But there is a way to both lift your spirits and make you feel more like a human being and less like a robot at the office. Try personalizing your space with these tips to make the most of your environment and make your cubicle a homier place to work.
Everything in its Place
The first thing to remember is that your desk won’t be tidied up by company cleaning services. New York City nine-to-fivers can create quite a lot of clutter during the course of their duties, and working in a messy environment can hurt your productivity. To help you think more clearly, clear off your desk, organize your space, and don’t forget to dust. For shared spaces within an office, thorough cleaning services in New York City work by both increasing productivity and improving morale: After all, working in a filthy, disorganized mess is likely to many anyone grumpy!
Make the Most of it
A cubicle can feel pretty tiny when you’ve got a lot of things you need to keep in it, but with a little ingenuity, you can get the most out of every inch of space you’ve got. For instance, if you need to prop up your monitor a bit to improve your ergonomics, do it with something box-shaped, not solid. I know I’ve used old phone books to perch my monitor on, but I stopped doing that once I realized that those pages were taking up valuable real estate. If you create a shelf for your monitor to sit on, you’ll end up with a little bit of extra storage space underneath.
Bring Your Loved Ones to Work (Sort of)
You don’t need to wallpaper your cubicle with photos, but a few well-placed framed pictures of loved ones can go a long way toward making your space feel a little more personalized. If you’re working to support a family, glancing at pictures of them throughout the day can make you feel more motivated, reminding you of why you’re at the office. It’s also likely to make you feel happy whenever you look at them. And of course, if you have little ones, their pictures might give you an excuse to talk about how proud you are of them if a coworker should stop by and happen to comment on the photos on your desk. (I try not to bore people by going on and on about my boys, but if someone asks about them, I’m more than happy to brag a little!)
‘Wallpaper’ Your ‘Room’
Just because your cubicle isn’t actually a real room doesn’t mean that you can’t decorate it like one. After all, it has walls, right? Alright, so they’re only half-walls, and you can’t exactly get out a can of paint or knock down a wall to expand your space (your neighboring coworker would not be pleased). But you can cover the walls with something more colorful or interesting. Try tacking up colored or patterned fabric, or just use something as simple as a roll of wrapping paper to cover the walls. Your new look will be the talk of the office! Before you get to decorating, make sure it’s ok with your supervisor and maybe HR; you don’t want to do anything that might damage company property.
Being comfortable while at your desk is important. Of course, that doesn’t mean you can wear your pajamas to work, but you can do something to be more comfortable while you’re sitting at your desk. You might be able to get your employer to spring for a new chair that will make it easier for you to sit at your desk all day. Or at the very least, they’ll likely allow you to bring in your own chair from home, and here’s another opportunity to add color to your space, if you choose: There’s usually no rule that says that office chairs have to be black, gray, or brown.
Light it Up
Alas, not everybody can have a desk that’s near a window. But while natural light is best, you can improve the lighting situation in your cubicle with a few small additions. You might consider bringing in a stylish desk lamp to light up your work space. Or for a more festive touch, string up some twinkle lights, either clear or multicolored. (You should probably disable the twinkling feature, though, to avoid distracting your coworkers with the constant blinking.)
Bringing a little bit of nature into a sterile office environment can help give your spirits a boost and make your desk feel a little more like home. In addition, having a green plant or two on your desk will help make oxygen and improve office air quality. Natural features can also add energy to the space, improving your office feng shui. For a nice conversation piece that will both look classy and help you relax during stressful work days, consider adding a small tabletop fountain to your cubicle.
Just because you’re working in a cubicle doesn’t mean that you have to feel like a lab rat trapped in a cage. In fact, having a defined space of your own can be a good thing. A cubicle can actually give you opportunities to add personal touches that can make the space feel more your own and make you happier while you’re on the clock. That should make it a little easier to make it to 5 p.m.!