Your space reflects who you are while also giving subtle clues to your personality. It’s like your appearance — it matters. Go to someone’s house for the first time and it’s a mess? Whether you realize it you’re subconsciously evaluating. The same goes with desk/cubby space. With more and more offices going to open floor plans consider what you present to your co-workers and your boss. As someone who’s been an employee for a decade and now a business owner, the little things make a big difference.
Check out these seven tips to make sure your desk is a wow, and setting you up for success.
1. Keep it neat. Minimize mountains of papers, files and misc items that clutter up your space. How do you value your work? It shows that you can’t keep it organize. And, the next time your boss heads to your desk with an assignment, she or he is certainly feeling anxious you’re going to lose the new assignment in the shuffle.
2. But not too neat. Ironically, don’t keep your space so clutter-free that it looks like you have nothing going on. Perhaps you’re all about the electronic documents, and minimizing clutter. Appreciated. But, don’t make it look like you’re not working when everyone is slaving away. Be strategic about what’s being shown to those around you.
3. File, or recycle. Keep a recycle bin near your desk, and give thought to where each sheet of paper will go if you keep it. Have a new client? Create a file folder now before papers wind up everywhere. Every six months or a year go through files and see what you still need. I’m often tossing things that were important in the moment but are taking up valuable space now.
4. Make the space yours, yet keep it polished and professional. Give serious thought to what you put on display. One or two family photos, or a cute photo of you and your new guy… perfect. Piled up images from every recent event… too much. Add a few photos, one or two mementoes, perhaps a photo or interesting object from a trip that’s a great conversation topic and then keep the rest out of view.
5. Create an inspired space. Yes, it’s about what you present to the world, but it’s also what’s going to keep you motivated and happy. Invest in some fun, meaningful office supplies, or just ones with a color punch. Poppin is one of my favorite spots to get professional, modern and happy desk supplies.
6. Find ways to corral clutter. Have lots of paperclips, push pins, pencils/pens, and more? Utilize a drawer organizer or purchase a tray and even organize everything in mini mason jars or other cute storage containers to keep it functional yet organized.
7. Beware of food. With crazy work schedules, we’re all eating lunch at our desks more and more. Beyond being mindful that what you’re eating next to your colleagues doesn’t leave behind a smell (some of those frozen meals can be brutal!), make sure your lingering trash doesn’t either. Be sure to discard garbage, from take-out containers to banana peels in a timely manner.