Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Inspiration in the Office

By Candy Parks - Director, Integrated Insight

There are people much smarter than me that have built a body of research on the psychology of office design and the impact on retention and productivity.  If you doubt me, follow this link:  http://www.facilitiesnet.com/designconstruction/article/Workplace-Design-Can-Help-Attract-Retain-Generation-Y-Employees--13859

All I know is that I like colors, and colors make me happy and boost my energy.  We read about this in medicine all the time – people focus their thoughts and their attitude and those positive thoughts have healing powers.  I believe office supplies have productivity powers!

Most women love to spend hours shopping for shoes at Nordstrom.  I, on the other hand, get my retail therapy in Office Depot.  Maybe because in one of my first jobs, I had to get office supplies from someone we’ll call Helga.  If I checked her resume, I think I’d find that Helga managed inventory for the Nazi forces.

If you needed pens, she informed you that black ball points were all you needed.  And yellow post-it notes fit the bill – the other colors were simply frivolous.  And according to Helga, the only binders fit for use were 2” and black!  Helga also thought colored file folders were from the devil.

Poor Helga would CROAK if she could see my office today.  Luckily, I now work in an environment where my leaders say, ‘Get what you need to do your job.’  Sooooooo, I have 3 ring binders in polka dots, paisleys, and bright stripes.  I put my most challenging projects in my favorite binders, and psychologically, that perks me up when I have to reach for that binder.  I have post it notes in every size and color and I use them all.  I have flair pens in 12 colors, and I have REAL pencils – not mechanical pencils.  Of course, my pencils are from Vera Bradley and are beautiful, but I use them happily and admire them as I do so.  I have note-taking books in bright yellow, pink, and lime green.  And my bookshelves are lined with colorful cloth baskets to store all my fun supplies.  When a project is done, I transfer it to a boring folder – not manila, but a boring solid color and put it away.  But while something is active, it LOOKS active on my desk or on my shelf.  And I feel active and energized while I work on it. 

Of course, there is a time and a place for everything.  No, I’m not going to take my bright polka dot binder to a corporate meeting – I’ll transfer to basic black – but I WILL take my purple flair pen.  If you’re a leader, please don’t underestimate the simple pleasures of office supplies and their potential impact on employee satisfaction and productivity.  It’s so much cheaper than redesigning your office and buying new furniture!

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