Posts Tagged ‘office’

Refresh Your Office on A Budget

Tuesday, October 26th, 2010

If you’re in the market to update your office but are not yet ready to commit to a big budget redesign, there are plenty of changes you can make to spruce up on a dime.

  • The first tip has absolutely nothing to do with design.  Before you look for ways to refresh your office, you need to minimize.  Clear out any old paperwork, broken or outdated machinery, and junk that you no longer need or use.  Take on the task of entering old paper files into electronic databases when the office is slow.  Minimizing the clutter and paperwork that are bogging down your office will make an immeasurable impact.
  • Assess what you use throughout the day.  There could be things clogging up your desk that you don’t use but once a week or so.   Do you really need a stapler, a hole punch, and a scanner all on top of your desk?  Items which you do not use several times a day should be contained in attractive, functional storage.   The less visual clutter sitting atop your desk, the more productive you’ll be throughout the day.
  • Find storage solutions that are aesthetically pleasing.  Looking at items that are well designed will make your office seem more like a retreat than a workspace.  You can find great containers, bins, and baskets on a wallet-friendly budget at places like Target and the Container Store.
  • Is your office space configuration functioning at its highest potential?  Consider looking at new configurations of furniture if possible.  Try your desk on a different wall or your bookcase set at a different angle.  If you have systems furniture that may be difficult to rearrange on a whim, take out the graph paper or talk to an interior designer about how you can achieve a more functional workspace while limiting the number of new components that you need to purchase.
  • Perk up worn fabric.  Choose an updated fabric in a bright new color to recover tack boards and seating.  This shouldn’t blow your budget and will instantly make your workspace feel refreshed.
  • Paint an accent wall.  You may be able to enlist a team of coworkers to tackle this project one day after work.  It won’t take long if it’s just one wall and can make a huge difference in the look of your office.
  • Personalize the space.  Choose a pen cup that you love to look at, display a beautiful picture frame with a beloved picture, or use a notebook in your favorite color.    Surrounding yourself with things you love will always make your office feel refreshed.

Green Workplaces, Productive Employees

Wednesday, August 25th, 2010

Are you thinking about an office renovation? Looking to spruce up the workplace?  If so, you’ve probably toyed with the idea of introducing green elements into the new design of your office.  Many people consider the idea, then dismiss it, wondering if it’s really worth the extra research and potential cost.  Turns out, it may pay off to devote a little extra time or money on going green.  As studies are showing, green offices lead to more productive employees.

In a study published in the American Journal of Public Health, it was reported that in a building with natural lighting where and when
available, natural ventilation to supplement air conditioning, and improved air quality, employees had, on average, an additional 39
hours of productivity a year.

To break this 39 hours statistic down, here are a few observations from the study:  Allergy sufferers reported that the hours they spent affected per month by environmental allergies decreased by more than half.  Employees reported the number of hours they felt stressed or depressed decreased by a little under a third every month.  Decreasing hours lost to allergies and poor mental health led to less days lost to absenteeism and illness.

Some opinions argue that these statistics are simply due to a placebo affect, that employees feel better about their health and going to work when they believe that their employer is looking out for their well being.  Regardless, the productivity hours speak for themselves. When employees are in a green workplace, they are happier and healthier.

Wondering how to most increase productivity with green changes in your workplace?

Use natural light wherever and whenever possible.  Seat employees near windows and keep those blinds open.  Turn off the interior lights when it is possible to work by natural light. When it is absolutely necessary to use office lighting, use energy star approved lighting. Knowing that their lighting is having a positive impact on the environment will improve employee morale.

Improve ventilation and air quality.  Use fans, open windows, and use the vent setting on air conditioning units.  While it may seem
counter-intuitive to let outdoor air in on the way to improving allergies and health, it actually has proven beneficial for employees.
By filtering the stale office air out, dust allergies are greatly reduced.

While the positive effects on the environment should be enough reason to go green anywhere, the improved productivity in the workplace is surely an added incentive.  The best part about going green in the office is that you can completely overhaul your office with low VOC paints, sustainable furniture, and carpets free of chemicals, or you do something as simple as letting light and air in.  Just knowing that you care about the environment and about your employees will make your office a happier, healthier place to work.

7 Workplace Etiquette Tips to Build Teamwork in Any Economy By Rachel Wagner

Tuesday, November 24th, 2009

No one would dispute that today’s gloomy economic news is a concern for workers everywhere. But, did you know that showing workplace courtesy and respect to those in your department or team is a winning way to build up your team?

Workplace etiquette pays in two ways for you and your team. First, it elevates you as an individual—and it’s a good thing to be known as someone who shows respect and courtesy to others. In fact, research shows that workplace etiquette is essential for keeping and being promoted in a job.

Secondly—and of equal importance—workplace etiquette improves work relationships. It shows your team that you care about them, their work, and their value to the team.

Moreover, when the entire team or department embraces professional workplace etiquette, your team’s stellar example can raise the bar for the rest of the organization. As the saying goes, “A rising tide floats all the boats.”

Here are seven ways you can use workplace etiquette and courtesy to set you and your team apart in any economy.

1. Attitude is everything.

Have a great attitude like your job depended on it. You may not be in your dream job or have a dream boss, but don’t wear a negative attitude on your shirtsleeve. It shows! Refrain from gossip and negative talk about anyone on your team. Rather than building you up, condescending conversation diminishes you instead. Also, be all there—don’t mentally check out by 2:00. And, show yourself friendly to everyone on the team. Research from the Servcorp Index reveals that the majority of American business professionals appreciate being acknowledged by teammates when they arrive at work.

2. Notch up nonverbal communication.

Have good eye contact to show you are listening. Look at the upper part of the face—the eye and brow area. Looking any lower on the face is too social and intimate for the workplace. Avoid crossing your arms over your chest as this can indicate you are not approachable. Give a good handshake to those on your team, not just to your clients.

3. Be timely, not tardy.

Regardless of age, job title, or level in the team hierarchy, be on time for work and meetings. Better yet, be a few minutes early. Punctuality shows your team that you respect them and their time. Complete tasks and projects on time, too; don’t let the team down with excuses.

4. Use proper tech etiquette.

Don’t leave the team hanging. Answer their emails and phone calls in a timely way—by the end of the day if possible, and no later than 24 hours. Using proper grammar and punctuation in departmental emails is just as important as in client emails.

5. Go the extra mile—it’s not crowded!

Look for ways you can help out and show support to a teammate. If he has a heavy day and deadlines to meet and you don’t, step up and offer to help. Your assistance and team spirit will be appreciated by everyone in the group.

6. Contribute value to team meetings.

Focus on the meeting, not on side conversations or on your BlackBerry. Be open to others’ ideas and points of view. Avoid a ‘my way or the highway’ attitude. It makes you appear selfish and undermines team spirit. Let others finish speaking before sharing your thoughts.

7. Show appreciation.

Everyone likes to be appreciated. Sincerely verbalize and demonstrate thanks as often as possible. Do this both publicly—when appropriate—and privately. If your boss congratulates you on a job well done and you had help from your team members, be sure to tell your boss so they can receive credit, too. They’ll be more likely to rally around you on the next big project.

Truly, nothing could be easier—or better—for building up your team than when everyone engages in workplace etiquette and courtesy. No matter how uncertain the economy, using these tips will make a difference in your own job success and promotion—and in the success of your team. Ready to float your team’s boat higher?

©Rachel Wagner Etiquette and Protocol. All rights reserved.

Rachel Wagner is a certified Corporate Etiquette and Protocol Consultant and founder of Tulsa, Oklahoma-based Rachel Wagner Etiquette and Protocol ( . Ms. Wagner provides business etiquette, dining etiquette, and international protocol training programs for companies and organizations and is frequently quoted in the media. You may reach her at 918.294.3179 or e-mail