Whether you work for someone else or you work for yourself your desk is your responsibility and, more importantly, identity. How you choose to identify and what you surround yourself with is important in separating yourself from the pack. Besides the essentials; computer, chair and phone there are key items that you must keep at your desk to ensure you get the most out of the space you occupy. Like a store optimizing its floor space, so must you.
Having a small collection of books is a nice addition to your work place. Now these books can be just books you like to read which can be great for lunch breaks. It is important to take a mental break during your lunch break and not just work through lunch; this can lead to burn out. We are playing the long game! These can be a great conversation piece as well. People may have read the book and want to talk to you about it or they might be interested in learning about the book for their next possible read. These are great opportunities to develop interoffice relationships.
However I would recommend strategic books instead. Does your industry have a certification or designation program? Keeping those books can show a dedication to your career and they can be helpful reference tools. Did your CEO write a book? That can be a great book for your collection! Books on leadership or motivation are also fantastic books to display. Think of this as positive ways to dictate the brand you want associated with you.
- Desk Plant
In a sea of white identical cubicles a spot of color can go a long way into having a more cheerful work place. Succulents are very cheap and come in a wide variety leading to a chance to show your individuality. Bamboo plants are also becoming more popular and are very easy to care for. Cacti plants are similarly super hardy plants, obviously, and many can being flowering plants and take interesting shapes. These are just a cheap way to break up the boring dull image of a work place.
Having something to care for can also provide several benefits to your mental well-being. A plant at your desk has been shown to decrease stress and increase productivity in studies at the University of Technology in Sydney and the University of Exeter. Not to mention the just biological function that a plant does of cycling the air. Basically there is no reason not to have a plant at your desk. Just make sure to keep it alive as a dead plant is, well, depressing.
- Family Pictures
OF THE FAMILY YOU MADE. Many of times I have seen a younger aspiring professional have pictures of their mom and dad on their desk and something just seems off. These people aren’t doing anything wrong but they are not considering the image it is portraying. It makes them seem younger and in doing so less mature, unfortunately. You may disagree but I am advising on cultivating a certain image that empathizes professionalism. I want people higher up to take you seriously and pick you for promotions.
Your wife/husband and any children are perfect. This is a family you made and should be very proud of. It is very hard to go wrong here as long as you don’t go to an absurd level and have 15 photos scattered across your desk. A family photo, a drawing by your kid, a picture of your husband or wife. Perfect. It brings joy to you every day and reminds you why are working so hard.
I personally recommend a digital picture frame. This gives you the best use of real estate on your desk and its very eye catching. There have been many times where my digital frame has been a great conversation starter. It’s also really convenient as I change up the pictures fairly often to keep my desk feeling fresh.
Putting out a bowl of candy is a great way to get to know a lot of people really quickly. When I started at a new job I put out a bowl of mints and my new coworkers would stop by get some mints and introduce themselves to me. I prefer mints over candy due to I tend to guzzle coffee in the morning and can develop bad coffee breath. Really anything will work and people will be appreciative of the kind act.
Have fun with the container too! Just a regular dish bowl works but this is all about expressing personality. A bowl with an elegant design can be a nice touch to your area. Using a dish or container with your favorite sports team incorporated is always a great way to go as well in making your space yours. Just avoid anything that makes a noise every time you open it. That will drive everyone, including yourself nuts. I had someone near me have a jar like that and I almost lost my mind!
- Desktop Toy
This was the most recent of the five for me and my only regret was not incorporating it sooner. Having some fun office toy or gadget is a great way to get to know new people passing by or just to kill time with a coworker while building a bond. A basketball net works great and is a classic. Even just keeping a Nerf football on the desk does the trick. There are various magnet building kits for the desk as well. While it is important to work hard at work it is important to give your mind a break too.
Just make sure it’s not too noisy of an activity and that you don’t annoy those around you. Some might like keeping a putter and golf ball at their desk but if they are getting in the way of everyone in their area it’s probably not for the best. Have fun just keep it respectful.
The important thing is to have fun customizing your work place environment to match your personality and the image that you want to project. You are going to be at this desk for a long time for huge chunks of your day, make it one that you are happy to be at!
Thank you for taking the time to read this article and I hope you found it helpful. If you like articles of this nature be sure to check out one of the other articles on this site!