April 1, 2016
By: Heather Lielmanis
An office is a place where we strive to be productive and effective at our jobs. Because we are human, we also hope that the time we spend there is happy. We spend so much of our time at work that it makes sense to put a bit of effort into creating an environment that makes us feel comfortable, even inspired. With some of these easy solutions, you may eventually begin to consider your office your happy place.
In many traditional office environments, it is common to be surrounded by bland colours and décor. This can be uninspiring, even discouraging. Whether you’re in a cubicle or a full-fledged office, it doesn’t take much to personalize your space and surround yourself with a little slice of happiness.
Keeping a photo of loved ones on your desk is the most obvious, and most common way to personalized your space. However, some people like to keep their personal lives private. The photos or other artwork that you keep around you at work need not be personal to make you feel happy. How about a photo from a recent vacation abroad? I’m imagining a hot air balloon floating above the desert at dusk, or a close-up of an insect crawling on dewy foliage in the rainforest. You may also consider a poster, or a framed print featuring the work of your favourite artist.
Small touches to the décor of your workspace can also create feelings of comfort and positivity. I have always kept a small lamp on my desk as I prefer to work by the light that is cast by a moody lampshade, rather than fluorescent light bulbs. A low maintenance plant is both visually appealing, and serves to improve the air quality in your workspace. Colourful office supplies, and even a pillow on your chair can add a splash of colour and brighten things up.
The office supplies that are waiting for you when you arrive at a new job tend to be those functional things that you need to complete your work. A computer, a pad of paper and some pencils. But what about the things you need to keep you hydrated, nourished and healthy? A good size water bottle and an insulated mug will ensure you are ready for all the water, coffee and tea you may need throughout the day. I always keep a box of tea in my drawer, and once even kept a kettle in my office where hot water was not readily available (just be sure to unplug it before leaving for the evening or the weekend).
A toiletry kit, packed with a toothbrush and toothpaste, a hair brush and other personal items will allow you to freshen up after lunch, or before a big meeting, and ensure that you are feeling ready for the challenges ahead.
Of course, this wouldn’t be an article suitable for the Fitneff site if I didn’t remind you of the benefits to health and happiness of incorporating activity into your work day. There are so many options to help you do this. Keeping small items handy, such as a weighted ball, a stretchy band or hand puddy, will keep your endorphins pumping, get your creative juices flowing and reduce stress, whether you’re brainstorming alone or participating in a marathon meeting. Larger items such as the Walk TopTM Treadmill Desk or a simple sit-stand desk make it easy to break up long periods of sitting with walking or standing, respectively. Because they allow you to get up and move regularly, these solutions are not only good for your health, they are also effective in improving your mood.
Develop Happy Rituals
While the office surroundings are important, ultimately it is the people you work with who make or break your experience at work. It is management’s responsibility to hire good people, but everyone can get involved in getting along, and finding ways to create an environment that is lighthearted and fun.
Establish rituals that give the team a smile, a laugh or a moment away from their desks. Where appropriate, take a few moments to find a clip from Seinfeld or your favourite movie, that is relevant to something that is happening in your company. Make the commitment to begin every team meeting with an uplifting story or video. Finally, take the time to remember and acknowledge the birthdays of those around you. This can go a long way to inspire happiness in others, and it doesn’t need to entail more than a kind word and a thoughtful card.
I once had a co-worker who secretly distributed the funny quotes from his tear-away SomeEcards Calendar to others’ desks in order to inspire a laugh when he could tell someone needed it. Simply seeing that calendar created the opportunity for happiness because it became a ritual to visit his desk to see what the calendar had to say. The best ones were posted in a common area for everyone to enjoy.
Small changes and a personal touch can go a long way to create an inspiring and happy environment at work. What have you done, or do you do regularly, to inspire happiness in your workplace?
Heather Lielmanis is the VP of Business Development at Fitneff Inc. Fitneff is dedicated to providing innovative products and solutions that help busy people make their productive time more active. Fitneff offers a full suite of walking desks, sit-stand desks and active accessories that allow you to incorporate movement into your work day.
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Today, on International Women’s Day, I have chosen to profile Laurel Walzak, the female co-founder of Fitneff Inc. Laurel has been successful in so many areas of her career - first as a trailblazer in the sports business industry, then as an entrepreneur and most recently as an Assistant Professor of Sports Media at Ryerson University.
Laurel also spends a great deal of her time and energy outside the office in efforts to advance the careers of young women who are making their start. I asked Laurel some important questions about the role of women in business, and the role that she plays in advocating for other women in her life.