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3 Tips for Designing an Inspirational Workspace

What does your workspace say to you? What does it say about you to others? Does it say, “I’m committed to being here. I feel energized in this space. Innovation happens here.” Or, does it say, “I’m unsettled. I’m unmotivated. I’m stuck.”

Our work environment contributes to how we work and what messages we send to others about the experience they might have with us. A recent Forbes article shares that approximately 80% of what we perceive or experience is based upon the visual sense of our environment. As a Career Coach I hope to create a safe and inviting atmosphere for students and alumni; a place where they feel open to explore and create.

Here are 3 tips for Designing an Inspirational Workspace:

1. Make It Your Own and Get Inspired

You could:

  • Frame a motto: Who are you and what inspires you? Why do you do what you do? I have a framed picture that says “Be So Good They Can’t Ignore You” by Steve Martin

  • Display a picture of your team: Do you love who you work with? Do you believe in “we” instead of “I”? Remember who you work with by keeping them in mind.

  • Set an inspiring desktop background: What do you want to remember throughout the day? Currently I have a picture of my team in rose colored-glasses! We’re a fun group.

  • Grow a plant: Is there some life in your office? Will a bit of nature create a different feel? I have a few plants in my office…I won’t tell you if they are real or not but they sure do look good!

  • Add a lamp and maximize natural light: What do you want people to feel after they leave your office? A small green striped office lamp on my desk creates warmth and dimension.

2. Tell a Story

You could:

  • Create a theme with color or images: What colors align with your personality or company culture? Do things match, or are they distracting? I have themes of green and blue in my office.

  • Hang up your diploma or other certifications: How do you share your skillset? It adds credibility to your name if people know your background. I have my diploma so students know my training.

  • Put up a whiteboard for brainstorming: Are you prepared to use your office to brainstorm? Do you have a way to organize thoughts? I love using my whiteboard with students to brainstorm job search strategy.

  • Keep a bowl of mints or treats on your desk: Do your coworkers feel invited into your office? Is there a fun element on your desk that invites networking? Food always does the trick!

  • Hang a wire to display pictures: Want to add a creative element to your office or remember your travels? Think of new ways of displaying the memories you love most.

  • Design an inspiration collage: Are there ideas, words, or pictures that help others learn about you? I have a big Zebra on my wall to represent that while they say a Zebra can’t change its stripes…in my office you can explore and change!

3. Take Care of You

You could:

  • Use ergonomically friendly furniture: Do you take care of yourself by using good furniture? Is your computer screen adjusted right? Consider the adjustments you need to feel comfortable and happy.

  • Get up and walk: Your workspace may be inviting, but studies show that getting up is beneficial for your health. I try to take walks with my coworkers and brainstorm on an occasional run.

  • Keep it Clean: Does your space smell good and look good? Is there hand sanitizer available? Use green cleaning supplies to keep your workspace sanitary and environmentally friendly. I love wet-wipes!

  • Drink lots of water: Are you feeling good at work? What we eat and drink has an effect on how we feel at work. I keep a water bottle on my desk to stay hydrated.

When thinking about your current work or study space, what changes would you like to make? Your workspace matters; it creates identity, can promote productivity, and sends a message to others about what you’re all about.

* This post originally appeared on Carey the Torch, the Official Blog of the Career Development Office at Johns Hopkins Carey Business School.

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