Some of you might have a nice, big office where it’s luxurious and private…
…the other 99% of you have small, cramped cubicles or are shoved behind a stack of printing paper and office supplies with no windows. It sounds bad, but we promise it can be better!
Try decorating your “cube”, as we will call it. Maybe you have heard of Feng Shui? If not, it’s the idea that the way you arrange you room can bring good into your life, such as happiness, luck, wealth, good health, etc. Now maybe you’re thinking, “Okay, putting my little desk cactus on the west side of my desk as opposed to the east side will NOT result in me getting a raise.” So you’re not a superstitious person, and that’s fine, BUT there is scientific evidence to prove that certain arrangements of your living space (when you work 40 hours a week, that’s considered a living space) leads to positive effects on your brain. When you’re in a positive mindset, you tend to be more outgoing, hardworking, friendlier, etc. and THOSE things lead to success. So decorating your work space might not directly cause good things, but it leads to it. SO, let’s get started on things you can do to make your work space more enjoyable during your co-op and to make you successful.
Make sure you follow your company’s standards first and foremost
Try to buy a small plant that is low maintenance, such as ivy, or bamboo. Not only does having some greenery feel nice when you’re stuck inside all day, but plants literally suck in pollutants and give off oxygen, so they are naturally filtering the air. That way when your boss throws another project on your lap, you can take a deep breath of clean air.
2. Bring a piece of home to work
We’re going to call these “visual breaks”. When you spend so much time in your cube, it’s nice to personalize it in a way that reflects yourself. Put things in that remind you of home; things that will get your mind off of something stressful when you look at it and remind you of life outside of work (nothing too distracting though). Maybe a cork board to pin (appropriate) pictures of your family and friends or a good movie/TV show poster will do the trick. This might also spur some conversation with your coworkers once they can physically see the things you enjoy most. Talking to other employees instead of being alone all day definitely helps your attitude.
3. Lighting and temperature
Lighting and temperature greatly affects your productivity. You can’t control the headache-inducing florescent lights beaming overhead; however focusing some light on other areas can reduce some of its annoyance. Maybe put a desk lamp, a dimmed lamp, colored lamp shades or even Christmas (string) lights in your cubicle. As far as temperature, if it gets too hot, bring a fan; if it gets too cold, bring a space heater (if allowed)
Who says you have to have the “standard” model of everything? Separating your workspace apart from others makes the whole experience seem unique, and you suddenly feel different. Try upgrading to a better, and comfier, chair. When you sit 7 hours a day, that chair makes a huge difference. Also consider desk accessories and extenders that make your desk more customized (even one that forces you to stand while you work, if you don’t like the idea of sitting all day)
5. Lastly, HAVE FUN
There are so many ideas out there to make your cube extremely awesome. If you’re the creative type, look them up (Pinterest has some great stuff, http://www.pinterest.com/ConfettiStyle/cubicle-decor/). You may have lots of work to do, but taking some time out of your day (or staying extra/coming in early one day) to do this might be one of the best payoffs.
If you’re into the idea of Feng Shui, start with this very basic direction guide (http://fengshui.about.com/od/glossaryofterms/g/bagua.htm) and explore the rest of the site for almost every guide to Feng Shui.
Now go decorate and finish your co-op with style and happiness!