Consider what office space says about your business
Some time ago, I was summoned to a panicked business owner's office to discuss his urgent need for employee training on sexual harassment. It seemed that some of the employees had been badly misbehaving, and the owner was gravely concerned that he could get sued.
But evidently he wasn't really all that concerned, because he hadn't bothered to remove the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Calendar hanging on the wall just above his desk. Or the plaque engraved with an offensive expression. Or the coffee mug sporting a picture of a partially nude woman.
Contrast that scene with another business owner's office where I recently discussed a coaching assignment. The owner welcomed me into a large paneled office gently lighted by assorted desk and floor lamps. To the left was a cozy conference table encircled by stuffed leather chairs and resting upon an oriental rug. On the right side of the office stood a handsome wood desk and sturdy leather chair, with two rocking chairs available for visitors.
Do these descriptions of two offices help you form an impression of the owners? I'm sure you got a very clear idea of what each is like, even though you have never met either of them.
Now, think about your own office space. What does it say about you?
Are you king of clutter? The queen of piles and Post-Its? Keep in mind that even though your office is your home away from home, it is not the place to demonstrate your obsession with cats, dogs, motorcycles, past vacations, seasonal decorations, your child's awards and artwork, sports memorabilia, bobble heads of famous people, or (my personal fave) Hello Kitty anything. Your office is your work space. It is a snapshot of who you are. It is your “brand.” I recently coached a sales manager whose office definitely advertised his brand. He was obsessed with demonstrating he was the quintessential and archetypal salesman. He crammed his bookshelves and littered his desk with stacks of industry magazines and product catalogs; he displayed to excess the usual accoutrements of salesmen: golf-themed desk accessories, framed football shirts on the walls, and a hockey stick standing at attention near his office door.
When I urged him to declutter, he was adamant that these items brought “character” to his workspace. Well, he was sort of right. He certainly was a character. But you don't want to be perceived as “a character,” do you?
If you have just been struck by the realization that your office does not portray you the way you wish to be seen, you can easily change that. First, decide upon the impression you want to make. Then, remove anything not in alignment with that impression. Next, organize the contents of your drawers and bookshelves. Then, consider small but significant additions such as high-quality pens, artwork that encourages thoughtful discussion, an attractive screensaver, a new color scheme throughout the office, a stunning plant, a tasteful desk lamp, a china tea cup, a handsome coffee mug.
Chris Posti, president of Posti & Associates in Pittsburgh, is author of “The Shortest Distance between You and Your New Job.” Email questions to her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Meteor lights up night sky above eastern U.S.
- Pirates analyst Kent Tekulve recovering after heart transplant
- Dorfman: Pluses and minuses in America’s 20 largest stocks
- Mon Valley experts react to domestic abuse reports
- New approach on offense has Pirates in playoff contention this season
- Classical music crisis: Author says schools today aren’t building audiences
- Pitt football coach Chryst refutes analyst Wannstedt’s opinion
- Steelers veteran defenders want young teammates to step up
- Fracking not the problem, Ohio State scientist finds
- Wheel separation incidents occasionally prove deadly; NTSB doesn’t track them
- Kent State provocation with ‘blood’ sweatshirt denied