The Art of the Cubicle Overhaul
Written by Mandy Shold
Here’s the honest truth: I spend more hours in the office than I do in my apartment. Awake, anyway.
Don’t believe me? I sat down and did the math. Twice.
Now, you can ask anyone: I’m immensely proud of my apartment; not only do I fork over enough for San Francisco rent, but I take pride in how I’ve curated my space. I’m constantly stalking West Elm for sales, combing through Craigslist for fixer-uppers, and getting into trouble in the Target home section. My apartment has all the Pinterest essentials—a Mongolian fur pillow, a succulent terrarium, an impressive collection of both geodes and books and what some may describe as entirely too many throws. (I do not.)
So, when I was given my desk assignment at work, I didn’t just see plain white cubicle—I saw a blank canvas. Sure, there are things I’d love for my space (like a window … or even a view of somebody else’s window), but like with anything at work, you have to make the most of what you have.
The reality is, a work space is so much more than just a desk. Designing the right space can stimulate your creativity, increase your productivity and ultimately turn you into a happier employee. Considering we spend roughly half our waking adult lives at work, it’s time to transform your boring, old desk into a catalyst for you to do bigger, better things.
How exactly should you go about curating the perfect office space? Just make sure to consider these five things:
1. The Basics
Raise your hand if your office has terrible lighting? Not only is it unflattering, but lighting actually can affect your work performance! Good lighting can actually decrease errors by as much as 50 percent, not to mention decrease eye-strain and cut out those nasty midday migraines. I brought a lamp from home and it’s made all the difference—plus it’s far less depressing when I’m working late and the overheads go off.
2. The Logistics
My favorite part of starting a new year is starting a new planner. Hell, I even love starting a new month or week or page in my planner. Every day is an opportunity to start fresh! Finding the perfect match might seem daunting, but the right agenda could be just what you need to get your day started right and help you optimize productivity in your space.
I’m personally using a planner from Sugar Paper (similar to this one) but I’m also obsessed with this dove-grey classic, this white and rose gold stunner, and, for the hyper-organized, you can never go wrong with a day-by-day like this or this.
3. The Fuel
How often is your desk littered with Starbucks cups? If you’re anything like me, caffeine is an absolute must for your productivity, so make it a part of your space! Not only is a reusable option better for the planet, the right mug or water bottle could may just bring out the best in you too.
For my coffee lovers, you can’t go wrong with our very own Babes Who Hustle mug. And for my fellow loose-leaf tea fiends, I have this texturized mug at my desk, but am pining after this traveling beauty. Plus, don’t forget to hydrate with something like this, or splurge on one of these crystal elixir water bottles—they double as art for your desk!
4. The Organics
Since we spend so long chained to our desks, it’s important to bring the outdoors to us. Did you know having a plant at your desk reduces stress, lowers your blood pressure and slows your heart rate? Not only that, it can also sharpen your memory and increase your productivity. Don’t want to splurge on a weekly flower arrangement? Don’t get any sun at your desk? Here are a few more sustainable options for your space.
For those of you who some greenery but lack a green thumb, you can fool anybody with great faux succulents like this tiny charmer, this classic white-and-gold number or this funky statement piece. And while there are endless ways to bring some organics into your space, the geology nerd in me also loves desk-friendly options like this or this.
5. The Inspiration
Above all else, make sure to surround yourself with things that bring you joy. Whether it’s a photo from your favorite trip, a poster of your favorite art piece or a print of your favorite Shakespeare quote, find what fuels your fire and surround yourself with it.
Check out Society6 for a huge selection of artwork (I personally have this little guy as a throw pillow), Target or Etsy motivational prints like this or this, or bring some of your own inspiring photos to life with custom calendars or prints. Don’t forget to use your desktop as another source of inspiration. Sites like SugarPaper and theEveryGirl have great new downloads that come out monthly.
No, there’s not a perfect formula to the perfect desk. But with how many hours you’re spending at your desk, isn’t it about time you started enjoying yourself there? Go ahead and start a Pinterest board, browse through your favorite stores, emulate your favorite Instagram workspaces—whatever you need to get on the path to your best desk and your best self.
Remember, it’s all about what speaks to you, motivates you and, most importantly, inspires you to keep on hustling.
Mandy spends her days working in public relations, specializing in sustainability and corporate responsibility - a job which not only fuels her soul but also pays her San Francisco rent. She spends her (virtually nonexistent) free time exploring the Bay Area craft beer scene, working on her rock collection, and wishing her cat would be the big spoon sometimes. For additional sass and details of her life held together by caffeine and dry shampoo, follow her on Twitter. You can also check out her BWH interview and past work for us here, here, here, here, and here.