Business - Creating a Wonderful Environment - Putting Your Personality in Your Surroundings

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Your home is a reflection of your personality, tastes and interests. Because you spend most of your waking hours at the office, it is also important that it is a comfortable and convenient place that reflects you. Consider your likes and dislikes, the work you will be doing, and your preferred style when setting up the place that you will work.

Following are 30 things that I have in my office that help to make it a "home away from home":

1. Colour - My favourite colour is purple. I have therefore chosen a light pinky-mauve colour for all the walls and then accessorized with white and purple. The impact on others is amazing as the colours provide a calming effect and atmosphere they didn't expect.

2. Style - People laugh when I state that I set up the office in the style of "classy hotel lobby". Rather than choosing typical office furniture, I have white loveseats, lots of wood, cupboards with doors and accessories you would likely expect more in a home (like afghans, end tables, lamps and floral arrangements). Wall hangings and pictures each have personal meaning and include not only degrees and licences but also personal photographs and artwork.

3. Music - My client office has a stereo which holds five CDs that play songs randomly. I only play soft, calm tunes that are relaxing. Classical music doesn't work because the volume changes are too drastic. Also, I never play songs I know because then I tend to hum or sing along.

4. Conveniences - A small bar fridge, microwave and a few china cups help to make the office feel more like home for me.

5. Library - I LOVE books and have had staff categorize and computerize everything so things are easy to find. I don't ever lend books or other items, however, as no matter how trustworthy your clientele some things are not returned.

6. Computers - I enjoy using computers for internet marketing, research and administrative tasks. Because of this, I have a desktop for me to use and a laptop which my part-time staff can use to schedule appointments. That way, we never have to share.

7. Self-care items - I have an alarm clock so that I can have a short nap when there is an opening. I also keep a few items such as a can of almonds, individual yogurt cups and a supply of water and my favourite soft drink in the fridge. I also keep a bag of personal care items such as makeup, deodorant, and medications available for special circumstances. It is also important to have room freshener.

8. Special client items - I tend to use baskets to store stickers which I give out to children and referral brochures and cards for adults. Besides this, I have a number of safe toys and children's books to occupy children who accompany clients.

When it comes to decorating your office, there is really no right or wrong way to do it. Your business adventure, however, is made more interesting when you incorporate your personality into the environment. The office should be a wonderful place that you and your clients can share in comfort.

Dr. Linda Hancock, the author of “Life is An Adventure…every step of the way” and “Open for Business Success” is a Registered Psychologist who has a private practice in Medicine Hat. She can be reached at 403-529-6877 or through email

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