Step 1: Identify Your Office
Where is your office? This may seem like a no-brainer, but in today’s mobile world it’s not always so clear cut. When I was transitioning from law to the holistic arts, there was about a year in which I felt like I was floating around with no identity. It is no coincidence that I had no designated office outside or inside my home. If you are a floater, it is important to still designate a space for your office – even if it is the kitchen table or Starbucks. This will help ground you and set a foundation for your business.
Step 2: Objectively Look at Your Office
Take a look at your office through a stranger’s eyes for a moment. What impression would you get? What does it say about you and your business? Unorganized? Professional? Successful? Peaceful? Organized? Hectic? Overwhelmed? Uncommitted?
I was recently doing a feng shui consultation with a solo entrepreneur who worked out of her home office. It was apparent to me that she was either uncommitted or confused about her current business. She was using a spare guest room as her home office, which is a common and functional setup. However, the room was taken up with personal décor items that looked more like a bed-and-breakfast than a meeting place for business coaching clients. She realized that she was unsure as to the direction of her business. I advised her that if she wanted to build her business and work from home, then that room would need to be primarily an office.
Notice what takes priority in your office. Another example is a client who had run a multi-million dollar employment company until the economy crashed. Numbers were down and she was confused as to the direction of her company. I walked into her executive, corner office and immediately saw that it was inundated by kid photos and drawings. There were adorable pictures of her children taped all along her computer monitor and photo frames of their smiling faces on every square foot of console and desk space. It was clear where her priority was and where she really wanted to be spending her time.
Step 3: What Message Do You Want Your Office to Communicate?
After you have determined what message your office is currently communicating, consider what you want your office to communicate. This is important whether you have clients, co-workers, your dog, or no one enter your office. What your office is communicating is in effect the energy that you put out into the world. So consider what message you want your office to communicate, i.e., professional, zen, organized, creative, fun, successful, etc.?
Step 4: Make Changes to Accomplish Step 3
This step almost always involves getting rid of stuff. I had one client who couldn’t figure out why she kept getting passed up for promotions. I looked around her office and saw relics sitting all over her office. For example, there was a golf ball from the company’s 1989 golf tournament, a plaque for the good Samaritan award from 1992, and so on. I asked her why she was keeping all these nic-nacs. She said that people referred to her as The Historian of the office. Ah ha! No wonder she was not getting promoted. She represented the past for the company – not its future. Clutter can be so well disguised!
What do you need to get rid of that no longer resonates with your current business?
Our offices can sometimes become the dumping ground for stuff that we don’t know what to do with, such as a painting from mom-in-law. Make sure you love everything in your office and aesthetically enjoy being in the space. It will make coming to your office so much more enjoyable and therefore help take your business in a positive direction.