You want your office to be tailored to your work style and needs. But don't forget that your office is also a calling card -- it lets people who walk in know a bit about you and who you are.
You don't have to be a skilled designer in order to make sure the impression your office gives is a good one -- that your work space represents the skilled, put-together professional you are. Here's five easy ways to make your office, and you, look more professional:
1. Something Personal
Your office should express a bit of who you are. A personal touch can make you seem more approachable. It can also function as a conversation starter. A family photo, sports memorabilia, a sample of your cat figurine collection -- if not overwhelming, these can all make you seem like a fuller person without detracting from your professional image.
2. A Space to Meet Clients and Colleagues
Unless every interaction you have with others is in a conference room or at the coffee shop down the street, you're going to need to set aside a space in your office to meet with others. This could simply be a chair that people can pull up to your desk, or a whole separate area of your office, if you have the room. If you meet people from your desk, make sure that you don't have a wall of computer monitors completely obscuring your view of each other.
3. A Filing System -- That You Use
You want to look busy, you want to look like you're deep in the muck of work -- but you don't want to look like a slob or hoarder. Having a filing system and sticking to it will help you avoid letting paper work swallow your space. It will also allow you to obtain paperwork that you need much more easily, without having to swim through stacks of old briefs or depositions.
4. Degrees, Certifications, Awards, etc.
Hey, you paid a lot for that degree, so show it off! Clients and even colleagues will be impressed by your academic achievements. The same goes for special certifications, awards or other bona fides. Avoid, however, padding your wall's resume with needless filler such as certificates of appreciation and the like.
5. A Little Bit of Life
The office fern may be much maligned, but it serves a good purpose. Plants or flowers add color and life to your office without being ostentatious. They also help clean the air and are said to improve visitors' mood.