Take your office from drab to fab

It’s time to invite colour into your office! Take a moment to look around your office. What do you see? (Well, other than the work to be done and the pictures or comics that you don’t really see anymore.) What colours do you notice?

I often ask clients to start by adding colour to their file systems as a first step. This is an easy way to streamline your files. You get to choose from a vast number of colours, making it easier to file and find files of a certain stream. Most of my clients have fun developing their own ideas around matching functions with certain colours.

My financial files are green, my speaking files are red and my client files are pink. The yellow ones are administrative. What colours would you like to use? Welcome colour into your files. Trust me, filing becomes a lot easier.

There are many easy ways to use colour in your work. Are you a fan of sticky notes? Do they dance around your desk? You may have trouble remembering how old each note has become. Was there a deadline on that reminder?

Experience has taught me that it helps some clients to change the pad they use each week. This allows you to know how old an idea or reminder has become. With the various shapes and sizes available, you’ll be able to rotate the pads each week, for a long while to come. You could also decide that anything that’s two weeks old (the flower shape?) will go on a list, to be done at your convenience. Or it can go into your planner, to be done right away. This will minimize stale jobs.

What colour are the walls in your office now? Carole Milon of Design Waves reminded me that painting an office can help unify the space and completely shift the energy. When I help clients create a paper path throughout their offices, the final step is often to paint a fresh colour on the walls. Refreshing the paint in any room is a new beginning. I suggest having that done while you’re away for the weekend. It’s a wonderful feeling to return to a freshly painted office.

Colours really can help to change the energy in your office. Sharper colours are meant for movements; softer colours are more contemplative. Ultimately, personal taste is the most important factor.

Carole also reminded me to begin by painting a test board: paint an 18-inch square test board and hold it up on different walls at different times of the day. It’s best to tape a white bristol board behind this sample board. Leave it propped up overnight so that you will see it with fresh eyes when you enter the office in the morning. That’s a good way to become confident that you want that particular colour on those walls.

Anne Sowden of Here’s Looking at You suggested at a recent presentation that Toronto professionals have become pretty drab dressers. Have you noticed? Browns, black and grays seem to dominate the streets. It is time to add a splash of red, yellow or even green. Did you know that green implies freshness, youthfulness and vitality? We can all use some of that in March. A little bit of red indicated to others that you are creative. We all have our favourite colours to wear. What do your preferred colours say about you? Is it time to shop for a few highlights?

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