Perception is pretty much everything. So, if you thought that decorating your office for success was just a bit of a side note—an afterthought, or something you do if you happen to get around to it: Think again.
The psychology of your office space can often mean the difference between success and failure. How your space looks is how it feels. It will have a significant effect both on you and on how others perceive you, which in turn has an additional effect on our number one concern here: YOU.
The easiest way to get your office looking and feeling as it should is to hire a designer and then just throw money at it—the best and most expensive. Or, just copy a design from a magazine and—again—throw money at it.
But, these “design-to-order” offices aren’t always what you need. They lack the personal touch and, at the end of the day, they most likely won’t really reflect who you really are, where you really should be and where you are going.
You can—and probably should—do it yourself. So, we offer you some basic guidelines for doing it right and for hitting the nail on the head, in terms of décor, psychology and energy.
Color Play – Kandinsky’s Got it Right
The cheapest way to initiate success and trigger your full mental potential is to play with colors. It is proven that colors have a significant effect on certain brain functions. As such, they are used creatively, with certain industries relying on varying colors to get what they want and need out of their employees.
The German-Russian artist, Wassily Kandinsky, was one of the most significant contributors to the psychology of color.
It was Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, in his 1810 “Theory of Colors,” that inspired Kandinsky’s painting. Goethe took issue with the Newtonian view of the day and re-told how we actually experience color as a phenomenon.
Blue excites the mind and shades of blue are effectively used in corporate, accounting and web development environments where intellectual stimulation is necessary, in large doses, to get the job done. It also inspires trust and strength.
Yellow and orange trigger creativity. Marketing and advertising agencies rely on yellow décor to get the imaginative juices flowing. Yellow makes people feel open and creative and stimulates the ‘spirit,’ making you feel confident and optimistic.
Green calms and balances the mind. This makes it the color of therapists and banks, for obvious reasons. The color also inspires trust, where money or sensitive information exchange is happening.
Find the color that is you. It may be a combination, but keep it simple. There’s no need to overthink it. Practice with an accent wall and pay attention to your psychological response to the color.
Download a PDF version of this post.
The Energy of Layout
Once you’ve got your color or colors figured out, it’s time to choose furniture. But, even before that, you need to figure out where that furniture should go, because its placement affects the energy of a room.
The objective of furniture layout is both to attract beneficial energy to your work space and to keep you as focused and productive as possible. If your office doesn’t make sense—your work won’t either.
Place your desk in a “power position,” against a solid wall, with open space in front of you and a wide view of the room. You, after all, are the master of this ship.
If possible, it’s important to leave some decorating space for the massively under-appreciated power nap. If you thought naps were anathema to productivity, nothing could be further from the truth.
Sleep is essential to memory, and dreaming has been linked to greater creativity and productivity. A “quiet room” helps with stress and concentration.
Décor – Credibility & Simplicity vs. Arrogance & Clutter
Forget the framed copies of diplomas or other recorded ‘merits.’ These have all been blacklisted by the modern design handbook. Paper is out. It brings chaos and disorganization. What you’re looking for is clean and simple. Cluttered desks and walls make for cluttered minds. We don’t need clutter anymore, thanks to technology.
A map of the world may demonstrate your broad interests and suggest a knowledge of geography and world events, but don’t make it a centerpiece—keep if off to the side. Anyone who visits your office will assume you are a big-picture thinker. But, if not, it’s not being shoved in their face. It’s credibility and seriousness that we are projecting—not arrogance.
Family photos should also be given a less central position and any such collection should be simple and down-sized (less is more).
The main goal when you decorate your work space is to create an environment in which your own personal goal can be visualized and then realized.
Let the Light Shine In
All studies claim the same thing: in order to encourage creativity and productivity, office space should have high ceilings, proper lighting, adequate room temperature and as many windows as possible.
Ceiling height can have a significant effect on how one works, with the general sentiment being that higher ceilings promote creativity and encourage out-of-the-box thinking. Your mind feels the additional space and opens itself to the possibilities. This is exactly why people go for walks to think things over.
More windows are also shown to add to productivity. Studies find that those who work from a windowed office are almost 20 percent more productive, in any given task, than those surrounded by walls or crammed in a booth. If you can secure a garden view, all the better—this could increase productivity by another 5 percent.
By the same token, plants on your desk could help you to better concentrate and even prevent fatigue. And, no one will complain about the extra oxygen, either.
When it comes to temperature, most offices maintain an environment around 65-68 Fahrenheit. But, newer studies show that this could be hindering productivity. Warmer rooms actually make people more productive. The jury is still out on this one, so experiment to uncover the best room temperature for you.
A Few Alternative Notes
Aside from these more practical rules of office design, there is also those plenty of esoteric advice out there for increasing your chances of success. Most it falls loosely into a ‘spiritual’ or perhaps even superstitious category. You can take these tidbits or leave them. But, if nothing else, they are interesting.
Among the many, we offer you these:
- Maintain open space in your filing cabinets to encourage growth. When file drawers are overstuffed, so the superstition goes, you’re suggesting to the Gods of Growth that you’ve got too much work and can’t handle any more. The superstition maintains that empty cabinets keep you motivated and ambitious.
- Place something meaningful on the upper left corner of your desk to invite wealth and prosperity.
To get your office right, you have to understand who you are and, more than anything, this process itself is what will put you firmly on the road to success as a trader.