How to optimize your office workstation

An office environment can be a bit dull and grey and the workstations are not particularly suited for everyone’s specific needs. This is understandable; the company only provides the basic furniture and equipment that needs to be compatible with people of various temperaments, shapes and sizes. This being said you don’t have to feel like you are working in a cave or a prison cell. Making some minor tweaks, adding a few things here and there, bringing in a little color and enhancing existing features is perfectly fine as long as it is tasteful and makes your work easier.

Personalizing your office space

Some companies have a strict clean desk policy, others will allow various degrees of personalization, and then there are the modern internet companies that will let you go overboard and basically do as you like as long as you keep making them money. It’s good to know the official office policy regarding personal items and décor before making any rash decisions, so you should refrain from making any changes for the first couple of days and just look around other workstations and ask some of your coworkers about the office policy. A few tidbits on your computer desk are usually fine in most companies, just as long as you remember to bring them in gradually, during the course of a few weeks. Don’t walk into the office with a bag fool of toys, decorations and picture frames like your some kind of office Santa Clause and immediately start decorating the place, keep it simple and professional. Here are some items that will not clash with the professional tone and the minimalist office furniture:

A flower pot> – plants are an excellent way to bring some color into the office, a small to medium sized pot on your office desk is fine by any standards. It will also help purify the air and provide you with oxygen. Some plants that are easy to maintain and great for the office are: pothos (devil’s ivy), rubber plant, peace lily, ferns and philodendrons.

>A few family photos – three or four photos of your family in nice frames can make your workstation feel like home, but don’t overdo it. Too many pictures can be distracting.


Original and colorful office supplies – even in offices with the strictest policies you can still get away with a few unusual, creative items as long as they necessary for everyday tasks. You can really brighten things up and play with the color theme by adding staplers, pen holders, paperclips, pens and pencils of different colors and designs. 

A lamp – adequate lighting is very important for maintaining good eyesight and a lamp on a computer desk is a very professional image, one that is ingrained in our collective mind. A lamp just goes very naturally with the workstation, it is unobtrusive and if chosen well can be an additional source of color in the workplace.

A few pictures and quotes on the walls – a mini collage of inspirational pictures and quotes, some photos of beautiful scenery and animals, modern technology and vehicles or old architecture and art, can provide a nice background for you to enjoy while being perfectly acceptable in most cases.

A couple of modern gadgets and toys – this doesn’t mean a bunch of teddy bears, Barbie dolls, a football and a model plane. You need something that looks modern and high-tech that will feel as part of the office furniture and looks like it has a purpose. Geometrically shaped toys, 3D puzzles, brain teasers and small figurines can stimulate the mind, provide fun and still paint a picture of a serious, intelligent and hardworking employee. Some gadgets that are great for your office desk are: a USB coffee warmer, desktop coffee maker, a digital clock, etc.

A couple of coffee mugs– a coffee mug or two is an accessory that everyone expected to work all day is allowed to have. There are some great designs out there, but try to keep it as simple as possible. A whimsically shaped mug can really liven up your workstation and boost your morale; but a huge, hideous monstrosity will annoy your coworkers and clients, and get you in trouble with the boss. If you have a strict office policy, then a medium sized, colorful mug is all you need, but if you have a little bit of creative freedom there are some very interesting and well-designed coffee mugs you can get: camera lens mug, Doctor Who Tardis mug, R2D2 mug and mugs with pictures that change with temperature.

These are just a few suggestions on making your workstation easier to work in without clogging up your office desk with unnecessary trinkets that might get you in trouble. Once you have a clear understanding of company policies you can use your imagination to personalize your environment in a way that will enhance your performance and boost morale.  Color and variety can be smuggled into even the strictest workplaces with a little bit of effort and imagination.