How to Choose the Best Office

How to Choose the Best Office | CorporetteIf you could pick any office, which would you choose? What factors would help you choose the best office? Reader C wonders…

I’m thrilled to have accepted a new job! I’m an attorney in my late 20s making a lateral move to a mid-size boutique firm after five years with my current shop. Of all the things on my to do list, one is really stumping me.

In discussion with the office manager of my new firm-to-be, we arranged a day for me to come by in a week to deal with paperwork, etc. before I start. She told me I could pick my office that day, so it could be set up for me. I said, “Great!” Then I hung up the phone and thought, “What?”

Other than the obviously draw of bigger + more light — what should I think about or ask when I get to choose my own office? As a luxury I didn’t have at my first job out of law school, it feels like an opportunity that might (but not necessarily will) be seen as a strategic choice. There will be associates both senior and junior to me, and I’d hate to unwittingly end up in territory typically reserved for interns (especially because I look so young). Am I overthinking this?

Aaah, the pressure — I feel for you, Reader C. We’ve talked about whether location or size matters for offices, as well as how to decorate your first office, and what to keep in your desk, but we haven’t explicitly talked about this. Some considerations:

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Decorating Your Office Walls

Decorating Your Office Walls | CorporetteBeyond your diploma, what are the best ways to decorate the walls of your office while keeping a professional-looking workspace? Reader V wonders…

Hi! Any thoughts on the best wall decor to send a professional image? I currently have a lot of blank space — I want to jazz it up, and I also want to make sure it contributes to my office having a professional decor. Thanks!

Great question, V! We’ve talked a lot about office decor in the past, including decorating office walls and inappropriate office decor — but not in a while.  Some thoughts:

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Coffee Break: Agate Office Accessories

Agate OfficeOh yeah. I like these… a lot. So much so that I almost don’t want to post them so I can stalk them until they go on sale. I love the agate (I’m all about the agate right now), the clear plastic, and the general functionality of all of the pieces (except for the platter, which seems really large to be either a coaster or a paperweight, but that is me). Lovely. The pieces are $62-$360 at Bergdorf Goodman. Rab Labs Eiro Desk Accessories & Travessa Platter

I haven’t seen any similar and more affordable desk accessories, but here are two similar bookends.

Dec. 2015 Update: These exact products have sold out, but here are a few similar agate desk accessories, pictured below. You can also check out all Rab Labs items still in stock at Bergdorf’s, here. 

More Agate Desk Accessories

 

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How to Be Productive When You Work in an Open Office

open-office-adjustmentReaders, do you have any tips for how to work productively in an open office? What advice do you have for someone struggling to adjust to one? Reader K wonders…

I’d love to hear your and readers thoughts about open office plans in the legal environment, such as in the recent article Google Got It Wrong: The Open Office Trend is Destroying Workplaces. In my job at a large non-profit that also has a legal help line, the lawyers, except for legal director, are in cubicles. 2 lawyers spend 1/2 their time doing phone intake. The rest do typical legal research and writing. I have asked about ways of reducing noise/less open space, but am told to just deal with it. My question is whether in the legal industry in general there is an expectation that lawyers should be able to have quiet spaces to work. Looking back on K-12, college, and law school, I always found quiet places to work, and was efficient. My teachers noticed that I was a great writer and really distractable, so they made sure I had a quiet place to work. Now, as a lawyer, I wish there was a quiet space I could escape to do my best work, like I did for 19 years of school. I’d take a pay cut!

Interesting question, reader K. I’ve worked in cubicles (back in my magazine days), a closed-door office environment (back in my BigLaw days), and an open-door office environment (back in my nonprofit days)… so I’ve never worked in a truly open office. While I’m really curious to hear what the readers say, I have a few ideas that may be of help:

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How to Organize Your Office

How to Organize Your Office | Corporette

2017 Update: We still stand by this advice on how to organize your office! Links have been updated below. 

Let’s talk about a subject near and dear to our hearts, ladies: how do you organize your office and your work (or otherwise get things done)? We’ve talked about cute office supplies, the best notebooks, planners, and office padfolios — as well as how to keep notes to CYA — but we haven’t talked about this directly.  Reader A wonders:

I would love to see more articles on the best ways to organize your work in the office, i.e., a folder with separate notes for each project or client v. one notebook for all meetings/projects, how to organize your day or to-do list, how to turn meeting notes into a to-do list, etc. I’d also love some suggestions on day planners, notebooks, and other office supplies.

Fun topic!  Personally, when I was a lawyer, I played around with having a single notebook per case, as well as having one notebook or notepad that I grabbed whenever I was heading out to take notes.  If memory serves I finally settled on a folder system — I would keep one “general” folder with all of my initial notes from prior pleadings and general strategy notes, and then I’d start a new folder for each major assignment I was tasked with (memo, research, portion of a brief, whatever).  I would keep the recent and active folders near my desk in a folder tower (where each case had its own little slot — something similar to what I had is pictured above), and then move them to a filing drawer or redweld once the case was Really Truly Over, or once the assignment got stale enough and I needed more room closest to my desk. (Oh, and I love my Brother P-Touch label maker.) [Read more…]

Guest Post: The Top 5 Crimes in Office Décor

We’ve talked a lot about office decor on this blog — how to decorate your desk, how to liven up your office walls, what the logistics are for decorating your office, and how to know when your office decor is too nice — but we’ve never had a true expert weigh in. So today I’m thrilled to welcome Sayeh Pezeshki, an office stylist who founded the blog The Office Stylist and created a stylish LA coworking space. She was nice enough to round up her top five crimes in office decor for us — take it away, Sayeh! 

I always read or hear about fashion crimes (can you believe she wore that!?) but you rarely, if ever, come across office décor crimes. It doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen, and sadly, it was hard to limit this post to just five. When it comes to styling and designing your workspace, there are things you should NEVER do, like wearing white pants after Labor Day…

blank walls

1. Blank Walls

It’s your office—not solitary confinement! You should feel excited and energized in your work space, not like a prisoner. Deck out your walls with fun prints, wallpaper, or paint colors. Anything is better than plain, white, boring office walls.

“Don’t” image via Desert Domicile, “Do” image via My Scandinavian Home.

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