How to Decorate Your Desk

How to Decorate Your Desk | CorporetteHow do YOU like to decorate your desk?  Where is the line between “plain vanilla robot” and “crazed Cathy fan”?

You covered desk essentials recently, but what I’ve really been wondering is: How do you “decorate” a desk? Where do you draw the line between professional and tacky?

I’m a young (25) legal professional working in a very casual environment where most of the other people in the building are not lawyers. Most of these other people are women who are fairly close to retirement age, so their desks are…. well, tacky. Think small animals holding signs with “witty sayings” and billions of pictures of grandchildren. At the moment, I only have some nice letter holders and a pretty inbox on my desk. I’d like my desk to look professional, but I have no idea what a professional desk has on it!

We’ve talked about how to personalize an office before, as well as liven up your office walls, as well as how to choose your own office furniture, but not in a while, so I’m curious.  For my $.02, my desk/office space (even in BigLaw) has always included these things: [Read more…]

How to Set Up a Mobile Office

How to Deal with Hot Desking | CorporetteWhat do you do if you don’t have a specific desk or workspace every day, and instead have to carry everything you need for work with you? How do you set up a mobile office, or deal with a “hot desking” situation? I’ve had a few questions about this recently, so let’s discuss.

First, Reader S — a British reader starting a new career — will be spending most workdays at clients’ offices, with no more than one day a week at the home office; she may also be commuting on very crowded public trains to and from her work. Essentially, she wonders:

How do I create a “mobile office?
– what are the essentials I should carry everday in order to have everything I need, but not look like I’m moving in and damaging my back in the process?
– What should I bring with me but maybe leave in the hotel room if I don’t need them EVERY day?
– How do I pack light clotheswise but stay stylish?
– Also, what few things should be the things I prioritize and keep in my locker at my company’s office?

A second reader, R (also from the UK! hello Brits!) wonders how to deal with a new office where “we ‘hot desk,’ meaning there are desk tops with docking stations but no drawers or pedestals (with a small locker allocated to them, so small it won’t even fit a pair of shoes.)

Whoa. I’ve always been the kind of worker who likes to really personalize my office — it’s one of the main reasons I’ve resisted working in coffee shops or a group office space now that I’m self-employed. Although it looks like hot desking is already fairly common overseas, Inc. notes that it’s the “latest office design craze” here in America as well, so let’s discuss. (And I’ll say at the outset that your job will dictate what you need — an accountant may need a more specific calculator than the one on your phone; a lawyer may need more highlighters or tape flags than a consultant, and so forth.)  We’ve talked before about how to lighten your tote bag, but here are a few more ideas for you: [Read more…]

The Top Ten Things to Keep In Your Desk

The Top Ten Things to Keep In Your Desk | CorporetteIt’s a perennial question: what to keep in your desk? We haven’t talked about this in a while, so I thought we should discuss reader J’s question:

Can you do a post on essential things to keep in your office/desk? I ask this because I never think of things to bring in until it is too late. Recent example — I’m about to go to a client meeting, and I look down and see my bright pink nail polish half chipped off on every nail. Of course I didn’t have any nail polish remover in my office, so I waste my 10 minutes before the meeting looking around for remover. Other examples include: nail clipper and file, bandaids, Advil.

Some of my favorite posts on the blog are on things to keep in your office — drugstore stuff for your office, tech stuff to buy for your office, food to keep at the office, and the clothes that should live at your office. We’ve also done a fun post on different uses for office supplies (in a pinch). But we haven’t talked about this in a long while, so let’s discuss. Readers, please list your top ten absolute essentials for your office! What have you been surprised to get a lot of use out of?

For my own $.02, if I had to set up a totally new office, I would bring: [Read more…]

How to Lighten Your Load

how to lighten your loadIf you’re carrying a million bags, how do you look professional?  How can you lighten your load and reduce the number of bags you’re carrying? Reader R wonders…

I work in a large corporate environment and recently had a daughter. I’m back at work, but I feel like a bag lady. I’m only 5’3″ and have to carry in my laptop, purse, pump, lunch, and coffee. (Not brave enough to add my gym bag to the mix, although I’d like to.) I feel like the bags overwhelm my frame and generally make me look smaller, younger, and unprofessional. How do others juggle all this STUFF?

Congratulations on your daughter, R!  Great question — I can see how this is a problem for new mothers, but also for other people carrying too much stuff.  We’ve talked about what your tote bag says about you, as well as how to save your back while commuting, but we haven’t really talked about a) how to lighten your load, and b) how to balance your load (particularly if you’re petite) so it looks more managed.

From my perspective, most of reader R needs to do is to reduce the amount of stuff she carries.  Some tips: [Read more…]

Coffee Break: Martha Stewart Office Accessories

Martha Stewart Home Office AccessoriesI’m sorry to say I don’t remember where I first saw this new line of Martha Stewart desk accessories — Pinterest, perhaps? There’s a lot to like, though — it isn’t overly cutesy, it’s organized, and there are a lot of ways to customize it to suit your needs. I’ve pictured the “Stack+Fit Desk Accessories” here — the idea is that you can stack inboxes, storage boxes, drawers, and smaller organizing compartments to make exactly what you need. Nice. Prices range from $1.99 to $14.99 for individual pieces in the Stack+Fit system; the whole Martha Stewart line also includes furniture, totes, wall systems, and more. Martha Stewart Office Accessories

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When to Accommodate Co-Workers

when-to-accommodate-coworkersWhen should you accommodate coworkers to be a “team player” — and when should you hold your ground to avoid looking weak? Reader K wonders, particularly whether she should give up her window:

I have an office etiquette question. I’m a lawyer in the public sector and we were recently told that we’re going to have to double people up in offices to make room for new staff. Our offices were made to be doubles, they’re long and narrow, so the person in the back half of the office gets a window (prime seating) while the front half doesn’t. I currently have the window half and was told I am getting an officemate. The person moving in has been an attorney for 15 plus years, but I have seniority at our current office because I started first. She is not happy about sharing an office and is further frustrated because she’ll be getting the windowless half of the office. I’m a brand new attorney; should I offer to switch sides?

Interesting question.  I’m curious to see what the readers say, but here are my initial thoughts for why I’d be polite and welcoming to the new officemate, but would stay put near the window: [Read more…]