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…]

How to De-Smell Your Office… Without Annoying Your CoWorkers

Cuppa, originally uploaded to Flickr by grimescene.How do you make your office smell nice — without offending any of your coworkers or clients?  Reader P asks a great question:

I work at a law firm, and my office is pretty close to the kitchen on my floor. My office inevitably ends up smelling like food during lunch time because of people constantly microwaving their lunch. Do you, or your readers, have any suggestions for an office-appropriate air freshener that won’t smell too floral and isn’t too overpowering, but would take care of the food smells? I hate it when people walk in and my office smells like Lean Cuisine! Thank you!

I’ve advised against office fragrances in the past (in part because I think I made that mistake when I started!), and readers are always against easily-smelled perfume at the office (Pictured.) A few ideas… [Read more…]

Coffee Break – Zip Around Portfolio

Serapian Zip Around Portfolio Reader M wrote in to recommend this leather portfolio at Barney’s, noting: “Alas I don’t have it so I can’t vouch personally (so expensive!), but I’m pretty sure I would DIE of happiness if somebody gifted me this gorgeous, gorgeous zip-around leather portfolio.  It should even fit legal size paper, judging from the dimensions.”  Le sigh — I love a good zip around portfolio, but they are so difficult to find online!  This one is $385… readers, where do you get great leather portfolios and the like?  Serapian Zip Around Portfolio


Staying Cool in a Hot Office

Fan, originally uploaded to Flickr by Ryk Neethling.How do you stay cool in an overheated office? Reader L — who notes that she is nowhere near “hot flash” territory — wants some advice on working with some overactive radiators:

You’ve written about staying warm in a cold office. What about staying cool in a hot office? The weather outside is frightful, but my office feeling as hot as fire is not so delightful.

Great question, and I’m curious to hear what readers say. (Pictured.) Some tips off the top of my head:

  • Dress in layers. Obviously. You may want to particularly look into breathable fabrics like cotton, linen, and silk (which can block cold winds outside but still be comfortable inside).

[Read more…]

The Logistics of Decorating Your Office

Long day at the office, originally uploaded to Flickr by thewinchester.Decorating your first office is always exciting — but the logistics can be a little intimidating.  How do you get furniture in to the office?  How do you hang pictures up?  Reader D has some fabulous questions…

I just accepted a job offer to start next month in a senior position at a non-profit. I managed to negotiate a private office into the deal. I am coming from cubicle land so this prospect both excites and scares me. I obviously need to wait and see what the office looks like before planning anything but wanted your advice. I plan to probably bring my framed degrees with me as well as some professionally framed pieces featuring news clips of my work, etc. but how do I go about bringing them in/hanging them up/etc.? Also, I was reading an old post on personalizing an office where people suggested bringing in real furniture, rugs, lamps. How? I guess I could drive one day, but do I just one day after I start working start just moving things in my office? That seems so strange to me… I’m not sure if I will have access on the weekends, but that seems like the logical solution maybe, but what if not? I don’t want to burn bridges by decorating but I want to make my office my own… so what do I do?

Great questions (and congrats on your forthcoming private digs)! We’ve talked about office decor a few times in the past — whether the best office is big or well located, how to liven up your office (without making it “too nice”), what ergonomic things (chairs, keyboards) you should consider requesting or adding,  when an office is too messy, as well as when an office is decorated too nicely — but we haven’t really talked about the actual logistics of decorating your office.  (Pictured: Long day at the office, originally uploaded to Flickr by thewinchester.) I think this is going to be specific to every office, but here are my suggestion with how to proceed:

– Day 1.  Show up with yourself.  In a suit.  Maybe with a favorite pen or notepad.  Don’t bring anything else that you intend to leave at the office.  As you meet people that day and look at other people’s offices, assess the level of decoration (among everything else you’re doing that day).  In my BigLaw firm some of the partners had decorators come to do their offices — many walls were painted or wallpapered, artwork was hung, huge desks presided, and lux couches and armchairs filled the space.  In my non-profit legal job, everyone (including the VIPs) used furniture that looked as if it had been abandoned by the side of the road sometime in 1994, or perhaps purloined from a college dormitory garbage bin.  So this is really going to vary by office. [Read more…]

Coffee Break – 3-Pocket Glasses Stand

Bushakan 3-Pocket Glasses StandIf you’re like me — and you have a few pairs of glasses floating around your home or workspace — I love these beautiful glass stands. Not only do they give your glasses a place to “live,” they also look gorgeous and classy. Prices range from $49-$225; the ash wood one pictured is $180 at Bushakan. 3-Pocket Glasses Stand