We are thrilled to present this guest post, written by the talented Elissa Freeman.
When I started my solo PR business almost eight years ago, I didn’t give much thought to the type of work environment I would need to succeed. After all, what was wrong with my kitchen table and chair? I’d be in close proximity to the fridge (snacks!) and the TV (the news, of course!)
I quickly figured out this set-up wasn’t going to work neither for my concentration nor my waistline. I needed to create an office suitable for the work of a successful PR practitioner. I sat down and thought about the type of work I do and more importantly how I do that work. The way we communicate with clients has changed dramatically – and the elissapr communications headquarters needed to reflect that.
Creating a short list of what my office needed with respect to the work that I do, helped focus my decorating efforts.
Heads Down Thinking
This is absolutely crucial, which is why I put it in the number one spot. This is the work where we show our worth, from strategic thinking to creative development. How do you keep those creative juices flowing? Consider a sit-to-stand desk. If you’re sitting at your desk all day – you need some sort of movement. Standing up can provide you with that much needed respite. According to ergonomic research conducted by Herman Miller, one of world’s top furniture manufacturers, a combination of sitting, standing and moving in varying amounts is vital for overall health. Sit-to-stand desks are a great investment – look for great quality and a warranty.
Sitting for long hours
You need a great quality chair, full stop. Yes, you could go to your local big box store, spend anywhere from $99-$300 and call it a day. Until your chair breaks within the year. One study out of the UK found an ergonomic chair can help increase productivity by up to 10 per cent and employees who felt comfortable at work rated their productivity up to 25 per cent higher than staff who felt uncomfortable. Consider investing in an office chair that works as hard as you do. Mitchell Cohen, Dealer Principal of Workspace Group (WSG) in Toronto has some definitive ideas on the need for a proper chair. “A so-so chair creates pressure points, and when you have pressure points, you stand up and move, maybe you’re going for a walk around the block for 10 minutes to feel better and you’re doing that 3 times a day,” Cohen says. “That’s 30 minutes that you just lost in productivity and now there’s a cost to it.”
This is where good lighting comes in, especially if you give media interviews by this medium. Firstly, consider a desk lamp that allows you to adjust the lighting as needed; I’m currently loving this one by Dyson. It’s a bit on the pricier side – but I did get tired of returning those cheap bargains that I bought.
I’d like to meet the people who said we’d live in a paperless society. I have papers, I have files and that stuff has to go somewhere. Storage is often the last thing you think about, but put it at the top of your list. “Most people forget about storage, until it becomes increasingly obvious that papers are taking over their desk,” says Mitchell Cohen of WSG. “Clutter hinders productivity; you’ll also start leaving things in other rooms, other than your desk. Consider storage solutions that will grow as your business grows. Amazon has some great, affordable options too.
Other helpful hints to keeping a clear space? Consider putting your monitor on a moveable monitor arm or adding a keyboard tray (if needed). You need to be able to move efficiently and comfortably in your space.
Most importantly, make this space one that you want to walk into everyday, as your sanctuary from the rest of your living space. Pictures, art, colour selection, plants – make it a reflection of you. After all, you’re the boss!
A stand-sit or height adjustable desk has also been a trend in many offices and more companies are requesting them. There’s a debate on whether they actually do make people more productive, but Cohen says it can help with group work and communication when designed into an office space strategically.
We'd love to hear from you. Is your office PR perfect? Any additional tips to share?
Elissa Freeman is renown for her impactful approach to communications. Her reputation for reigniting the image and authoritative voice of her clients, or providing provocative sound bites on issues of the day, makes her the go-to expert of choice. Elissa is a frequent guest on the Global News Radio Network including weekly appearances on AM640’s top-rated John Oakley Show and CHML AM900’s Scott Thompson Show. She has also contributed to the National Post, Huffington Post, PR Daily and popular blogs across North America. You can find Elissa on LinkedIN.