Tuesday, April 24, 2018
Business

How you decorate office sends a message

If you spend a lot of time at a desk, personalizing the space makes sense — whether it's a private corner office or a shared cubicle. But just as your clothes and body language make an impression on others, your workspace gives coworkers and clients a distinct impression about you. Plants, books, artwork — even your name plaque — transmit clues about your efficiency, sociability and competence, experts say. "Everything in your office sends a message, whether you want it to or not," says Lisa Marie Luccioni, an adjunct professor of communication at the University of Cincinnati. So what might they be thinking when they see your space?

You'd rather be fishing (or skiing or skydiving or building birdhouses)

Evidence: Pictures and artifacts from your hobby on every surface.

There's a delicate balance between sharing your interests and giving the impression that you're daydreaming all day about jumping out of planes or skiing, according to Barbara Pachter, business etiquette expert and the author of New Rules at Work. "Pictures of your hobby are good conversation starters, but if you have too many of them, it makes people wonder whether you're really daydreaming about fly-fishing," she says.

They can hang around

Evidence: A full candy dish, aspirin in the drawer, well-tended plants, pictures of children and babies.

"Things like an open door, candy, a comfortable guest chair and photos of people — but not pictures of objects — signal an extroverted workspace that people will feel free to linger in," says Sam Gosling, a professor of psychology at the University of Texas and author of Snoop: What Your Stuff Says About You.

They shouldn't hang around

Evidence: Flimsy guest chair, guest chair covered in files or no guest chair. Your desk faces away from guests. Minimal or no decoration.

"Even if your office has photos or artwork, but they're images of things and not people, [people] can make an assumption you're more introverted and might not want them to linger," Gosling says.

You demand respect

Evidence: Multiple degrees on the wall, awards on the shelf, pictures of you and important people, magazines featuring articles about you. The plaque on your desk says your full name and title and lists your advanced degrees.

"Name plaques form a strong impression," Luccioni says. "If it says just your first name, people assume you're friendly and approachable. If it has a formal title, they think you want to be respected for your rank."

You've just been hired, you've just been fired or you'd like to leave soon. Or you'd rather be temping.

Evidence: Files in boxes, no decorations, no books, no plants, no pictures and no name plaque.

They should avoid doing business with you

Evidence: Messy piles of papers on every surface. Half-eaten doughnuts atop teetering stacks of binders. Carpet stains.

Experts agree that a messy office can seriously damage your reputation as a conscientious person. "It's hard to function in a messy office, and people assume your office chaos will spill over to their project and their files will be lost in your mess," Pachter says.

Gosling pointed to research that shows people read much more than they should into a messy office. "People think that someone with a messy office is less agreeable, which may not be accurate," he says. "My guess is, people assume a mess is inconsiderate."

You don't take the whole "work thing" too seriously

Evidence: Humorous posters, ironic bumper stickers, whimsical images and toys.

Comments
Career Q&A: Disillusioned with grind of telecommute

Career Q&A: Disillusioned with grind of telecommute

Q: I have become very disillusioned with my telecommuting job. I accepted this position about a year ago because I liked the idea of working from home. However, I now have so many assignments that I can barely keep up. I was recently given a huge pro...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Pinellas County commits $41.7 million to Blue Jays Stadium

Pinellas County commits $41.7 million to Blue Jays Stadium

DUNEDIN — The Pinellas County Commission pulled the final trigger Tuesday on dedicating $41.7 million in bed taxes for upgrades to the Toronto Blue Jays’ stadium and spring training facilities, a pledge that amounts to covering more than half of the ...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Florida’s small businesses need more skilled workers, survey says

Florida’s small businesses need more skilled workers, survey says

Florida small business owners say their top concern is a lack of skilled workers, according to a recent survey by the Florida Chamber of Commerce. Workforce quality has been a recurring issue for small businesses, according to previous surveys. In th...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Marriott CEO: Our three-hotel bet at Water Street Tampa reflects how Tampa is evolving

Marriott CEO: Our three-hotel bet at Water Street Tampa reflects how Tampa is evolving

TAMPA — The world’s biggest hotel company already has 29 properties in the Tampa Bay area, but its CEO says a plan to put more than 1,400 rooms in three Marriott-branded hotels within a few blocks of each other says something about how Tampa is evolv...
Updated: 12 hours ago
Study ranks Florida No. 8 for most aggressive drivers

Study ranks Florida No. 8 for most aggressive drivers

If you’ve ever complained about other motorists on the road, you may have been justified. The Sunshine State ranked No. 8 on GasBuddy.com’s list of states with the most aggressive drivers."Our findings indicate that states with densely populated citi...
Updated: 12 hours ago
First curbside delivery, now Amazon leaves packages with no one in the car

First curbside delivery, now Amazon leaves packages with no one in the car

Amazon is taking the growing curb-side delivery trend a step further — now shoppers don’t even have to be inside their cars to get their items.The online retailer announced Tuesday it has begun delivering packages to newer cars with OnStar service in...
Updated: 12 hours ago
Ex-Yahoo paying $35M to settle SEC charges over 2014 hack

Ex-Yahoo paying $35M to settle SEC charges over 2014 hack

WASHINGTON — The company formerly known as Yahoo is paying a $35 million fine to resolve federal regulators’ charges that the online pioneer deceived investors by failing to disclose one of the biggest data breaches in internet history. The Securiti...
Published: 04/24/18
The ‘most interesting man in the world’ will be tending bar in Tampa on Friday

The ‘most interesting man in the world’ will be tending bar in Tampa on Friday

"Stay thirsty, my friends," the most interesting man in the world is coming to Tampa to tend bar on Friday. Jonathan Goldsmith, the face that launched a thousand memes, will be slinging cocktails at Tampa’s trendy Hall on Franklin, the food hall anno...
Published: 04/24/18
So far, Pasco’s tourism base: Floridians, Canadians

So far, Pasco’s tourism base: Floridians, Canadians

NEW PORT RICHEY – The typical tourist in Pasco County this year most likely is a Floridian.But there are lots of Canadians here as well. Nearly 80 percent drove, rather than flew, to the region. Forty percent stayed in hotels, but more than a quarter...
Published: 04/24/18
Girls hockey could replace boys lacrosse on Pasco tourism calendar

Girls hockey could replace boys lacrosse on Pasco tourism calendar

NEW PORT RICHEY – Hockey pucks could replace lacrosse balls as the required sports equipment for the holiday tourism season in Wesley Chapel.The Wickenheiser World Female Hockey Festival, founded by Canadian hockey player Hayley Wickenheiser, is seek...
Published: 04/24/18