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5 Things to Consider While Furnishing your Office

5 Things to Consider While Furnishing your Office
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Like it or not, people will judge you by the appearance of your office. Whether you want to convince your clients to do business with you or if you wish to hire excellent employees, the state of your office plays an important role. The décor must be appealing, elegant and stylish for clients to believe in you.

Furnishing your office will take astute planning and a considerable amount of your time and money. Your office is not just a bunch of furniture, stationary and other things kept together. It is your home away from home. It is your companion on a journey towards your goal. You will probably spend more time at your office than at your home. And it’s not just yourself you have to take care of. Your employees become your responsibility and it is your duty to provide them a motivating ambiance.

Here are 5 things you should keep in mind while furnishing your office.

1. Get comfortable furniture

Let’s start with the essentials: desks and chairs. There is absolutely no doubt that desks and chairs are the most used pieces of furniture in any office. People spend most of their working hours sitting on chairs poring over some problem or simply handling the paperwork on their desks. It is. therefore. imperative to make sure you have comfortable desks and chairs that are nice to your body.

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Desks need to be big enough to hold computers, files and other necessary office items as well as personal items of the people using it. The desks should be of appropriate heights which depends upon the height of the person doing work as well as the nature of work the person is doing.

Chairs should be properly cushioned with proper backrest and armrest. Adjustable chairs that allow you to alter their height, tilt and recline are very useful as they can be easily modified according to users’ needs.

Uncomfortable desks and chairs can have severe effects on your health and induce long-term pains in your back, neck, arms and legs. Therefore, getting comfortable and cozy furniture should be a top priority for you.

2. Quality over price

As long as your business stays you will need your office. And you will want your business to run forever. So make sure you get good quality furniture that lasts long even if it costs you more. You will notice a substantial price difference between poor and better-quality items. But the cheaper goods usually come with a lot of risks– the legs on chairs break, desks become wobbly and the file cabinets fall apart. Simply put, they do not last long.

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Make sure to buy items that are made for heavy-duty use – Desks and chairs that last long, file cabinets that can actually hold files without breaking down and that survive for years.

If your budget is an issue then, search for good quality used furniture than buying cheap, new, lowly items. Buying expensive, durable furniture may seem an unnecessary financial burden at first, but it makes more economic sense in the long run.

3. Add a personal touch

A stylish office with a beautiful décor can send a strong positive message about your business to your clients giving you an advantage. But to truly capture a client’s interest, you should give a glimpse of what you and your business are all about.

Your office should be an extension of your personality. It should reflect your values; its décor should accentuate things that you believe. Paint your walls with bright, vibrant colors to give a sense of welcome. Hang portraits of people you admire. Buy and put artifacts that you love. Personalizing your office not only makes it unique from so many others but also helps you communicate a lot about what is important to you.

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Investing your hard-earned money, time and effort to make sure your office has a unique (and of course spectacular!) look is, therefore, very important.

4. Strive to create a serene environment

If you want to your employees to work peacefully, it is your job to create a calm environment. The ambiance around your office can have a great impact on you and other people working there.

There is no way you can have a productive session with clutter, commotion and bad lighting disturbing you into frustration. Offices should be designed so that most part, if not all, can receive natural lighting. If there is not enough natural lighting, artificial lighting with appropriate brightness should be available. A well-formed plan to manage huge piles of paper that are collected must be put in practice.

Keeping plants in office space can do wonders to keep a tranquil work environment. Plants can add beauty to the environment, reduce noise and stress among other things.

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5. Invest to keep things fun

Gone are the days when work and play were considered opposites. There has been a shift in the way people think about work – to be productive in work you need to be having fun.

Human beings quickly get bored with monotonous tasks and need a break from time to time. Making workplace fun not only motivates people to work harder and faster, it also makes them more happy and stress-free.

Workplaces in big corporations today have different facilities including gyms and spa to pamper their staffs. However, these facilities are not feasible for all. Making smaller but effective facilities like ping-pong tables, pool tables or massage chairs available can help people blow some steam off.

Furnishing your office is not just about buying furniture and filling up space. It is about creating an elegant appearance and a lively, vibrant ambiance. You together with the furniture you buy, the color you use on your walls, the art and photos you hang, the plants you keep and the employees that work for you build an entity that embodies your principles.

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Featured photo credit: Pixabay via pixabay.com

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Co-Founder, Siplikan Media Group

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Published on July 27, 2021

15 Smart Video Conferencing Etiquette Tips to Follow

15 Smart Video Conferencing Etiquette Tips to Follow
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During the pandemic, video conferencing replaced in-person meetings and has now become the standard option for business meetings. Over the past 17 months, most workers have gotten past the video conferencing learning curve with Zoom or Microsoft Teams (or their platform of choice).

But just as with in-person meetings, attention can wax and wane. Some say we’re just not used to staring at ourselves so much on the screen. Instead of fixating on that, try employing smart video conferencing etiquette, or you may risk indiscretions that will flag you as a slacker.

Put the Pro in Professional

After more than a year of fine-tuning, here are the new rules of video conferencing etiquette.

1. Mute Your Mobile and Other Devices

The first video conference etiquette you need to know is muting your other devices. Just as in the pre-COVID days, someone’s obnoxious ring tone blaring Taylor Swift’s newest single in the middle of a meeting is also an annoyance if it happens during a Zoom meeting and so is the inevitable fumbling to turn off the sound. Even the apologies to the group get tiresome.

Also, when notifications are activated on the computer that you’re using for the meeting, the incoming message takes over the audio and you’ll miss out on snippets of the conversation. Be sure to eliminate this possible faux pas.

2. Dress the Part

While working from home, you may have fallen into the habit of slipping on your comfiest T-shirt each day. Hey, no judgments! But before you log on to your video conference, try to make an effort with your appearance.

Depending on your company culture and the importance of your meeting, consider dressing the part of the professional whom you wish to project. It will help you feel more self-assured, and others will likely take you more seriously.

For women, wear light make-up, put on earrings, and make sure your blouse is crisply pressed. For men, show up freshly shaved. Wearing a crisp collared shirt in a solid color will usually suffice.

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Pro Tip: Stay away from wearing white or black, unless those colors look great on you. Consider wearing light blue or brown instead.

3. Stage Your Workspace

Have you noticed the backdrops of experts interviewed on news shows? Bookshelves and photographs are carefully curated, and no busy-patterned furniture or artwork is in sight.

Take note of what appears behind you when you choose the location of your video conferences. Piles of junk mail on the table or stacks of folded laundry on the couch will convey more about your personal life than you care to share. Make sure you remove clutter from the camera’s eye, and present a tidy, orderly workspace to your colleagues, coworkers, and bosses.

4. Put Some Thought Into Lighting and Perspective

Be aware that in a video conference, your computer camera can actually make you look up to ten pounds heavier depending on where you sit. But you can easily drop those added pounds by moving back from the screen to diminish the wide-angle distortion.

Frame your head on the screen by tilting the screen up or down. Also, it’s best to not place yourself in front of a window or bright light, which makes you appear in shadow. Instead, face the light source, moving it (or yourself) until you have a flattering amount of illumination. You can also purchase some small spotlights that allow you to add light as needed.

Pro Tip: If your lights add too much redness to your skin, consider counter-balancing with a green filter.

Remember That Half of Life Is Showing Up

5. Arrive on Time

In the old days of in-person meetings, it was nearly impossible to slip in late into a meeting unnoticed. In today’s video conferences, logging in late still shows poor form. Instead, strive to arrive five minutes early and get yourself settled.

Once the meeting is underway, the host may be less attentive about late arrivals waiting to be let in. Diverting the host’s attention away from the meeting with a tardy entry request is the ultimate giveaway that you didn’t honor the schedule. If you don’t want a black mark against you, log in on time.

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6. Turn on Your Video

Few people like to see their face on the screen, but buck up and turn on your camera in video conferences. In most cases, it’s better to be a face on a screen than a name in a blank square. Your statements will be more memorable when other meeting attendees can see you.

If you need to turn off the video, either because of a poor connection, some commotion in the room, or a need for a quick break, give a short explanation via the chat feature. Then, go back on video as soon as you’re able.

Pro Tip: Keep your explanation for your departure pithy. “Sorry! Doorbell rang. Back in five” says it all. Be sure to honor what you say in chat and really do return in five minutes.

7. Plan Ahead Before Sharing Your Screen

Don’t be one of those people who makes everyone else wait as you click through folders in search of a document. That’s just poor video conferencing etiquette. If you know you’ll need to share a document or video on your screen, prepare by pulling it out of its folder and onto your desktop. Also, clean up the files and folders on your desktop to reduce clutter and facilitate easy access. Close other programs like chat, calendar notifications, and email. Disable pop-up notifications to ensure there’ll be no unforeseen distractions.

Be sure to remind the host before the meeting that you’ll need them to activate the screen-sharing function. Show courtesy once you’re finished by hitting “stop share” to return to the screen with participants.

Attend to the Pesky Details

8. Make Sure That Meetings Remain Right-Sized

With the easy accessibility of video conferencing, it can be tempting to extend the meeting invitation beyond the core group and include everyone peripherally involved in a project. But just as with in-person meetings, the more people involved, the more unwieldy the meeting becomes.

Use good judgment when asking others to sit through a video conference so that you don’t needlessly take up others’ time and so that participants can be fully engaged.

9. Remember to “Unmute” Before You Speak

Most of us are likely able to count on one hand the number of video conferences when someone didn’t have to be reminded, “You’re on mute!” Forgetting to unmute before speaking has become one of the most common missteps in video conferencing.[1]

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Show everyone your impeccable video-conferencing poise by managing your mute feature with flawless control.

10. Stay on Point to Keep the Meeting Length in Check

As with in-person meetings, an agenda with assigned time limits for discussions remains necessary to keep a meeting focused. Data shows, however, that video conferencing can actually reduce meeting time.[2] Reasons include the elimination of commuting time and the ability to screen share and annotate to keep everyone on task.

Additionally, side conversations are virtually impossible with video conferencing now that you can no longer have back-and-forth exchanges with the person beside you.

Pro Tip: If you’re running the meeting, let attendees know in advance the protocol for the chat feature. Is it okay for them to “chat among themselves” or not? (See point 11, as well.)

Talking Has a Time and a Place

11. Chat Appropriately

Just like side conversations or texting in an in-person meeting, the use of the chat feature during a video conference can be disrespectful unless it’s directed to all participants. Hence, it’s good video conferencing etiquette to mind your use of the chat.

At the start of the meeting, you may want to ask the host if it’s alright for participants to use the chat feature. This allows them to disable it if they choose. Used appropriately, it can be a helpful tool to clarify or amplify an earlier point once the conversation has moved on or to let the group know that you need to sign off early (and why).

12. Use the “Raise Hand” Feature to Avoid Interruptions

The slight lag in many video conferences can result in speaking over another person if you attempt to jump into a conversation. To avoid this awkward interruption, indicate when you have something to add to the discussion with the raise-your-hand feature that signals the host you would like to speak. This effective meeting management device makes video conferencing run more smoothly, especially with a large group, but it must be activated and monitored by the host.

Pro Tip: For meetings of six to ten people, sometimes the old-fashioned raising of your physical hand may be the best option. But it’s up to the meeting host. Ask them what they would prefer, and follow that.

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13. Don’t Record the Session or Take Photos Without Prior Permission

In this case, not sharing is caring. The “sharing culture” made popular through social media has little place in video conferencing. Before recording a meeting or capturing a screenshot of the participants, always ask for consent in advance from the full roster of attendees. Knowing that a video conference will be photographed or recorded could have a bearing on what others are willing to discuss.

Manage Yourself

14. Minimize Distractions

While de-activating audio and video features can keep distractions from affecting the other participants, you will need to manage noise and disruptions on your end to give your full attention to the meeting.

Move out of high-traffic zones in your home, keep your door closed, and ask family members to be considerate.

15. Save Snacking for Later

Save snacking for later—or earlier. Eating while on video conference is a no-no. Munching in front of the group while close to the camera—as you are when video conferencing—subjects the participants to an up-close and (too) personal view of your food consumption process.

However, it’s perfectly fine to sip quietly from a glass of water or cup of coffee or tea. If the meeting threatens to last for more than two hours, you may want to ask the host in advance to schedule a five-minute break at the halfway point.

Final Thoughts

Even though bosses are now beginning to ask workers to spend some of their workdays on-site, up to 80 percent will permit employees to work remotely at least part of the time, which means more video conferencing in your future.[3] Mastering these video conferencing etiquette tips will help you dial in—as well as dial back—your participation and demonstrate your unwavering level of engagement to the team.

Featured photo credit: Chris Montgomery via unsplash.com

Reference

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