Success can spawn from a selection of masteries including quality of service, degree of innovation, price, and communication skills. A magnitude of theses has been written on how to be successful in both large and small businesses, offering a bounty of advice, opinion, theory, approach and method.
For now let’s assume that success is a combination of profit, turnover and lifestyle and it can often arise from superior quality of service and product, innovation, communication, or price. The trick is being superior.
A study by Prof. Huggy Rao and Prof. Robert I. Sutton from Stanford University strongly encourages associating your hot cause (envisioned path of success) with all aspects of your environment. For example, getting dressed to go to work, even if you only work in your back room and having quality equipment and materials, reinforces quality in your environment and increases the quality of your output. Control of the environment around you, helps you to feel successful, reduces your stress and allows you to focus on the task at hand.
Recently I attended a Home Office Workshop aimed at improving our home office environment facilitated by Lisa Renn, from Body Warfare, who also happens to be a fantastic motivational speaker. The workshop featured four key speakers including Lisa Renn, Denise Childs from Systems for Order, Fran Gleeson (a Feng Shui’ expert) and Tania Bell from Green Room Interiors.
The workshop focused on improving home office productivity and becoming organised. Denise provided some fantastic tips to organise your office including simple insights like prioritising prime storage space, colour coding your files, efficient vertical stacking and work area and gradually work towards it. Denise, you will be happy to know that I have begun to deal with my clutter by enforcing a “throw 3 things out each day” policy and at day 5, it has been quite successful at reclaiming some pantry space.
A slight digression - I hear some people thinking – Pantry that is not home office! To them I say, how many people get distracted in the home office by the other household chores like dishes that are not done, or the washing. It is easy to procrastinate or think “I’ll just do x, y & z before I start work”. This is certainly me and my allocated work day turns from 7 hours to 4. Therefore, having a work-space that is conducive to organisation and efficiency includes the whole house and my pantry. A little at a time my environment will improve!
From the obvious aspects of your environment to more subtle ones, Feng Shui Fran provided some fantastic information on the more subtle things which can affect your Chi’(or energy). (Believe in it or not), I do believe that the points made will do more good than harm. For those that have some knowledge in Feng Shui please excuse my pedestrian interpretations.
What surprised me most about the presentation was how many of the tips and suggestions were consistent with other lessons I have learned in life. For example:
• Avoiding sharp edges and points in your environment as they become a barrier and deterrent for your Chi’. Rounded edges are softer and more pleasant to be around.
• Having some plants in your workspace promotes growth.
• Having clean windows helps your vision towards the future
• Making your bed is important in your start to the day.
You can see many examples of the general principals in the biggest of organisations and the micro home offices.
Image Courtesy of Insource Design
Personally, I think I could work in either space but I could never put it together.
The ability to combine the colours and textures to good effect is a skill I have never had (just take a look in my wardrobe – LOL) and given the budget I would hire an internal designer like Tania in a heart-beat.
Tania explained the importance of colour in a work-space as each colour tends to impact our mood and emotions. In the same way we associate red with alarms, heat and passion, we associate green with growth, money and success. These principals are applied in many scenarios for example – aged care facilities to help the residents by using calming and enticing colours in the walls and floors. McDonald’s red is supposed to encourage hunger. Politicians tend to wear blue as a professional and calming colour. In the work place looking for a happy and innovative atmosphere, yellow is a fantastic colour choice. These lessons apply just as equally in our home offices and business designs.
In addition, the ability to be innovative, which is a key factor of success, relies on having a flexible work environment.
Image Courtesy of Insource Design
A well designed work space is flexible and comfortable. Having a paperless office and laptop provides the portability to allow people to move around to collaborate and then find a quiet place when needed, improving productivity and work flexibility.
Along with improving your work environment, we also need to improve ourselves. Ron Friedman recently published an article in The Harvard Business Review entitled “Regular Exercise is part of your job”, listing some of the benefits of exercising before work as:
• Improved concentration
• Sharper memory
• Faster learning
• Prolonged mental stamina
• Enhanced creativity
• Lower stress
The benefits of exercising will increase your output quality, as will a good diet. Lisa challenged us to eat well and provided some valuable tips to make it easier. As you can imagine, eating right generally involves planning and making a meal for yourself at the beginning of the day. This one little step makes meals less rushed and easier to have when time required to break and eat doesn’t include 15 minutes preparation.
(I noticed that a green border around this picture was more appealing and healthy looking).
A small snack for example yoghurt and fruit between meals helps in maintaining a consistent energy level and to cope with hunger.
At the end of the session, I had a list of 10 small items which were free or low cost to implement which I felt would increase my ability to be productive and provide a quality service to my clients.
In a nut shell, large or small businesses can set up an environment to help them increase their personal organisation, quality and innovation ability by establishing an organised, comfortable and enticing place to work, and by exercising and eating well.
Just start something small as every step is a step in the right direction.