As a consultant, I work in many different places. The one thing all of my clients have in common is that they presented me with an unadorned, vanilla cube or table at which to work.
Since I need to have my creature comforts around me in order to be at my best (and to remind me, during difficult clients, why I work, I put together a list of things that I do to improve my cube space.
The advantage to all of these upgrades are that they are low-cost and easy to transport. They are also temporary solutions, leaving no damage to my client’s facilities.
I keep a small bulletin board with me. It can hang up with 3M Command Hooks (aff) or bent paper clips, depending on what I have around me. On it I keep a few funny comics, some artwork from my daughter and a picture of my family.
While most places I have worked have had adequate light, I prefer to have a small desk lamp available for a warmer tone of light than fluorescent provides. I picked up this light (product no longer available 11/5/2009) for a small amount of money at IKEA. I normally don’t use halogen lamps because of the heat, but I have used this one as a hand/foot warmer at a couple of clients.
Most people who spend their days typing have some form of back problems, and I am no exception. Mine are exacerbated by the habits of sitting curled up or crossing my legs. My lumbar support cushion reminds me to lean back, straighten my shoulders, and keep my posture upright. I bought mine at my doctor’s office, but many of my co-workers have gotten theirs at local department stores ( Bankers Box High-Profile Backrest with Soft Brushed Cover).
Besides providing a bit of color, plants can also filter out contaminants in the air . I have two plants at my desk: a spider plant and an African violet.
I like being able to look up and see a month at a time. While my current client provided a 15-month calendar on a page, I brought in a calendar with nice landscape pictures. It’s currently hanging on a cubicle clips
(aff), but it can also hang with a Command hook. On my calendar, I put stickers to indicate certain items in my personal life: payday, the days the shopper delivers groceries (as a reminder to leave work on time) and immediate family birthdays. I also write out in words when I will be out of the office so that my co-workers, walking by, can see where I am.
My office supplies
One of the first lessons I learned as a consultant is that we are rarely given office supplies. I have a small pouch that goes with me everywhere containing highlighters, a pencil, eraser, pen, staple remover and small stapler. These are the ones I prefer (and as a left-handed person, I tend to be picky), and are generally in colors that no self-respecting man would “borrow” (90% of the people I work with are male).
While some of my clients have on-site vending machines, I have found that this is a bad thing for me. I keep a gallon-sized zipper bag stocked with healthier treats: granola bars, nuts, dried fruit, and a few pouches of hot cocoa.
Picture holder/supply drawer
This photo holder has two slots for photos and three drawers to hold supplies. I keep sticky notes in one drawer, paper clips in another, and my business cards in the third.
Customizable mouse pad
This mouse pad was given to me as a gift, but it has been useful. You can customize what the mouse pad is by changing out the paper under the top cover.
This may seem like an odd item, but my current client does not provide a way to hang up coats. Rather than draping a full trench coat over my chair, I carry a Command hook to hang it on.