Like a boss. Feeling squeezed at work? It’s not your imagination. The average office space has shrunk to just 150 square feet—down from 225 in 201...
Feeling squeezed at work? It’s not your imagination. The average office space has shrunk to just 150 square feet—down from 225 in 2010, according to a new study from corporate real estate firm CoreNet Global. That already measly average will plummet to 100 sq. ft. in then next 5 years, CoreNet predicts.
If a corner office isn’t in the cards yet, you can maximize the space you have—and give the impression of more room—with a few simple adjustments:
1. Lighten up. Wall colors like white or pale gray make rooms feel larger than darker shades, says Alan Hedge, Ph.D., a professor of design and environmental analysis at Cornell. And directing natural or artificial light onto all four walls of your office—not just your desk or the center of the room—reduces the space-shrinking effect of shadow, explains Vanessa Okken, of the University of Twente in the Netherlands. But if you’re not allowed to paint and you don’t have a window, dropping a few bucks on a light box could help you brighten your space and improve your health.
2. Free your chair. Position your seat so that you can swivel and slide without bumping into things, and your office will feel more spacious, explains Sara W. Värlander, Ph.D., of Stanford’s Center for Work, Technology, and Organization.
3. Be transparent. Replace solid furniture with see-through, mesh-style chairs, which give the impression of more room, Hedge explains. Also, any sightlines you can give yourself onto larger spaces—raising window blinds so you can see outside, or opening a door onto a larger work area—enlarges the feel of your office, he adds.
4. Minimize clutter. The more floor and desk space you leave free, the larger your office will feel, Okken says. Opt for one tall bookcase or file cabinet instead of two shorter ones, and try to banish any surface area-occupying clutter, she advises.
5. Turn your office into an art gallery. Hanging a scenic painting or landscape photograph on one wall can fool your peripheral vision into thinking your office looks out onto a grand vista, Okken says. Mirrors also give the impression of more space. Just make sure they don’t reflect glare toward your face or onto your computer, which can subtly distract and annoy you, Hedge adds.
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