Escape Cubicle Despair: Chic Décor for Your Office Cell
It is not easy being an employee -- especially when the majority of employee's days are confined within the drab synthetic walls of their oppressively teensy cubicle. Muted colours and artificial fabrics -- while they are conducive to a professional atmosphere – can inadvertently and subconsciously mute the vitality and creativity of workers. That is why it is very important for business owners to encourage staff to embrace their cubicles as three walled canvases ripe for personal expression.
Kelley Moore is the author of Cube Chic: Take Your Office Space from Drab to Fab! The style guru has plenty of insight into the importance of fabulous office environments, “You spend more time in your cubicle than you do at home. If you design your space in a creative way that inspires you, it will inspire you to be more productive,” she writes.
With forty-plus hour work weeks, Moore is definitely on to something. Take for instance real life worker Adam Ryan, who is the Editor-and-Chief of Supply Chain Digital magazine. While Ryan has an important and fancy job, his glamorous lifestyle does not escape the monotonous drone of full-time cubicle confinement. Ryan explains the morose nature of his workspace reality, “Cubicles can be a pretty demoralizing place to spend eight hours of your life every day. And staring at the glare of a computer screen sure doesn't help.”
However, Ryan has applied his stylistic insight, and nostalgic love of tradition, to transform his would be despair into a workspace wonderland, “[In my cubicle] I like to surround myself with things that remind me I'm a human being - like a few treasured old books, and a flower, and a picture of my beautiful wife. Makes the day go by faster," he optimistically informs us.
While Ryan’s cubicle adjustments are simple, they are nonetheless weighty, as they create the illusion that he is working at home, surrounded by his cherished companions and possessions. It is this cosy, homey feeling that makes employees comfortable enough to really apply their creativity. This increase in creativity can only benefit your business, as you can get more bang for your buck when employees feel creatively inspired.
However, some workers need a bigger dose of style to combat their workman fatigue. For the escapist worker, Dreamcubicle.com offers cubicle wallpaper made to look like outlandishly exotic scenes including a Hawaiian vacation, an underwater aquarium, and outer space.
The materially ambitious employee may desire working in the lap of luxury, especially between the hours of nine to five. In such case, follow the lead of famed cubicle owner Jared Nielsen’s executive cubicle. Outfitted with a cherry hardwood floor, red mahogany luxury paneling, a carved desk, and a plush office chair, Nielsen’s cubicle evokes the prestige of Thorngrove Manor, all in a ten by ten office space.
Here are some quick advice tips for those looking for immediate improvement enhanced to the third power:
1. Colour your walls. Brightly coloured fabric or cardboard is cheap, and brightens the severity of your small space.
2. Plantify. Incorporate plants, or like Ryan, a fresh flower, to add some living vibrancy to your space.
3. Recarpet. Not the whole building. However, a throw rug can add a soft dimension that can be very soothing come deadline crunch time.
4. Have a theme. An identifiable theme can keep your mind focused, and won’t distract from your neighbor's work flow.
5. Be considerate. Flashing disco balls and blinding aluminum may look epic, but HR won’t look kindly on inflicting your fellow co-workers with migraines or epileptic seizures.
Cheers! Best of luck, and happy cubing!
Business Chief Legend: Ho Ching, CEO of Temasek
Ask Singaporeans who Ho Ching is, and the majority will answer the ‘wife of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’. And that’s certainly true. However, she’s also the CEO of Temasek Holdings, Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund, and one of the world’s largest investment companies.
Well, she is until October 1, 2021, as she recently announced she would be retiring following 16 years as CEO of the investment giant.
Since taking the reins in 2004, two years after joining Temasek as Executive Director, Ho has gradually transformed what was an investment firm wholly owned by Singapore’s Government into an active investor worldwide, splashing out on sectors like life sciences and tech, expanding its physical footprint with 11 offices worldwide (from London to Mumbai to San Francisco) and delivering growth of US$120 billion between 2010-2020.
Described by Temasek chairman Lim Boon Heng as having taken “bold steps to open new pathways in finding the character of the organisations”, Ho is credited with building Temasek’s international portfolio, with China recently surpassing Singapore for the first time.
As global a footprint as Ho may have however, she has her feet firmly planted on Singapore soil and is committed to this tiny city-state where she was not only educated (excluding a year at Stanford) but has remained throughout her long and illustrious career – first as an engineer at the Ministry of Defence in 1976, where she met her husband, and most notably as CEO of Singapore Technologies, where she spent a decade, and where she is credited with repositioning and growing the group into the largest listed defence engineering company in Asia.
It’s little wonder Ho has featured on Forbes’ annual World’s Most Powerful Women list for the past 16 years, in 2007 as the third most powerful woman in business outside the US, and in 2020 at #30 worldwide.
But it’s not all business. Ho has a strong track record in Singapore public service, serving as chairman of the Singapore Institute of Standards and Industrial Research and as deputy chairman of the Economic Development Board; and is a committed philanthropist with a focus on learning difficulties and healthcare.
As the pandemic kicked off, she not only led active investments in technology and life sciences, with German COVID-19 vaccine developer BioNTech among the most recent additions to Temasek’s portfolio, but through the Temasek Foundation – the firm’s philanthropic arm which supports vulnerable groups close to Ho’s heart, handed out hand sanitiser and face masks.
So, you would be forgiven for thinking that at age 68, Ho might simply relax. But in March 2021, just as she announced her retirement from Temasek, Ho joined the Board of Directors of Wellcome Leap, a US-based non-profit organisation that’s dedicated to accelerating innovations in global health. Not ready to put her firmly grounded feet up yet it seems.