Take a look around your office right now. What do you see?
Chaos? Stacks of paper?
What do you do when a client (whose itinerary has been finalized for weeks) calls and asks if she can add a cooking class to her trip to Morocco? Are you rifling through folders, searching for your notes, her itinerary? Wondering what details and prices you had previously discussed with her?
They say a messy office is always a good sign. It shows that you’re busy, you have lots of work. This is true to a point, but in the end, it all contributes to unnecessary stress.
With summer travel in full swing, now’s probably not the time to think about an office makeover, but if things slow down at all, it’s worth calling a time’s out and hitting the reset button on your office workspace.
Here’s how to make it happen.
Start by purging. You really don’t need hard copies of all the itineraries you did 10 years ago, do you? And what about all those brochures and booklets? Perhaps they give you a feeling of comfort in the event someone calls and asks about something you can quickly flip to. Chances are, however, you won’t. Just about anything you need is a link away.
What about all the promotional pens, mouse pads, thumb drives and tchotchkes you have collected over the years? Give ‘em away. Get rid of ‘em.
Digitize as much as possible. Can’t part with hard copies? Take the time to scan and save. Get all your clients, all your suppliers and partners in your database. All those cards from the trade shows? How many years back do yours go? Did you know your main contact at the Bristol is now at the Peninsula in Hong Kong? Note to yourself: input these contact details immediately after returning from any show or sales event.
Revisit your office location. Is your home office in the family study? Your 25-year-old son’s old room? Look around. Do you see trophies from your husband’s tennis matches? Books from your children’s childhoods? Time to stake out a room that is yours and yours alone. Claim your space, if you haven’t already. If you can choose a room that has better light or maybe a view, try to make it work.
Design your office. Your office should be a reflection of you and how you think. At Farewell Travels, we pride ourselves on our innovative ideas, our expertise in designing and managing trips. We are hopelessly addicted to cutting-edge technology and we are drawn to anything sustainable and efficient. We are passionate about beautiful and simple, elegant design. And at the same time, we want work spaces that are optimized for ergonomic comfort. Every piece of furniture and every accessory in our offices has to reflect our sensibility. Mind you, this is not for everyone. If your tastes lean more towards big old-fashioned desks with thick leather chairs or simple Ikea pieces, go with it. If you like color, get it in there. Choose what makes you happy.
Keep it healthy. Fresh air, ergonomically correct furniture, smart lighting. These should all be top priorities in your workspace. Don’t ever compromise on these.
Walk away from it. Home offices…we love them and we hate them. We’re on call 24/7 because of them. While this might be a great selling point, it’s also an albatross. You have to be able to close the door on your office. The best way to do this is to leave your office when you’re done with the day’s work. Shut everything down, put everything away. Tomorrow’s another day. ζ
Susan Farewell is the owner of Farewell Travels LLC (FarewellTravels.com), a travel design firm based in Connecticut. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram @FarewellTravels.