17 Renovation Ideas So Your Work Space Says Your Smart Not Sad

Who isn’t at least the teeniest obsessed with My Boy Donny? What a wonder democracy is. We get to see how the sanctum most inner of the American Presidential work space, known as the Oval Office, is now renovated.

I was hoping he’d happily follow his penchant for what style guru Peter York gleefully labels Dictator Chic.

Sadly, perhaps with the female members of his family in charge, this has not emerged. Although gold does feature prominently. On lamps, curtains, upholstery and statement rug.

Media commentators anguish over what replacements-stroke-ripouts of the Obama years might mean. Swapping the MLK bust back for Churchill. A mid-repair Lady Liberty picture becomes a portrait of a 19th Century populist predecessor. A pair of flags multiply into at least ten.

Whilst hoping for hygge-infused sushi’d minimalism with an ikea flourish may not quite be the ticket either, this 17-day re-fit does hold Sales relevance.

We too need a productive place to spend most of our modern-day nine-to-five. As well as providing the right vibe when hosting those we hope will fund it.

Scurrying the corporate hamster wheel, we may not get much scope for personalisation. Neither meeting rooms nor cubicles have changed much in the thirty years I’ve known them.

So what can (must) we do?

In the spirit of the days this project took, here’s seventeen little ideas for ensuring your space avoids the soulless replication of the standard and turn it into a ever greater selling den. Starting with what you should get rid of;

  • take down posters put up by Marketing, HR or Corporate Affairs and discard glossies from any external ‘motivation’ firm
  • eschew all departmental scoreboards, although you may have a malleable version of your own personal forecast provided it is not the same as you submit to management, ie; it focuses on progress set against process
  • give away that tie you kept hanging in the office ‘for emergencies’
  • be brutal, channel your inner sales samurai/ninja and embrace extreme Japanese sentiment de-cluttering; take home loved ones portraiture, toddler daubings and team ‘prize’ certificates (a daubing may be acceptable if it’s an attempt to portray mummy’s/daddy’s product with accompanying happy smiling people around/using it)
  • remove presence of brands wherever possible (note one possible exception might – just might – be if included as what success will enable in a visionboard/dreamboard style perhaps)
  • bin any comedy accessory in the mould of a ‘you don’t have to be mad to work here, but it helps’ mug, stress relieving “executive toy”, mask, permanently in place festive christmas tinsel or picture of anyone resembling a ‘celebrity’
  • ideally, try keeping artefacts to a minimum (although I once had an african thumb piano on my desk to remind me of Cape Town) but you can aim for at least one treasured client’s product on view, preferably in physical, even miniature, form

…moving on to what should be on show;

  • process reminders – undoubtedly the most important
  • maps of deals
  • organagrams of prospect influence
  • winning bid timelines
  • deal-clinching slides
  • card-mounted at least A3 (US: tabloid/ledger) printouts of killer graphs and dataviz wizardry
  • key words you must use liberally in phone calls (especially the key problem you resolve and how to initially pitch)
  • client testimonial that is NOT a cheesy corporate comms sanitised nonsense striped of any real meaning
  • photo-collage of client (or their client) interior/plant where you’ve made big impact
  • logos of your prospects/customers – possibly with their key strategic strapline attached (as stated by the ceo or from their annual report)

Alternatively, you could always have absolutely nothing whatsoever on display at all. Only perhaps a phone. But this is a devilishly tricky feat to pull off.


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