A person’s desk is their domain. It can be a metaphor for their work style and personality and the place where they feel most productive of and in control of their work. A desk should be ergonomic, but beyond that, it should be facilitating of the daily needs of a legal support professional.
That’s where you come in. Because how well your desk works for you is (largely) up to you!
The value of a workspace
Take some time to notice what you like about your desk. Is the view from your window a good one? Does the wood surface feel just right on your arms?
Now think about what doesn’t work as well for you. Is it a little too messy, or a little too bare? Does it reflect you, personally?
A study from the Journal of Environmental Psychology discovered that there are psychological benefits to being able to personalize your workspace. This can be particularly true if you are working in an open office space, or in a cubicle.
Here’s a list of the top things that you may want to consider adding to your desk or surrounding office space to make it work better for you.
Keep a list of the numbers for the courts that you most frequently file in. You’ll be grateful for this list the next time you need to ask a clerk about a rejection or get the latest court hours. Is your county about to start eFiling? Check to see if there’s a unique number for the eFiling clerks.
The benefits of having a plant at or near your desk include an increase to your productivity and reduced stress. With a ratio of just one office plant per three employees, the air quality within an office can also be improved.
Eliminate the paper clutter and missing pens with a desktop organizer that clearly designates which papers have been done and which are still to-do.
While natural light is best, insufficient lighting is a surefire way to kill productivity. Find a lamp that sheds light on your work while adding personalization to your space.
Checklists and cheatsheets
Who doesn’t love easy reminders and quick shortcuts right where you can see them? Print out and hang up the document formatting checklist for your state and the keyboard shortcut cheatsheet, created by One Legal just for you.
A favorite water bottle
We all know how much water we should be drinking, yet that rarely means we actually consume enough. In the stuffy confines of an office, this can be especially concerning. Have your reusable water bottle handy as a simple motivator and reminder.
A way to take notes
A co-worker walks by your desk with a message; a phone call left you with a forwarding number; you need to record a thought before anything else interrupts you. A notepad, stack of sticky notes, or hanging whiteboard are essential for keeping track of thoughts and important information.
A headset or headphones
Whether you’re frequently on the phone talking with clients or colleagues, or you like to have a stream of the Top 40 in the background throughout the day, a pair of quality headphones or a headset can be essential.
Who doesn’t like having a stack of books tucked at the end of your desk? Have a style guide ready to whip out, or a thesaurus when you need more words for ‘egregious’. Bill Gates has a long list of recommended books. Don’t forget One Legal’s summer reading list—they’re good all year round!
There are the must-haves, and then there are the nice-to-haves. Consider brightening up your space with these fun items:
- An hourglass—forget about keeping time with obnoxious alarms
- A charging station for phones and Bluetooth devices
- Portable heaters or fans—depending on your office’s temperature
- Staple-less staplers
The ergonomics of setting up your desk
There are articles galore discussing the best ways to set up your desk, but there are a few good rules of thumb that you should know to help yourself from the beginning.
A great way to start is by using the PLACE system:
Purge unnecessary items
Group Like items together
Position according to your Access needs
Contain loose items
Evaluate how well your current system is working
Which items are musts for your desk? How do you personalize your workspace to reflect your personal and professional self? What items would you add to a list for things to be found on a legal professional’s desk?