The notion of the business woman is nothing new. History is studded with examples of trailblazing and pioneering women who conquered the arena of enterprise from Khadija (the first wife of the prophet Muhammad and a respected trader and business woman) to Elizabeth Arden. Yet every woman in the field of business today shares a common thread with these entrepreneurial game changers. They have all achieved success in an inherently patriarchal society. In an age where, despite a veneer of equality, many women still bang their heads against the glass ceiling and the world still sees a pay gap which could take 200 years to close, women need every opportunity at their disposal to empower themselves in the world of work. There are a great many ways in which they can do this, of course, but here we’ll look at something that most women in positions of power have yet few use to their full advantage… Their office.
Your office should be a statement that helps to define your entrepreneurial personality. Get it right and you can feel empowered every day while garnering the respect and admiration of your workforce. Get it wrong and it can undermine you in damaging ways.
Show your class with glass
As a boss or CEO one of the finest lines you walk is in creating a business persona that is formidable and to be respected while still remaining approachable, accessible and warm. An office encased in glass by Capitol Glass is a great way to do this. A glass wall says “I have nothing to hide from you” while also creating a barrier which says “I have a lot to do so please respect my personal space”.
Do you desk?
Some people appreciate the sense of status that a desk provides, while others consider it an impediment to interaction with their employees. There’s no denying that a desk can be useful. It can be used to contain all of your essentials, and you can decorate it with personal accoutrements and pictures of your loved ones to enable your employees to see a glimpse of the real you beneath the professional veneer. It’s all about how you use the space. If you use it as a barricade with your employees on the other side this could be considered adversarial, yet wheel your chair around to the side and it becomes much more collaborative. Having a desk is neither right or wrong but how you use it can speak volumes. Just be wary of keeping your desk buried under an avalanche of paperwork. This can imply a disorganized mind (even if you have your own highly idiosyncratic “system”) and potentially undermine your authority.
What do your walls say about you?
Many entrepreneurs decorate their office walls with plaques, certificates and photos of themselves at important events. This is great for reminding yourself of your accomplishments and conducive to helping you to feel empowered… just don’t overdo it. If every inch of wall space is plastered with certificates and tokens of achievement, it may come off as being needlessly grandiose to your employees. Try to balance evidence of your own achievements with evidence of the business’ achievements. This will afford your employees a sense of ownership and participation in your success without compromising your own achievement.
*This is a contributed post