I find office spaces interesting. The piles (or lack of piles), photos, and mementos share a glimpse of the personality of the people, work styles, and things individuals value.
A little more than a year ago, STFM revamped our headquarters office. In our 4,000 square-foot corner of the 5th floor of the AAFP building, STFM staff publishes the journal, plans our conferences, and runs the more than 40 initiatives of the Society. We wanted the space to be both inspiring, practical, and reflect the core values of STFM. We squeezed a lot from our lean redecorating budget and started by getting rid of stuff—old office furniture and unused items you collect over time that clutter the mind. That felt good.
Now when you walk in our offices, the first thing you’ll likely notice are five 8-foot color images of a stethoscope and lab coat, tree-lined arched path, a journal/smart phone, a circle of hands, and a capital building. These images depict the Society’s core priorities of workforce development, professional and leadership development, scholarship and innovation, professional relationships, and policy advocacy. They’ve added a splash of color and meaning to our space. This wall used to display all our past presidents’ photos. We took those down and put them in a nice scrapbook. Admittedly, they were interesting to see and are missed by some of our staff. At the same time, staff agreed that the message we want to communicate to one another and visitors is that we are here to serve and celebrate all our members, not just those who move to STFM’s highest ranks.
As part of the revamp, we took a storage area and interior office and created a conference room as a space to come together for meetings or just to build relationships by eating together at lunch or special occasions.
We painted several walls nutmeg (think nice burnt orange), which added warmth to our sterile walls. A little table and lamp provide an extra homey touch. Around the top of all our walls we have black and white framed and matted pictures. These are pictures staff provided of images that inspire them. The pictures show children and grandchildren, landscapes and beaches, and people and places that matter to each of us.
Staff selected a quote for the top of one wall that says, “You can’t discover new oceans unless you have the courage to lose sight of the shore.” This reminds us that taking risks is a necessary part of our business, and the success of the Society depends on it.
On two walls we created a montage of members, photos and conference locations. Highlighting another wall are images that spell out the letters STFM in photos, a thoughtful gift to staff from past President Terry Steyer.
My favorite part of our space is my office wall with member photos of individuals who have had an impact on my career with STFM. My favorite shot is a photo of Lucy Candib and Peter Coggan dancing on stage when Lucy accepted the 2010 F. Marian Bishop Award. That moment captured so much of what I love about STFM – the joy and celebration of our members who make a difference in the world every day.
That’s our story. Does your space reflect the values you want to communicate? Let us know; we’d like to share your story.