The average person spends approximately 160 hours per month in some form of a workplace, and most of this time is spent in the dreaded cubicle. The bottom line is, many of us spend quite a bit of time in an office space, and more specifically, sitting or standing at a workstation. Simply being comfortable with the technology available and the ergonomic set up of an office may not be enough in terms of employee comfort, security, and engagement – so, why not encourage your employees to tailor their space to suit their personal needs and preferences?
There are, of course, a few standards that employees will need to consider when adding a touch of personal flare to their work spaces. Not only should employees be making positive contributions and working hard to achieve organizational performance objectives, it is also important to foster both individual expression and relationships with colleagues. Does your workplace have a policy in place for office aesthetics and what’s appropriate in individual work spaces? If not, this may be something to consider. By giving your employees the discretion to spice up their space while providing clarification of your guidelines and expectations, you will be able to create a win/win.
Here are 4 guidelines to keep in mind:
1. Let Them Get Creative: There are countless unique ways employees can personalize their desk space to truly make it their own. With so many options available, give them the freedom to get creative and to choose items that will lift their spirits and energize them throughout the day. Consider suggesting something that reminds them of home such as family photos, something that relaxes them, and something that helps them maintain their focus throughout the busy day.
2. The Importance of Being Considerate: It is important to remind your employees that they may be in a shared space, and that they will need to be mindful of others around them as their colleagues will likely be able to see what they’ve decided to add to their space. Being mindful not to display any unpleasant items, whether it be too aromatic, unintentionally insulting or graphic, it is important to ensure the workplace stays inclusive for everyone.
3. Keep Clutter to a Minimum: Few people thrive in a disheveled work space – well, maybe some do, but that’s not the norm, so it is important to set boundaries. Although you want your employees to have the ability to personalize their space to their own taste, it is important to highlight that personal items should not hinder the team’s ability to do what they’re really in the office to do – work! The items your employees have augmented their space with should add to, not overwhelm, the work environment, and should not present a safety hazard in any way.
4. Get Back to Nature: Studies prove there are benefits to having plants in your office. Live plants aren’t just aesthetically pleasing, they also have psychological benefits for employees. Plants in the workplace can reduce stress, provide a lift to staff spirits, and contribute to the promotion of well-being and performance. In fact, a study conducted in 2010 recorded significant reductions in tension, anxiety, depression, anger and fatigue with the introduction of plants in the office. When considering a work space revamp, try including some live greenery, and see the positive impact is has on your team.
Consider the impact personalized work spaces could have on your team’s attitude, enjoyment and productivity during the day, and give it a try!
Your Engaged HR Assignment: Going that extra mile by encouraging a more human-centered work space could help your employees do their best work. So, how can you help your employees introduce a more personalized approach to their work environment? More importantly, what does your organization do to encourage employees to bring their whole selves to work, and what guidelines have you set? Any questions, we can help!