Most full-time employees spend more of their waking hours at work than at home, and it's natural that they'll want a work space that reflects their own personalities. But is that practical?
The answer is yes--if it's done in moderation. "If employees work in an area where they feel comfortable, they'll be more productive," says B.J. Miller, owner of Visions Design Group in Johnson City, Tennessee, and the national spokesperson for the American Soci-ety of Interior Designers. "But personalization of work areas is hard to control."
Miller believes excessive amounts of personal items--including desk toys, knickknacks, pictures and plants--can create clutter that hinders productivity, distracts other workers and has a negative impact on your company's image. "There are other ways to make a person comfortable in their work space that allow everyone around them to be comfortable, too," she says. Some suggestions:
- Provide customizable screen-saver programs for computers to display personal photographs. They not only clear the picture frames from desks but are also fairly easy to change.
- Decide on a style for office artwork, but allow employees to select the specific posters or prints to be used in their areas. "It allows choice yet provides continuity," says Miller.
- Set clear policies, and apply them uniformly. A good time to create a policy is when you're moving or redecorating, Miller says. But you may want to write something into your employee manual sooner to avoid problems you may have in the meantime.
Jacquelyn Lynn left the corporate world more than 12 years ago and has been writing about business and management from her home office in Winter Park, Florida, ever since.