Do you have a workspace designed especially for you? How do you go about in making it easily identifiable as yours? Is it as generic as other workstations in your office? The decoration of your workspace depends on a number of things, with the type of work and the amount of customer interaction conducted there being some of the most important. These factors come into play in the decoration of individual spaces, including cubicles.
You don’t have to hire an interior decoration expert if your cubicle will involve a small space and will just be your work station. However, it is entirely a different matter when you receive people from time to time or conduct business meetings and small closed door conferences in that workspace of yours. You may have to arrange it in a way that it will appear professional, yet exudes your personality.
If you deal with clients on a face-to-face basis as well as on a daily basis, the décor should be generally customer driven. In a service industry such as banking, for example, the environment is often homogenous with personal effects kept to a minimum. If you are in a business establishment where creative work is done, such as a graphic design studio, décor is often more personalized. That’s because many employees feel a sterile environment is uninspiring for creative work.
Do use the workspace accordingly. Even though cubicle dwellers and their guests usually adjourn to a meeting room, frequent visitors will occasionally need to be in the workspace. Experts believe that employees who feel an element of control over their physical space are happier workers. After all, work is the place where most of us spend the majority of our time. Accordingly, most employers have knickknacks, and even adjust the lighting if possible. Some employers even take it to another level, filling the common areas with such leisure-time toys as stress balls or tennis balls to form a comfortable atmosphere and encourage creativity.
Do include some small personal stuff. In other offices, that sort of freewheeling, personalized ambiance is not appropriate. Much depends not only on the type of work being done there, but on the preference of the people at the top. These can be extreme: One corporate philosophy dictates that soft-wall offices remain just as the designer intended them, reasoning that an attempt to heighten a waist-high wall with a bulletin board or a row of potted plants defeats the purpose of the open-office plan. Floor managers would be wise to remember that not allowing cubicle dwellers to creatively adjust their space can magnify the feeling that they have no privacy, much less individuality.
Do use sound filters. Many cubicle employees have found smart ways to achieve some level of privacy and filter some of the noises around them. Removable entryways can be arranged into a kind of semi-maze entrance for example. Plants or corkboards placed strategically can help to muffle outside noise and create a sense of privacy at the same time. However, before moving panels or putting up makeshift sound buffers, be sure to get permission from your employer or office manager. It can be humiliating to have to disassemble your alterations after everyone has complimented you on your ingenuity.
Do post creative jokes and magazine clips. Cubicle walls often become billboards and a ways to share a joke or article that’s particularly apropos to work. However, be careful with your choices: While this is permitted in your office, never put up materials that cross the line to gross or obscene. Anything with racist or sexist undertones is equally beyond the pale.
Don’t Criticize. Never pin anti-corporate articles from magazines or newspapers to your cubicle wall, whether they are about your own company or the corporate world in general. Those in view or anyone passing constitute a direct affront to management. While no one should be expected not to speak freely, such displays mark you as someone who’s distrustful of your superiors, sees himself as a victim of larger forces and is probably bitter to boot. Even if this is true, advertising it jeopardizes your chances of survival if a round of layoffs occurs.
Don’t Leave Clutter. Whether you accept customers or client visits in your workspace or not, ensure that you keep it free from clutter. Though office maintenance will literally clean every cubicle in the office, it is always best to keep it tidy and clean. You can never tell when an early visit from the boss may also be the same time that the office maintenance got sick. It may have not happened yet, but it is not impossible.