Merge's Blog

More workplace motivators that work – allow personalization of workspaces

It’s been almost three weeks since I last did an instalment (Strategy #23: volunteer together) in our video series about specific ideas on workplace motivators to build morale and employee engagement.  So I figured it was time for another one!  Today’s idea is to allow for creativity and fun in decorating and personalizing individual workspaces.

Allow creativity and fun in personalizing individual workspaces

When you think about how much time you spend at work, it may give you cause to pause.  Roughly one-third of your life is spent in the pursuit of an income, and for those of you who know yourself to be workaholics, that fraction is even higher.  So it makes a lot of sense to make your workspace fun, welcoming and appealing.  With that in mind, it shouldn’t be surprising that allowing employees to decorate their workspace can be a great morale booster.  Let your people personalize their immediate work environment, whether it’s a cubicle or an office, with bright colours, family and pet photos, toys, individualized mugs, fresh flowers, cards, and just about anything else.  As long as it is tasteful and doesn’t create a tripping or safety hazard, let your staff be creative.

So let me tell you what NOT to do.  Years ago, I was made aware (by employees) of a corporation in Calgary AB who simply did not understand the value of letting employees personalize their workspaces.  One of the Vice Presidents in the company was also the daughter of the CEO, and she fancied herself as an interior designer.  As a result, when employees moved into their new corporate offices, she instituted a rule that said no more than two personal items on a desk, and that employees could only use company-logo’d coffee mugs.  This resulted in a mass revolt.  Employees were so disgusted by this rule that it was all they could talk about – at the water cooler, in the lunch room, to their friends in other organizations.  Eventually, senior management in the company realized how demoralizing this policy was to their employees and eliminated it.  Good thing!  Because it was on the opposite end of the spectrum from workplace motivators, it was a huge workplace DE-motivator!

So what is the standard in your organization?  Are employees allowed and/or encouraged to be creative in personalizing their workspaces?  Are the outcomes positive or negative?  Please share your experiences by adding a comment below.

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