Working from home is difficult, because there are distractions and many other things you’d rather be doing. If you bring a little bit of home into the office, that’s different. For example, a picture of your kids is far less distracting than the noises your kids make playing in the next room. At the same time, having that picture can make your office feel more important to you, because it’s connected in a small way with the people and things you love.
Allowing your employees to personalize their workspaces will make them more satisfied with their work situation overall, which can lead to company loyalty and, yes, even improved productivity. And that’s why we think it’s worth it. Here we have some suggestions on encouraging your employees to settle in by decorating their work area.
1. Let Them Shop for Office Supplies
Most companies already have the desks, chairs, and computers in place. After all, you want your new employee to start working right away. It’s also often cheaper to buy furniture like that in bulk. It’s different with the little things. For example, you could let your employees choose what type of desk lamp they want to use. In fact, they can choose everything on their desk, including the stapler, pens, and paperclips.
There are a few different ways you could handle this. If you’re concerned about pricing, you could choose the supplier and give your employees the catalog to order from. If several employees choose the same things, you might even be able to get volume discounts. You could also set a price limit and let your employees do the shopping on their own and reimburse them after the fact.
2. Provide the Space
Picking out a favorite pen is great, but your employees probably care more about the wall space they can use. To put up pictures of their family and /or pets, you must give them the space to do it. Fortunately, roomier office spaces also help your employees feel more comfortable and relaxed, and consequently more productive. When you design your workspace, you should think about how much room your employees will have to customize it. For example, how many 4x6 pictures could you hang up on the wall? If there’s plenty of room, even 25 pictures of the same cat look less intimidating to casual onlookers than if they were all right on top of each other.
3. Give Them the Means
Most people like putting up pictures. While it’s easy to take pictures with your phone, it’s somewhat difficult to turn them into display art. If you allowed your employee to print photos and put them in a frame by providing photo paper, ink, and frames, it would be easy for them to decorate their personal spaces. Alternatively, you can give them poster strips to tape pictures to the wall or pins to attach them to a corkboard wall.
4. Order Custom Glassboards
Many offices include whiteboards to help employees brainstorm ideas. While they’re eminently practical, whiteboards don’t help your employees feel at home. In addition to being impersonal, whiteboards are just plain boring. Instead, order some of our custom glassboards for your employees. You could even gift them to your employee and let them take it home when they leave the company at a future date. If you don’t feel comfortable letting them choose their own image, you could let them choose from a selection of images you approved. Then you can reuse the same glassboard for the next employee.
5. Give Them Time to Do It
Encouraging your employees to personalize the space is great, but most companies don’t really understand that it takes time. New employees may also be reluctant to hang pictures and decorate their desks, because it makes them look like they’re not working. They probably don’t want to come in early or stay late to do this, either. Fortunately, you can counteract this by instituting some paid decorating-and-getting-to-know-the-place time. It doesn’t have to be a lot of time. Even an hour or two is enough for your new employee to hang up pictures, select their favorite stapler from the catalog, and explore the break room and its snacks.
6. Ideas / Host Competitions
Everyone is creative in their own ways, and it’s great to recognize this in your employees. You could share some of your employees’ ideas on decorating their space with the rest of the team. If your company is large, you could send pictures of unique personal spaces to your employees via email. If your employees are all on the same floor of one building, you could host a tour of desk spaces once a month to spot unique arrangements. You could even make it a competition and award prizes for silly things like ‘Most pet pictures’, ‘Cutest stapler’, ‘Most cluttered desk’. It’s more fun if you don’t share all the unique categories until afterwards, too. In fact, your employees may be the ones that inspire the categories with their personal workspaces.
7. Relax the RulesWe all have to live by the rules, but sometimes there are just too many of them. We understand that you don’t want obscene things displayed in your company, but your employees probably know that, too. Otherwise, you may have hired the wrong person. Incidentally, people usually live up to the expectations you have for them. If you expect them to make good decisions about their personal office decor, they will do so most of the time. You can always take that one individual aside, who displays questionable judgment in putting up odd pictures, and ask them to change out their images.