Does your company restrict personal items in the workplace? Do your employees keep their office desks clear of anything unrelated to work? It may be time to rethink that policy.
Research suggests that office desk personalization may help employees feel happier, improve wellbeing, create a sense of control or autonomy, and even increase productivity.
Why Personalized Office Desks Matter
Every employee has a unique personality and source of motivation. Letting employees express their uniqueness through personalization can help them feel acknowledged and accepted throughout their time in the office.
People spend a significant amount of time at work. If you want to improve your workplace, allowing or even encouraging workers to personalize their desks is one of the best things you can do.
Personalization can be as simple as framed photos of family or pets, knick-knacks or desk toys, or even things like wallpaper or colorful space dividers. By adding their own flavor to their workspace, employees can make themselves more comfortable and empower to do their best work.
Five Reasons Why You Should Encourage Workers to Personalize Their Space:
1. Personalization improves productivity
A UK psychologist found that employees who kept a plant or picture on their office desk are 15% more productive than their counterparts who didn’t. Furthermore, people who worked in offices that allowed for personalization are up to 25% more productive than people in completely sterile environments.
Research published in the Harvard Business Review suggests that office workers who have the freedom to personalize their space have a better sense of “place identity,” or belonging in the space. Workers with high place identity report more engagement with their work and a stronger connection with their company.
2. Personalization makes people happier
Displaying personal mementos and family photos on an office desk can make employees smile and remind them of their motivations. Different employees like to be surrounded by different things, and even the best office furniture is unlikely to make the optimal work environment without an extra special touch unique to the individual.
A personal touch can also create a more inviting environment that welcomes positive communication between employees. That communication will in turn help workers feel more connected to each other and improve office morale.
3. Personalized office desks improve wellbeing
In a completely open office environment, it takes more energy to filter out distractions and focus on work. Many employees who work in an open office complain of emotional exhaustion, a reduced sense of privacy, or more difficulty getting tasks done.
Research shows that a highly personalized workspace results in lower levels of emotional exhaustion, especially for workers who perceive less privacy. Personalized office desks can help workers maintain enough energy to deal with work stressors and distractions.
4. Personalization gives people a sense of control
Personalization allows workers to have some control over the space around them. It can also give them a sense of autonomy. If employees are allowed to make their own decisions about their work environment, they may feel that the company trusts them and views them as responsible enough to make at least some of their own decisions.
Office desk items like photos and artwork can act as expressions of territory as well as personality or identity. If employees have a space that feels like “theirs,” they may have an increased sense of security and comfort in the workplace.
5. Personalization welcomes individuality
Personalization allows your office to celebrate its employees for the unique individuals that they are. When employees are allowed to display images and mementos that are important to them on their office desks, they are more likely to feel accepted in the workplace. This can help boost creativity and let unique solutions and ideas thrive.
Letting employees personalize their space increases morale, helps them increase productivity, and leads to a happier office. Rather than adding distractions or clutter, personalization allows employees to work at their best.