Does Your Workspace Say About You?
been facing a challenge at work, but at least you can
laugh about it when you find a similar situation illustrated
in a cartoon. The cartoon summarizes your frustration
with management so well, you’re thinking of posting
it by your desk.
Before you do, you may
want to give some serious thought to the message you will
be conveying to everyone who comes by your workspace.
According to Jo-Ellan
Dimitrius, PhD, workplace “props” can offer significant
clues to an employee’s personality, values, and level
of commitment to the job.
Although most workers
have little control over such matters as furniture style
or carpet color, many companies allow employees freedom
in how they decorate their workspace.
Dimitrius, author of
People, says workplace items such as calendars,
photographs, and reading materials are particularly
revealing because, with so many choices available, they
provide the best opportunity for individual statement.
While you may not label
others based on such items, others may be making judgements
about you. After all, a Dilbert
day planner communicates different messages than a motivational
calendar featuring slogans about teamwork and perseverance.
And what if an employee
has no props? In my experience, employees who
choose not to have workplace props may see their position
as temporary. Fewer props make for easier packing
when it is time to move on.
Clutter also communicates
a message. Says Dimitrius, “A messy, disorganized
desk usually points to a messy, disorganized person,
and never mind the standard assurances to the contrary.”
However, if you juggle
a variety of projects in a fast-paced organization,
some clutter is probably expected. To paraphrase
a poster I saw in a busy office, an empty desk may be
seen as a sign of an empty mind – or at least a mind
that isn’t facing many professional challenges.
Because what is acceptable
varies from one workplace to another, I suggest you
take a look at the messages you are communicating through
your workspace. You may just decide the best place
for that controversial cartoon is at home.
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