I’m Weird … and My Workplace Lets Me Show It Off!

In the average week, we spend more time at our workplace then inside our own homes. Let’s be honest though, we put more thought into how we decorate our homes than we do our workspace.

Call it naivety or lack of work experience — I didn’t realize that in other organizations you are not allowed to put out personal artefacts. Instead, your workspace is seen as an extension of the business and in order to keep up with the corporate image, you need to keep your desk clear of anything personal. No family photos, no mugs with motivational sayings, not even plants.

When I started at Benefits by Design the first thing I noticed were the workspaces — each one had a very unique personality, matching the person who occupies it. A far cry from the office environments where you were only allowed to display one personal photo, BBD lets you decorate your workspace any way you see fit. What does this mean to the employees that work here?

I love that at BBD we have free reign over what we want to display on our desk! Moose are my favourite animals and everyone in the office knows it! — Leanne

At BBD, I can put as much stuff on my desk as I want. I like nature so you’ll see a lot plants on my desk. I also like to keep my family photos near so that I can look at them throughout the day. The nature of my job means I have a lot of reference material on my desk — it may look like I’m slightly disorganized but I can always find what I am looking for. — Deanna

I used to work at an organization where I had to share my desk with a co-worker. We never put anything personal on our desks. By my second day at BBD I had put things out on my desk — I was so excited to let my creativity show. Over the years, my desk has gotten progressively more cluttered — I don’t take anything away. My desk is an expression of myself and what’s important to me. — Erin

Clearly, the ability to decorate your own office can have profound effects on office happiness, and morale (these three employees have been with BBD up to 11 years). So why is it still frowned upon in many corporate cultures?

As for my desk, I’m a minimalist — I keep things around that I need/use. I do have one horrible secret though, I hoard shoes. I have shoes for every occasion and they lurk, unsightly, behind my desk. Does that make me a little weird? Sure — but here, I can embrace it.