The free online dictionary defines cubicle as a small compartment, as for work or study. On the flippant side, it has been described as a structure designed to remind workers that they will never truly be free!
Now if the latter had you nodding your head in agreement, what we have to say here might just help to improve that ‘boxed-in’ feeling induced by your cube. Spending eight hours or more in a cubicle, does give it a sense of permanency that is otherwise associated with one’s home. And left to fate, that little corner in the office could easily become a doghouse if care is not initiated right away.
The cube farm
With a little makeover, your cubicle, in the cube farm of your office, could become an interesting place to revisit every working day of the week. Although a few companies are strict about decorating the cubicle, most give a freehand to their employees to decorate it to suit their tastes. The idea, nevertheless, is to fit into the office culture and not overdo any décor. According to an expert, when you think of cubicle décor, think corporate/office culture.
Here are some tips:
# Do not indulge in over-décor – you may not have enough space for your work.
# Rely on creative, inexpensive or free materials.
# Follow a theme or focus element to give it a neat appearance.
# When putting up personal or family pictures, remember to ensure that your attire in the photo is decent and appropriate.
The talking cubicle
If corporate experts are to be believed, a tidy workspace, rather cubicle, makes the worker appear more productive and competent, which in many a case may actually be true. On the other hand, the open drawers and overstuffed folders with papers falling out can scream out ‘disorganised’, they opine. The logic being, you will waste less time searching for things that are supposed to be on your table and have more space to do your work efficiently.
But again, such stereotypes may not really reflect the actual nature of the worker for an organised desk or a cubicle does not automatically mean better productivity. In fact, the reverse may be true about certain workers who are loaded with work. However, it never harms to convey the message that you have a specific place for every document and file.
Make it real
More than projecting an image of your personality, it is important to have a cubicle that feels right. Makes you feel comfortable and enables you to perform to the best of your abilities. Trying to appear to be a hard worker or an organised worker may not balance right against the importance of a relaxed ambience.
The revealing cubicle
According to a personality researcher, decorated cubicles are directly proportional to the level of job satisfaction you have. Even the way the knick-knacks are placed is said to reveal ones personality. For example, if it is placed outside the work area/cubicle, there might be a specific message tucked in there for other co-workers, say experts. Same goes for family pictures that face the entrance than the worker.
Here’s a quick analysis by Sam Gosling, a personality researcher at the University of Texas, Austin and Meredith Wells, a psychologist at East Kentucky University.
# Potted plants indicate that you plan to stay on.
# A penchant for post-it notes is seen as a sign of overwhelm
# A time-piece says you are time conscious
# Interpretation concerning the display of family photos is divided – it could be personal reason or status symbol depending on how they are displayed.
# Candy bowl says you are an extrovert who wants to draw others to the workplace.
# Motivational posters/plaques say you are engaged in your job and want to stay engaged.
# Posters of celebrities or historical figures indicate values and aspirations.
# And although a neat and organized workspace is said to indicate an organized person, an empty desk is said to indicate that a worker has little status in the organization and probably isn’t dedicated to the job.
# Interestingly, the level of personalization is seen as a sure indicator of the level of security one experiences in the office environment.
Gosling believes that our cubicle gives us away completely, ‘Every time we hang a poster on a wall, toss a cup of coffee in the trash or download an album from iTunes, we leave cues about who we are. And although we may attempt to arrange our stuff to outfox others, our true personalities inevitably leak out.’