Where do you keep yours?
Do you ever feel like you’re being pulled in two directions in the office? We’re told to ‘bring our whole selves to work’ and to consider our wellbeing, but at the same time we have to be flexible, collaborative and always have a clear desk.
How do you be you, but also be part of the team and the office? If ‘being yourself’ means a chaotic desk with pictures of holidays past, inspirational quotes, and gym kit for a post-work bootcamp at your feet, you are going to feel a little uncomfortable when presented with a clear desk policy.
Such policies, while great for security and accommodating ever changing numbers of people, don’t allow personalities to shine through. And could these restrictions inhibit individual productivity? Or team productivity? After all, sharing what matters most to us helps to form deep relationships.
How can we meet the needs of the business without individuals feeling constricted? A friend of mine worked for a PR firm who mainly worked on shared benches, but each person was allocated a shelf where they had to display something that represents them (I think she went for a leopard print stiletto!). This is a neat way to help people express themselves, but it doesn’t fix the issue of what we do with the things we need (or want) on a daily basis...
If you were to do a quick straw-poll of what people bring to work it could well look something like this: reusable coffee cup, laptop, tablet, healthy snacks, trainers, cycling helmet, lunchbox, family photos, work phone, personal phone, sunglasses, shopping, safety clothing, note books, folders and a variety of pens and pencils. Things we need to do our job, things just for us - things that are both valued and valuable. Considering that the cost of the contents of a women’s handbag is, on average, £521, but over £3000 in some cases (said retailer McArtherGlen in a 2015 survey), then it’s clear that safe and accessible places to keep this stuff is non-negotiable.
For personal items maybe rather than thinking storage, we should think stowage - temporary but secure and visible homes for our stuff as we move about the workplace.
We’d love to know what you think. How is keeping your stuff in the office working for you? Tell us below.