April 18, 2010
Cubicle creativity: A few favorite things can create wall-to-wall wow at work
Special to NWjobs
Want a cubicle that reflects your personality? Knocking down a section of your cube Peter Gibbons-style probably isn’t going to get you the results you want. But you don’t have to pull a stunt like the one in the movie “Office Space” to create a home away from home — all you need is some double-stick tape and a little creativity.
That’s according to Kelley Moore, a Seattle lifestyle expert and author of “Cube Chic: Take Your Office Space From Drab to Fab!” She says that cubicle creativity should start with the walls: “It is the fastest and easiest way to make an impression and impact in designing that size space.”
Whether you use pushpins, Velcro or another removable adhesive, “It can be easy to put up your favorite wallpaper, a graphic-print wrapping paper or even corrugated paper that is imprinted with a beach or fall scene to create a new environment,” Moore says.
Proper lighting is a must, too. “A table lamp with a daylight light bulb can not only brighten up your space, but also can help prevent seasonal affective disorder,” says Moore, who worked in a government cubicle for seven years before she became a designer and was approached to write “Cube Chic.”
Wanted: Cubicle pics
Have you personalized your cubicle with Pez dispensers? Are you mad about Manilow or the Mariners? If your 9-to-5 digs reflect your personality, you could appear in NWjobs. Tell us, in 50 words or so, what you love most about your workspace and send us a color photo (about 170-dpi and 5 by 7 inches) of you with your most prized possessions. Include your name, city and profession in an e-mail and send it to firstname.lastname@example.org. If we pick yours to publish, we’ll send you a $5 Starbucks gift card.
Get inspired with a peek at our featured My Cube profiles to date.
You can go all out like Moore did for the cubicles in her book — green turf, grass skirts, faux fur, bamboo and graffiti — or you can simply bring in items you love from home.
The point of her book, Moore says, “really was to get people to think about using their cubicle as an expression of who they are and surround themselves with things they are inspired by so that they are able to create inspired work.”
That’s what T-Mobile systems analyst Vivian Lee did. “Having a blank space is depressing,” says the Renton resident, who likes to keep her cubicle colorful. “I do spend quite a bit of time at work, so it’s nice to make myself comfortable.”
Lee likens her workspace to a gallery — full of stickers, pictures, postcards, comic books, artwork and fliers from museums. “The time that I spend here, I want to make sure I’m happy,” she says. “I can take a look around and refresh a little bit. It’s nice to have the ability to do that.”
Peter Greaves, an architect for Seattle-based architecture and interior design firm Weber Thompson, says that a pleasing work environment can benefit companies as well as employees.
“For a business owner, any increase in productivity is very helpful to the corporation,” he says. “But worker satisfaction also leads to higher employee retention. It’s a win-win for everybody.”
T-Mobile knows this. “We encourage employees to decorate cubicles as long as there are no safety hazards or fire-code problems,” says Garrett Whitney, the area manager of facilities. “Almost every cube you walk by is going to have some sort of personalization. Mine is a shrine to my son.”
Another benefit: Bonding. “Personalizing your space by bringing in things from home — even if it is photos of places you have traveled — can start a conversation with your boss or co-workers and help build stronger relationships,” says Moore. In other words, there’s more to life than TPS reports.
Just make sure to respect your company’s values and your co-workers when you decorate. And if you want to go all-out, it’s wise to check with HR. “A strong relationship forgives a lot,” Moore says.
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