I have often been criticized for my office decor scheme. Specifically, I don’t have one. I don’t mean that my first edition Thundercats action figures clash with my talking Nietzsche wallpaper. I mean that, in general, I don’t decorate. My offices over the last decade have had a few common items.
- Coffee pot (unless there was one within 10 feet of the door already)
- A handful of photos
- A whiteboard
- A small demovitational picture
That’s about it. I’ve never been one for much on the walls or the desk. I even had the facilities manager try to move someone into my office while I was traveling because they thought it was unused. Seriously.
On the other hand, I’ve seen offices that could have easily passed for someone’s bedroom, sans the Serta. Every inch of their space was covered in personal paraphernalia, and they had clearly marked the territory as their own, including a signature scent or air freshener. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of people somewhere in the middle, but there are for sure extremes on both sides of the spectrum.
What’s the right balance? It’s a personal choice, of course, but I think of it along the lines of a visitor. If I’m out of the office and someone needs to use the space, how will the room make them feel? If the answer is, “I’m clearly unwelcome here” or “Has this wing of the building been abandoned?” then you’re probably off target. I normally fall in that latter category, I guess.
In the end, there is a line. You can personalize without going overboard, just as you can keep a Zen office and still have furniture. Like most things in life, it’s all about balance.
How’s your digs set up? Any chance you’ll have your desk taken away? Any chance you’ll be accused of having moved in permanently?