People, Workspace

Marking your territory: Why personalisation is important

Axiom Workplaces

We spend about 30 percent of our lives at work so it’s easy to understand why adding a personal touch to our workspace is very important to us. Apart from the productivity benefits, creating a sense of belonging in the workplace is crucial to helping people feel they are welcome and, above all, valued.

Creating a sense of belonging in the workplace is crucial to helping people feel they are welcome and, above all, valued. Click To Tweet

Chloe Hamman, Lead People Scientist at Culture Amp, describes personalisation as “the idea that we all want to add our own mark on the space where we’re at.”

“In the workplace, that might look like people wanting to bring in photos or their own memorabilia. Even people who tend to have a clear workspace are also expressing their own personalisation,” she says.

Personalisation’s greatest impact is its direct relationship to increasing productivity. Dr Craig Knight is a British-based psychologist who heads Identity Realization (sic) at the University of Exeter in England. In a study undertaken with Professor Alex Haslam in 2010, a survey of more than 2000 office workers found that employees who chose to personalise their workspace with a plant or a photo were between 15 and 20 percent more productive than workers who did not.

The study further discovered that employees with the capacity to personalise their space without restriction were 25 percent more productive than their counterparts who worked in a space where personalisation was not allowed.

“When we can enrich our space we’re happier,” Knight told BBC journalist Bryan Borzykowski. “And we work better when we’re happier.”

As the challenge of developing, fostering and retaining an agile workforce increases, it’s important to look beyond plants, trinkets and colour schemes when it comes to empowering your people to personalise their workstations. Hotdesking has proven not to be the miracle solution everyone hoped it to be. In the modern office, the challenge many workplace transformation partners – and, by extension, their clients – face when overhauling floor design is to account for the different ways that people personalise how they work.

As the old cubicle and partitioned style office spaces are giving way to the modern office design aesthetic, workplace designers are looking to seamlessly incorporate shared desks with private space. There is a need to effectively combine quiet spaces with collaborative spaces and accommodate the kind of personalisation that allows people to switch between table and chair with, for example, a standing desk option. In order to get all these elements correctly balanced, it’s extremely important that a workplace designer or transformation partner engages meaningfully with you and your staff.

“I think going through the whole design development process, working with people on not only the physical space and technology that needs to support it, but also the behavioural aspect is really important,” says Annelie Xenofontos, Senior Workplace Strategist at Axiom.

Annelie believes, if you don’t consider the personality of your workforce, then you’re not going to create a space in which your people feel comfortable. “They’re not going to feel like they belong in that space,” she concludes. “[That’s why Axiom] really like to spend time getting to know the people up front so we design spaces that really engage them as people and as a company.”


Axiom workplace designs are personalised for your business, your teams, and your people. Make sure you ask us how.

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