Is there a workspace in your midst that’s beginning to look
like Ms. Wood’s pre-school classroom decorated for Valentines Day? Every time
you walk past all those hearts and bowls of candy you shake your head in
wonder. You don’t want to dampen the spirit of this creative, enthusiastic
employee but you do want to maintain some semblance of a professional
holiday in sales or service the decorations fit your product. For an accounting firm Easter bunnies don’t
inspire confidence during tax season. Policies that strictly regulate desk decorations can be
heavy handed. I don’t think they’re necessary.
A colleague was working for a local bank that was taken over by a much
larger national banker. The new owner
had a policy that employees could not have more than two photographs on their
desks. Let’s see one spouse and two children; it’s going to be really hard to
pick just two photos. One client banned
all Halloween decorations after an employee complained that they represented a
religious holiday. The company had
Halloween related items in their product line!
individual thought and management discretion, not tightly written guidelines. I’ll save the conversation about religious
decorations for December. Look around
and see if the environment reflects your company. I’ve seen some offices filled with
collections and knick knacks that not only look fine but reflect the personality
of the employee and the company. While
the Easter bunny looks out of place for an Accounting firm a bowl of Easter
eggs, a seasonal plant or even a child’s drawing would be just fine. Don’t wait until all the hearts and flowers are up to ask
the employee to take everything down.
Have a chat about the decorating when it starts. For the enthusiast of every holiday talk to
them before St. Patrick’s Day approaches.
Tell them about the atmosphere you are trying to project and agree on what’s
appropriate. The ubiquitous candy bowl may be the toughest item on the
decorating list. Ban candy, no way. Management discretion needs to kick in when
you pass by those chocolate hearts all day in order to avoid finishing the