Can You Motivate Your Employees by Evaluating their Desk Space?
Last month, we looked at what kind of person you are by the way you organise your office space. Now, we go one further by using this psychology to find out how to motivate your employees.
Can you motivate your employees by evaluating their office space?
By looking at the way in which individuals organise their desk and their office space, it is possible to gain an insight into their personality. This in turn can help managers to find out what motivates them, according to business psychologist Louise Weston.
"You can certainly gain some insight into an individual's personality and what motivates them by looking at how they organise their desk," Louise says. "In fact, it can even give Managers a quick snapshot into how to best motivate members of their team."
For example, people who use their desk to demonstrate their personality, with items such as novelty calendars or small toys, are usually more extroverted. These people enjoy having a 'talking point' and are generally sociable, preferring to have their desk facing other people.
People who decorate their desk with photos of family or friends also suggests a slightly extrovert personality, as it creates an environment that other people feel comfortable in, as we found out last month. These people enjoy human contact and are generally a 'people's person', often motivated by their relationships both inside and outside of the office.
On the other side of the scale, people who don't decorate their desk at all are often introverted. It is suggested that office files can be used as a barrier, and people of this personality often prefer to have their desk facing a wall rather than towards other people.
As Louise suggests, it may be worth re-arranging the desk to help individuals feel happier at work.
"Changing the position of a person's desk might seem trivial to a manager but can in fact have a profound effect on some employees," she says. "From a motivational perspective, Managers should look at a person's desk to determine how to get the best out of that individual."
Other tendencies to look out for include people who have photos or screensavers of exotic places, as they can often be motivated by prestige or the 'enjoyment' factor of work - such as vacation days, or meeting clients at an upmarket restaurant.
Another obvious clue are people who fill their office or surround their desk with charts or targets, as they are often highly motivated by achievement and by setting targets for themselves.
Commenting on how to use these signals for the benefit of motivating employees, Louise says:
"Pleasure seekers can be motivated by the offer of bonuses such as weekend breaks or trips to a top restaurant if they reach their targets, while those displaying lots of family photographs may be motivated by the offer of flexitime or time off in lieu for example."
What does your office say about you - and would you agree or disagree with that statement?
Find out more about workplace psychology in last month's article: What Does Your Office Say About You?