Cube Crazy: A Walk On the Wild Side of Workspace Decorating
From Tiki huts to haunted graveyards, creative office workers are finding new and interesting ways to spruce up their cubicles with fun decorations that are sure to leave management (and us) scratching heads in disbelief. Read on to discover some of the crazy creations that put your happy birthday signs and simple confetti parties to shame.
Wackiness Works Wonders
Mark Anderson is a member of The Bomb Squad, a racing team that has taken cubicle decorating to new heights. In fact, they get so creative when another member is away for vacation, that Anderson claims one of their major rules is to never take a vacation. For instance, when one of their team members was away for two weeks, they built him a little cottage complete with a trellis, mailbox, door knocker, window box, bench, satellite dish, ceiling fan, etc.
"For someone's birthday, it's especially fun if we can define a motif," says Anderson who has done over-the-top decorations based around Godzilla, Survivor and other favorite themes.
Then, there's the tale of one Seattle executive (not Microsoft) who demanded as a condition of his employment a desk made entirely out of Legos. The desk had to be custom made and used 35,000 little Lego bricks, over seven pounds of glue, and cost $2000 in materials alone.
Even Dilbert creator, Scott Adams has gotten in on the fun creating Dilbert's Ultimate Cubicle. Dilbert, who has long served as the voice of cubicle dwellers everywhere, envisions a modular system that can include such design innovations as Sun indicators that glow and move according to where the sun should be in the sky, a raised floor to provide storage and even a hammock for those late afternoon "brainstorming" sessions.
Cubicle Cues to Contemplate
Of course most people decorate their cubicles to some extent. From toys and funny calendars to graduation certificates and pictures of loved ones, these little touches help to personalize our work spaces. It's natural and even productive to make the places where we spend so much of our time feel more inviting and more like home. Still, you have to look and marvel at some of the fun designs a few wild and creative individuals are bringing to these cookie-cutter corporate workspaces.
If you're thinking of trying your hand at over-the-top cube creations, we have a few tips that will help to keep you employed and productive. Most important, be sensitive to your office environment. All good things must be done in moderation, and if everybody else is decorating with a restrained touch, you may want to rethink creating a flashing neon Vegas strip in miniature bright lights.
For additional rules of the road with cubicle creations, be sure to read our list of Cubicle Considerations:
- Do personalize your cubicle with nicely-framed family pictures, diplomas, and appropriate, inspirational photographs. You may even want to create your own bulletin board on an inside wall to display these items.
- Do add a piece that welcomes co-workers. "A conversation piece or something that people will think is fun encourages people to visit you and gives you a chance to get to know them," says employment counselor Mary Lebeau. Have one small brainteaser or novelty item on display. A candy dish is welcoming too just be sure you're willing to share!
- Do use plants to add color and life to your workspace. Make sure the plant is an appropriate size for the cubicle, and ask your neighbors about allergies before choosing your greenery. Replenish fresh flowers regularly, or use silk arrangements for an easy-care, hypoallergenic alternative.
- Do be careful of the impression you make. Your cubicle gives your colleagues and people around you an impression of the person you are. Recognize that, and make sure that it does present a good impression. That means that it should be keep tidy and clean, with documents filed in their proper places.
- Don't go overboard. Remember that in decorating, "less is more." Instead of filling every inch with trinkets and souvenirs, choose a few special items to liven up your area. Your cubicle should resemble a professional office, not a shrine to your superhero collection.
- Don't use anything that would cause distraction either to you or your neighbors. Examples are pictures that make your mind wander for long intervals or games that can distract you for hours (good for kids, bad for people with deadlines). Action figures that dance to tinny music are bad, too (Kung-Fu Dancing Hamster owners, you know who you are).
- Don't be offensive. One of the truest signs of professionalism is respect for people, be they your clients, your co-workers or your superiors. "Never put up anything that will impose on someone else's rights," experts say. "In other words, no pin-up girls, no centerfolds, no fat jokes, no racial jokes, no ethnic, or religious cartoons." Not sure what someone might find offensive? When in doubt, leave it out.
Have you created a crazy cubicle creation? Send us the photos of your masterpiece, and we may just run them in the next issue of the Core. firstname.lastname@example.org