Taking Ownership of Your Workspace

If you want to feel empowered at work, an easy way to do so is to take ownership of the space you call ‘home’ in your workplace; that may be an actual office, a cubicle, a counter, cash register, or even a broom closet (not unheard of). You may work from home or a remote location. The point is, making your workspace your own, and ‘owning’ it, will create feelings of self-efficacy and more involvement in that work. It creates a psychological bond which leads to more commitment and overall job satisfaction.

Two years ago, while attending a conference, I had the opportunity to speak with the CEO of a large corporation who was sharing some really great results his team had from using some simple interventions aimed at getting them to take more ownership and to be more engaged in  their work. One of the most impactful ideas, to me, was allowing workers to take ownership of their space; he related that they brought in tools and took down the walls between their cubicles so they could talk and interact more. Another successful idea was allowing these workers to redecorate the ‘dreaded’ conference room, the place where it created fear if you were called there.

The CEO related that the employees repainted the walls, brought in pictures and other items that made it more livable, so that now they refer to it as “my conference room.” That has stuck with me since that a very easy way to reengage workers and show them they are appreciated is so simple and inexpensive. It’s not always about the money. I think of how good those workers felt once the renovations were completed, and how closer the team were from their concerted efforts.

We all have the opportunity to make small upgrades to our workspace and feel more connected to the work we do. It starts with reframing our mindset and choosing to be more positive. Making a small change or addition, such as cleaning up the space, bringing in a picture or a flower, or other close item, can help you to feel more connected. If you like the beach, bring in a picture of a beach scene to help calm when you feel frustrated; a motivational quote or a picture that makes you smile are other suggestions. You may not have much control over your space but you do have the control, and the choice, over how you think about it – make the decision, make the choice, and see how you can take ownership of your work. One positive result? Loving (or liking) your job. (If you are the boss, then use these suggestions as motivators for your team.)



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