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Being Well at Work

Personalizing Medical Offices: Bring a Piece of Home to Work

Not only are jobs in the medical field particularly demanding, medical offices are streamlined for efficiency, which likely results in shared desks and standard, minimalist décor. When working in a medical office, one important environmental factor that often gets overlooked is providing space for employees to add personal touches to their workspace. It may be surprising, but allowing personalization in the medical offices can boost staff performance, engagement, and is shown to have an overall positive effect (1,2). Personalization gives employees a sense of identity and control and helps employees better accommodate to work stressors (1). In the notoriously high-stress healthcare environment, this is particularly important as employees often feel “drained” after a hard week.


The more individualized space an employee has, such as a private office or desk, the more personalization will occur (2). Yet medical offices, particularly smaller ones, rarely offer such space for employees. Though open-floor, shared employee spaces are more space and cost-efficient than having individual offices, it limits the ability for employees to personalize (3). Add a lack of privacy to long work hours, fast-paced environment, and high stress and you can get a recipe for burnout and subsequent high turnover.


One way to help mitigate these effects is through promoting employee personalization where able. When space is an issue, get creative! Tack boards or floating shelves are good options to allow employees to bring photos of family, friends or pets, posters, trophies, mugs, stickers, etc. (1). Whether it’s seeing a picture of your coworker’s new grandbaby, sharing a laugh over a funny sticker, or touting a favorite team’s new victory, sharing personal touches may brighten your day. And that’s backed by science!


If your medical office is looking to boost employee performance, retention, or engagement then click here to start a discussion with us about your medical office's  ergonomic and environmental needs.





1. Laurence, G.A, Fried, Y., & Slowik, L.H. (2013). “My space”: A moderated mediation model of the effect of architectural and experienced privacy and workspace personalization on emotional exhaustion at work. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 36, 144-152. Doi: 10.1016/j.jenvp.2013.07.011


2. Wells, M. & Thelen, L. (2002). What does your workspace say about you? The influence of personality, status, and workspace on personalization. Environment and Behavior, 34(3), 300-321.


3. Barrym H. P. (2007). Office productivity: A shift from cost reduction to human contribution. Facilities, 25 (11/12), 452-462.


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